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Do companies truly focus on your college major when applying for jobs?

My major might be something broad like English, but I want to work in the creative arts. I want to know if employers truly care about your major even if it might not match exactly to what they want. #major

Thank you comment icon Greetings Rokaria, Companies are now more than ever seeking those with expertise and time spent creating marketable items that create a sale that continues to create returns. So, I realize that being a representer of what you want to do has its place but trends indicate that experience that has been productive speaks for itself and has the level of education to operate in the companies with a high comprehension of the field in question is the industries desire to obtain for jobs that are monetized at $50,000. annually or higher. Hopefully, I have answered your question and given you a reason to look into the trends further, they change daily. Patricia Walker
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Subject: Career question for you

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Laura’s Answer

I've been working as a professional artist for almost a decade now. It's been my experience that when you are applying for jobs in the creative field, companies don't really care about your college major. They are looking for these 3 things:

  • The quality of your artwork (so focus on assembling a great portfolio!)
  • Whether or not the work in your portfolio looks like the work they'd hiring you to do (For example: If you're applying for a magazine design job, you need to show them examples of magazine page layouts before they'd consider hiring you)
  • Whether or not you know how to use the right computer programs (it's almost always something in the Adobe Creative Suite line of products, but the software depends on the job)

Hope that helps!


Laura recommends the following next steps:

Create a portfolio with 4-12 examples of your artwork + focus on showing off the skills that specifically relate to what type of position you want.
If you can, make an account on Behance.com and post your portfolio online.
Thank you comment icon Laura is absolutely right. For several years that I have been doing UX Design, when I apply for positions the hiring team of that organization that I am applying to always ask for a link to my digital portfolio. Fatima Freeman
Thank you comment icon Good advice! I'm currently working on building my portfolio and professional references since my kids are grown. Thanks! Amy Pattenaude
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Erica’s Answer

Hi Rokaria,


It largely depends on what industry you want to work in. Since you want to work in the creative arts, a strong portfolio that demonstrates your skillset can speak to your creative talents much more than a degree in a specific field can. Additionally, some employers will explicitly state what kind of degree they want a candidate to have, so you can always weed those out when job hunting. As a hiring manager I interview and screen many candidates for creative roles in filmmaking, photography, graphic design, etc who majored in something completely unrelated such as engineering or biology. The individuals who were hired even though they didn't have a degree in the arts still maintained an impressive portfolio of creative projects which they did on the side. When applying for jobs, they made sure to link to their portfolio or provide files for me to view. Even candidates who DO have a degree in the arts are often still evaluated for a role on the strength of their portfolio or CV. No matter what major is listed on someone's resume, when it comes to the arts a solid portfolio and/or CV listing your experience in the industry can often get your foot in the door during a job hunt. A good portfolio/CV shows employers that you can implement creative techniques or use specific media and software relevant to the type of art you are making. People are multifaceted and it is common for individuals to have skillsets that span a multitude of fields regardless of their major in college.


Networking is important in any field but especially for the arts, sometimes moreso than talent. It's often about who you know and what connections you have to colleagues in your preferred industry. Honestly, this can be a downer if you're not the networking type or it can work very much in your favor! Attend events geared towards your industry and make yourself known. Connecting with others via collaboration can provide access to resources you need to further bulk up your portfolio and get creative with you projects.


I recommend that you look through job openings that match the field you want to work in. You can also browse LinkedIn profiles to see what qualifications other successful people in the industry have. You will find some commonalities to focus on. You can then see what employers are asking for from candidates and determine 1) what creative field will be the best match for you and 2) what you may - keyword being MAY - need to do to be successful.


Lastly, not everyone's journey is the same, so don't get discouraged if what you're doing doesn't match up to what everyone else is doing. If you're wondering what my relevant experience is, I have a degree in art, went to a graduate program for art, worked in the art industry for a while (internships, galleries, exhibitions, freelance) and now am a Hiring Manager for a digital media company. I am also a professional artist. There are multiple ways to succeed in the arts and as you get to know yourself you'll figure out what works best for you.

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Natalie’s Answer

From what I can observe, this seems to be a major concern for you, and you may have hit a few road bumps along the way. As an Artist myself, with a very broad range of skills that do not fit neatly into any pre-packaged job, I know what you are feeling.


