Birmingham City University, Events, Information

Advice from BCU Careers Team

careers logoOn Wednesday 21st February 2018, BCU Careers Team came down to Margaret Street to deliver a talk to students.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the dry careers talks given to us at school – but this one was different!

The talk included the following: Jaime Cox: Exploring your options and support from the Careers+ Team upon graduation. Jakub Ceglarz: Interested in post-graduate study? Overview of courses available within ADM and application process. Alumni talk: Talk from the Royal Drawing School with overview of courses.

So there was a good mixture of speakers, stories, overviews, examples and opportunities to be shared.

Jaime’s ‘World of Work’ presentation:

The first piece of advice from Jaime …”Don’t worry about job titles!”

She then proceeded to give us all an example of a man who was interviewed by the BBC, and whose job title was Writer/Wizard/Mall Santa/Rasputin Impersonator. Everyone had a little chuckle to themselves – but, hang on, how can he actually get away with a title like that!?

Jaime went on to explain that titles change dependant on the employer. A role could have a certain job title within one business and then the exact same role will have a different name somewhere else. Although it is very unlikely you’d find something as specific as a Writer/Wizard/Mall Santa/Rasputin Impersonator. So which jobs should you be looking out for?

Look for jobs and opportunities that match your values – In other words think about the skills you have that you’d be able to offer an employer. If you have a love for writing and you’ve just landed a graduate job at a graphic design studio, think of ways in which your writing skills could benefit your new employer. Perhaps you could start a blog on all the exciting projects within the studio or help create content for the company’s website.

Be prepared to have more than 1 job – You will often find that creative individuals will have more than one job. The benefits of juggling more than one job include working in different environments, meeting more people, developing your skills, gaining knowledge and insight into other areas of work you might like to visit. For example, I’ve known artists who have been setting up their own business whilst working as part time teachers, organising local charity events, as well as pulling pints down the local pub at the weekend!

As Jaime went on to explain, only 30% of jobs are advertised, for example, online, through employment agencies or at careers fairs. Whilst the other 70% are on the hidden job market and more often than not get filled through networks people build and via internal marketing and referrals.

Which leads us on nicely to – Think about who is in your network!

During University, you have potential to create so many contacts and networks that may benefit you in the future. For example, your class mates. Get chatting with them, see what ideas they have for their own careers, perhaps you’ll find similar interests that could mean a collaborative project somewhere along the line. Talk to your lecturers, how did they develop their career in teaching, where did they study, what are their research interests. Remember, the majority of staff at the School of Art are practising artists like yourselves! There is also potential for networking through your own family and friends, neighbours, local businesses and industry, volunteers, work placements…the list goes on!

The sooner you start to market yourself and developing your contacts, the better!

There are many ways in which you can do this, and for free! Get on online and start by building a website. Create social media profiles specific to your practice or research area and invite others to openly discuss topics of interest. Create a blog and build content around your practice, enabling you to develop your artistic knowledge as well as continuing your writing skills. A popular platform at the moment is Linkedin. Jaime mentioned that a Linkedin Class of 2018 page will be available for this year’s Alumni.

Some facts about the creative industries in the UK (Source 1)

The UK creative industry is growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as a whole.

2016 graduates from creative subjects found employment in a vast range of organisations, ranging from large multinational banks to being an artist’s assistant.

It is estimated that there are 50,000 creative workers in the city area and more than 5,800 companies.

It is vital that graduates are resilient, proactive and extremely adaptable. You should try to be as knowledgeable about your subject area as possible and actively passionate about the development of your work – that goes for you as a creative as well as your practical work.


Jaime finished the presentation by leaving us to contemplate the question – What if money were no object, what would you want to do?


What the BCU Careers Team can help with:

Guidance on considering your career options, support with applying for jobs, help with building your networks, interview prep, one to one appointments (30 minutes) and Drop-ins (P054) 20 minutes.

Advice is available from BCU 3 years after graduating.


Via you can access advertised jobs within local industry:

Jaime is available for students every first Thursday of the month at the School of Art in F.10 12.30pm – 3.30pm. There is a sign-up sheet on the door to book a time during the next session, or you can email her on

The next session will be on Thursday 12th April.


Source 1: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport | HESCU: What graduates do 2017/18 |

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