How to change careers in the creative industry
How to change careers in the creative industry

Published by gabriele


How to change careers in the creative industry

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we were all asked as children.

Most of us decide on a final answer in our late teens or early twenties and stick with it for life. By the time we reach midlife, quite often our careers no longer suit the people we’ve become or the lives that we’ve built around us.


It would make sense to reconsider your career when it no longer suits your needs, but few actually do.


Making the decision to switch careers can be an intimidating one, primarily if you’ve only ever worked within one sector or discipline. It takes time, guts, and effort but it is doable and can be hugely beneficial if executed correctly. There’s no perfect age to do it, nor an ideal time but switching to a career that better suits your life can bring better autonomy over your day, better job security, and of course a better salary.

The creative design industry offers talent a chance to express themselves in laidback, emotionally-attune environments. Salaries in the creative world are above the UK average of £33,923 (for men) and £27,981 (for women) but the sector is less pressurised than others and, quite frankly, way cooler too.


Many are moving across to the creative world for better job satisfaction and more freedom of expression.


Signs you need a career switch:

There is a difference between the need for a career change and job dissatisfaction. You may dislike aspects of your current employer but still love your profession. In that case, seek out companies in the same field which better match your need. A career switch is something different, and tends to occur when any of the following occurs:

  • Your profession starts to affect your physical or mental health (not ok, on any level)
  • Your personal life is being negatively affected.
  • You find yourself disinterested in industry news and averse to learning about new updates in your sector.
  • Your salary isn’t enough. Although people like to romanticize sacrificing a big wage for a particular career, we’re all living through a cost-of-living crisis, so leaving a sector to find a role which matches your needs is totally valid.
  • Feeling consistently demotivated is another good reason to shift careers. Perhaps you’ve reached the peak of your field and no longer have goals to accomplish or targets to hit.

Our Creative Consultant Sandy Rayner, recently made a career leap from fashion to creative recruitment so understands the challenges. What would she recommend?

Don’t jump into another career if it doesn’t tick some – if not all – of the boxes. Really doing your research into the industry you want to go into.

And finally, don’t take the first job that’s offered – keep your options open and speak to as many people as you can. Make a list of what is important to you, the way you work, the location, what’s the minimum salary you can survive on while you retain and learn. Is it giving you what you want in your life –


Here’s how to do it:


Consider your transferable skills

Sandy suggests starting with thorough brainstorming. Ask yourself what you like about your profession. What are the things you don’t like and would rather never do again? In Sandy’s case, she never lost her love of creative environments, but she had always enjoyed building teams and the recruitment side of her previous job – so she started researching creative recruitment.

List your existing skill set, qualifications and interests and think about how they could be useful in future scenarios. This will help you make an informed decision about your new career, and help you realize what skills and relevant experience you already have to help you succeed once you switch.


When it’s a second career it’s definitely important to make sure you do your research and find out what works for you.

Figure out what training you’ll need

When considering what your new career will be, really think about whether you have the resources, time, and availability it will take to reach it. Although it can be tempting to jump straight into a new career, investing time and money into learning necessary skills will put you in a position to command a better salary, therefore, making the switch more profitable.


A career change often requires investing in an additional degree, certifications, or on-the-job training.


Many roles in the creative world do not require a degree and many agencies are happy to accept certifications coupled with lots of talent, transferable skills, and tenacity.

Before applying for roles in a new sector, research a few job openings to find out which qualifications you should work towards.


Factor in future life changes

Along with deciding if you are right for the industry, you should also consider if the industry is right for you and your lifestyle. The creative design industry is fun but fast-paced; so it’s important to ensure that you’ll be able to balance your commitments and still find time to relax and enjoy a life away from work.

You’re going to want to ensure that your new role is futureproof to avoid making another switch later down the line. So, ask yourself, will the role become physically taxing as you age? Will you be able to stay in the same sector once you have children?


Finding a new job that fits in with your lifestyle is essential for avoiding burnout and ensuring long-term success.


For Sandy, working in fashion meant very long hours and lots of travel. Which was super exciting to begin with – but then once kids arrived, it just didn’t work with the life she wanted to live. Not travelling wasn’t an option so it was time to think creatively.


How to switch into a design role

It’s very possible to enter the creative design world after gaining experience elsewhere. Many roles do not require a degree and are happy to accept talent, transferable skills and tenacity.

If you’re looking to enter the creative industry, here’s a few steps you can take:

  •  Join an online course. They’re short-term, affordable, and offer career services to help you land a job upon graduation.
  • Volunteer or join an internship program. This way, you will obtain relevant and up-to-date skills while having the opportunity to be hired by that particular company. If more money isn’t your main objective, you could also get an entry-level position that will help you boost your career opportunities in the future.
  • Find a solid mentor. Approach a friend who works in your desired industry or a previous colleague and ask them to guide you through the process. Get in touch with relevant people in the industry and let them know you’re pivoting into it.
  • Improve your visibility with a website, digital portfolio, or active work-focussed social media accounts to help you stand out.
  • Stay up to date with new developments and industry trends in your field. Read relevant articles, follow companies on LinkedIn and connect where possible. Never stop learning so you can be ready when the right job opportunity comes along.


Changing careers and entering the creative design and branding world will take time and potentially money, but the change will be worth it in the end. You will have the chance to build a successful career doing something you love. This will help you feel fulfilled, and happy, and you might even increase your earning potential thanks to the experience and transferable skill sets you gained in your previous career.


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