Now, to get straight to the point- the answer is Yes, your employer will absolutely look at your major, and it will score points. However beyond that, the employer is even more interested that you WENT to College. Why? Because all colleges have something called a "Core Curriculum" which cover ALL major aspects of education ranging from Science and Mathematics to the Arts. Educated employers know this. That means that you yourself as an English major probably completed an Art course or two in college. Use this as a spring point for when you apply for jobs.


First thing is first, if you are interested in a field, then that means you have enough experience in that field. So if you are interested in the art field, you have some sort of experience in your favor, whether you are aware of it or not. Gather 2- 3 relevant experiences and note them down. These experiences will highlight why you love the art field, what knowledge you have gained or problems you have solved. Use these experiences to formulate your cover letter.


In addition build a portfolio. More then anything in the Art world, a portfolio is everything. Yes resumes are great, but if you are applying for a visual field I need to see your visual work. Gather 5-10 good pieces or photos of your work. Make sure they have good resolution and accurately reflect the color intensity and saturation.


Good Luck moving forward!

Natalie recommends the following next steps:

Brainstorm possible experiences and portfolio pieces
Nail your cover letter and pick your portfolio images
Talk to an objective friend, advisor or mentor to take a look at your work
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Kirsten’s Answer

Hi Rokaria,

As a freelance artist and writer, I'm going to echo Fatima's advice.

In my career thus far I have had a novel and several short stories published. I've worked as an illustrator and fine artist (in galleries), and also as a newspaper reporter.

All of these jobs involved a demonstration of skills. I got into book publishing via entering and advancing in contests. From there I made contacts to get my short stories published. The illustration work I got through an online portfolio hosted by a writing and publishing organization, and the gallery work from getting a portfolio together and hustling from gallery to gallery. (My gallery days were a while ago. There are probably online options now.) The reporter job was aided by my previous (creative) writing experience.

My best advice is to hone your skills, pinpoint some areas you want to work in, see who's hiring, and who they're hiring: what kind of work they are after. It never hurts to contact a potential employer and ask them what they are looking for. This makes you look serious, and helps you focus your efforts. You may have to undertake some self study, and/or apply for an internship or targeted training course to help get you there.

All best,
Kirsten
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Malcolm’s Answer

Hello, my name is Malcolm and I am a 5th-year student at Clarion University studying the Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in Entrepreneurship Marketing Leadership. To answer your question it truly depends on the company that you are looking at!! I am currently applying for jobs in my field of study and outside my field. In my marketing courses and my professors at school are hiring people outside the business field to get a new diverse/creativities team to work for their companies/business. 

When applying for jobs you want to look over your resume and take out anything you feel that is not related to the job. Your resume can really help you when you are applying outside your field! If you have other work experience(s), organizations/activities, or volunteering work that you have done, and put that in your resume. I wanted to mention this because having information like can show a future employer that you may qualify for the job. Also when looking at job sites for opening positions it will look through their site for "keywords". Example if I go to Indeed.com and put in the search bar "English" it will show me opening positions for a whole list of openings and some jobs that seems not to be related to what I am looking for. They are showing me these jobs because in the job description or requirements it may have that word or words that are associated with it. If you find a job that you are interested in I highly recommend you applying for it. The best advice I got about applying for jobs outside my field is from my marketing advisor. He said "if you speak to their human resources department, representative, boss/manager, or whoever about the job and they question you about applying because its not your field. Tell them why you are applying for this position/company, what you can bring to the table, and make you different from the other candidates".

Malcolm recommends the following next steps:

If you are on an college campus see if your school offers an career development center. Talk to them about your concerns about jobs or internships. Step-up an meeting with them to look over your resume.
Look for job fairs, career seminars, resume/career classes, events, and keep your eyes/ears. You may find a future employer there and make connections with people as well. Those connections can help you find opportunities in the near future or beyond.
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Carrie’s Answer

Great question! I definitely hear your clear desire to pursue the arts! Congratulations on finding your passion. Wonderful! It really depends on the job. The actual art work you do and your passion and character will get you very far. I do recommend finding artist to study under organically, artist residencies, workshops and classes to help strengthen your own practice.

If you want in on the business side, mentors in that area and some classes that are sometimes offered at a low price or for free.

Or if it’s styling and design start by being an assistant for a while until you find you can slowly do more design yourself.

I find with educational jobs in the arts they do care. However! If you teach at arts Center’s and carry a strong portfolio of your own work and student work you as well as get a simple teachers certification- many doors could open for you.

All this said, a BFA and MFA are incredible for gaining creative tools to help you know what you have to offer and how to navigate opportunities for art making in the world. However if that’s not an option for you at this time, the other things I mentioned can be a wonderful place to start. For some, possibly all you need to unfold your creative calling.

Go go!! Enjoy!!! blessings.
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j.m.’s Answer

I think what matters in choosing the major is where you want to go with it. I have an AA in graphic design but also a BA (from long ago) in Philosophy and Spanish. I worked in publishing for years. The graphic design training was intentionally to get my foot in the door somewhere after being a stay at home mom for many years. Once I got a job, it was my initiative, communication skills and critical thinking that helped me move up to a director level position that was not related to graphic design (over the course of 15 years). Whenever I was interviewing candidates, I considered a liberal arts degree (English, Philosophy, Classical Studies, etc.) a real plus. To me, it indicated that the candidate likely could communicate and reason well and also probably had a range of general knowledge, beneficial in relating to all types of people.

Having said that though, a lot depends on the individual. Just because someone has a degree doesn't mean he/she is good at those things. Seeking a design position, your portfolio needs to speak for itself. Similarly, your communication skills, work ethic, empathy, and reasoning need to be evident - from experience, references, and how you express yourself to potential employers.

An English degree by itself won't get your foot in the door if you're wanting a design job. You still need that specific training. However, once you get your foot in the door, the skills you've acquired in attaining the English degree will help you move up (assuming you're a hard worker, take intiative, etc. etc.). The major really isn't a one time choice, or a decision in a vacuum; it should be part of an overall strategy to get where you want to go.




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Jonathan’s Answer

Hi there,

To answer your question “yes” (with one condition, but we’ll talk about that in one moment). Some majors are more sought after than most. The reason is because certain majors require a specific set of knowledge, skills or experience, that can’t be found anywhere else.

For example, having studied in business school, Accounting students were very popular for recruiters from Accounting firms, if not exclusively. I once went to such recruiting events and was ignored by many of these professionals because I was a Management major and not in their radar. Though it was worth a shot, the evidence was clear: this major required intensive knowledge of accounting practices and relevant experience, something I did not have. Now here’s comes that condition: it all depends on you.

Unless you are going into a very specialized career like Law or Accounting, which will require some sort of license, then companies look for other traits. I can only point to my own experience as an example. An aspiring salesperson I worked with in the car rental industry originally didn’t major in Business. She was originally a certified nurse. When I asked why she made the switch, she said “just wasn’t for me...and I like money.” She realized her major didn’t fit with her needs. So she decided to reinvent her resume and interview sales pitch to fit with what the car rental company’s goals were. The goals of this nameless company were to recruit “well-rounded people, with excellent customer service experience and focus on quality care.” She had the relevant experience, a connection in the company to give her a good word to HR and she proved it during the interview process through her charming personality. These 3 things, not her major, ensured her position. Therefore, the lesson is “some” companies care about majors, but most don’t. It all depends on you and what you want.

If your major is creative writing but you want to go into a field like wildlife reporting, then your major is somewhat relevant but not the desired quality a company like natural geographic is looking for. They would want to see your experience in internships or hobbies. Experience and your connections are king in the current job market.

Ask yourself this:
1) Where do you want to go?
2) Do you have the experience needed?
3) Does where I want to go need extra schooling or does it need a simple certificate for x amount of money?
4) Do I have someone I know who works in my desired place? And can they mentor me?
5) How do I show that in my resume and in the job interview?
6) Finally, if your a student, what can I do to get that experience or one connection to back me up?

Hope this helps you in your journey.
-Jonathan Vergara


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Kristen’s Answer

Hello!

Your question is a very insightful one and something I would expect an honest person looking to become a professional artist to ask. To answer, no, people looking to hire artists are not looking at college majors; rather, employers will be paying attention BIG TIME to your portfolio! It doesn’t matter what you’ve studied or even if you have studied any form of collegiate diploma program- what matters above and beyond all else is what you can SHOW employers, your skills.


It is never to early to begin collectively applying diligent sound mind, including the ever-so painful criticism, known as “critiquing” in the Art World, to your portfolio. Take on a variety of disciplines to have a decent selection installed into your portfolio- it will basically be your calling card, which reminds me, as the front protective sheet inside your portfolio book, ALSAYS remember to have your name and contact information displayed well so that employers know to whom they return the portfolio to, if they happen to ask to borrow it for a few days.


You can also create your portfolio online. Seeing as you’re an artist, it is also never too early to buy your own name online, this way your name is secure for you to apply your artwork to once you design or have designed your online portfolio; check out a few from searching Google to get an idea of how other artists have chosen to design their own.


I hope my help serves you well and I am so excited to learn of young people still choosing to exert themselves artistically during a time when The Arts have been stripped from public education funding. I am really proud of you and for you!


take care and good luck!

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Toefield’s Answer

My major might be something broad like English, but I want to work in the creative arts. I want to know if employers truly care about your major even if it might not match exactly to what they want. major

The short answer is "No". The long answer is a little more complicated. The creative arts and job opportunities are dependent on two factors.

1. Your Portfolio:
This is going to be the body of work and the number of samples you have to display what you can produce. You want the highest quality you can produce. It makes more sense to be more specific in most situations for your samples as long as the quality is very high.

2. Your Previous Jobs:
This isn't going to be a factor at first when you first start looking for assignments. Eventually, business will pick up if your previous jobs have been done successfully. If you have previous experience working on other projects, it makes future clients feel more at ease about hiring you. At this point, your a proven asset. In other words, they're not the first client that your "cutting your teeth on".

Special Note: There are situations where a degree can "help" for assignments or even full time work. For instance, working for a client as a graphic designer when you have a degree in "education" looks really good if the client works in the "education industry". The point is, degrees broadly don't matter, what matters is the work. To the extent that a degree has an effect, in almost all cases it's a benefit never a negative.

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Jonathan’s Answer

Hi there,

To answer your question “yes” (with one condition, but we’ll talk about that in one moment). Some majors are more sought after than most. The reason is because certain majors require a specific set of knowledge, skills or experience, that can’t be found anywhere else.

For example, having studied in business school, Accounting students were very popular for recruiters from Accounting firms, if not exclusively. I once went to such recruiting events and was ignored by many of these professionals because I was a Management major and not in their radar. Though it was worth a shot, the evidence was clear: this major required intensive knowledge of accounting practices and relevant experience, something I did not have. Now here’s comes that condition: it all depends on you.

Unless you are going into a very specialized career like Law or Accounting, which will require some sort of license, then companies look for other traits. I can only point to my own experience as an example. An aspiring salesperson I worked with in the car rental industry originally didn’t major in Business. She was originally a certified nurse. When I asked why she made the switch, she said “just wasn’t for me...and I like money.” She realized her major didn’t fit with her needs. So she decided to reinvent her resume and interview sales pitch to fit with what the car rental company’s goals were. The goals of this nameless company were to recruit “well-rounded people, with excellent customer service experience and focus on quality care.” She had the relevant experience, a connection in the company to give her a good word to HR and she proved it during the interview process through her charming personality. These 3 things, not her major, ensured her position. Therefore, the lesson is “some” companies care about majors, but most don’t. It all depends on you and what you want.

If your major is creative writing but you want to go into a field like wildlife reporting, then your major is somewhat relevant but not the desired quality a company like natural geographic is looking for. They would want to see your experience in internships or hobbies. Experience and your connections are king in the current job market.

Ask yourself this:
1) Where do you want to go?
2) Do you have the experience needed?
3) Does where I want to go need extra schooling or does it need a simple certificate for x amount of money?
4) Do I have someone I know who works in my desired place? And can they mentor me?
5) How do I show that in my resume and in the job interview?
6) Finally, if your a student, what can I do to get that experience or one connection to back me up?

Hope this helps you in your journey.
-Jonathan Vergara


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Stephanie Stephen’s Answer

It really depends more often then not, on the job then the Employer. An example of what I mean is let’s take a look at a job working at a law firm and a job at a major corporation. Both employers have a job opening for either a mail room clerk or a file clerk. In both cases, the employers want someone with at least a bachelors degree and a few other requirements. In such a case, with such a job the degree is not going to matter as much as the employers may specify the requirements of a degree as a sign of commitment a d stability. As both are looking for a specific type of person that they, see will probably be someone that stays with them for a long time. As said employer values a person that is dedicated in achieving their goals no matter how long it takes. As a degree shows dedication, commitment, and many more things many companies look for. But a job that requires a specific degree like a Law Degree, or medical degree such as lawyer or Registered Nurse, LVN, Nurse Practitioner or even Doctor does matter. As an English major cannot interpret law, nor practice Medicine. But an English degree can still be useful in both. As for creative arts, English is extremely useful in the art world especially when it comes to creative writing like poetry or as a play write for the performing arts. As William Shakespeare comes to mind, as a very famous writer who created many plays within the Performing arts. Some of which even involved a family member of mine who he immortalized in his Scottish play.
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Mike’s Answer

In my past, I have been an artist trying to get hired to a project and also an art director who is filling staff positions for a project. My experience is mostly within the videogame industry.

When I started in the 90s it was less common to seek out a creative career and the competition wasn't as fierce as it is today. In the 90's you were primarily competing against applicants from the city you in which you lived. Now, you compete against talent from everywhere on the globe. And many of those people have extraordinary art skill or skills in both art and a complementing field (i.e. programming).

When I hired an artist, my primary concerns were technical skill and professionalism. The first was answered with a strong sketchbook and portfolio. The second was less clear, as many things can be used as evidence of professionalism. One of them is a college degree.

For me, degrees came into consideration only when, two or more candidates exhibited equal skill. If one had no degree against one who did, the latter would have the edge. And similarly, if they both had degrees, but one was an art degree while the other was a degree from another non-art field, then the person with the art degree would generally have the edge. So you can see that the degree was generally used as a tie-breaker in the case that both had strong talent but there was only one position to fill. Sometimes though a degree outside of art would benefit the project or the department.

When choosing a non-art major, research how that major can complement your creative skills to make you the stronger candidate. For example, in games, a game designer usually has to demonstrate strong knowledge of gameplay, and it is a bonus if they are strong in art OR programming OR writing. But, a candidate that can show strength in two or more of these categories gains the edge. So an English degree would make them a stronger candidate.

In the end if you are hungry and committed to working in a creative field you can make it happen. Many have done so without any formal education. But they have done plenty of studying their craft.


Good luck!



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Alex’s Answer

While it definitely helps to have a college degree under your belt in the corresponding creative field, it's not a must! There are plenty of online resources and courses that can give you more tailored experience in your preferred creative field, and the right combination of tailored courses can be just as valuable as a college degree.

When you apply for creative positions, the most important thing to have is: Creativity! A polished portfolio is the most important part of your application, and being a kind, driven, and pleasant person to work with comes in at a close second. If your current education didn't set you up with a portfolio suited for your dream job, make your own! Come up with your own creative briefs and assignments to craft a portfolio that shows who you are as an artist, and have fun with it! The projects you're most passionate about tend to be the ones that shine!

Alex recommends the following next steps:

Narrow down your creative dream jobs. What are they? Are they related? What skills do they share?
Polish up your portfolio. Create an online presence for yourself that shows off your work and personality.
Come up with a creative project for yourself that aligns with your dream job.
Find experienced artists in your dream career field and connect with them. You'd be surprised at how helpful artists love to be to up and coming creatives!
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Sarah’s Answer

In the creative arts both work samples and performance are critical to a potential employer. A good grounding in business is always a good idea but of equal importance is experience working with other students in your field on collaborative projects-and if possible some volunteer (or paid) internships in education. Focus on adults with disabilities, special needs students, and k-12 mainstream students. Your skills as a communicator will increase exponentially with teaching and mentoring experience, as will your inspiration to improve your own creative work. In our currently social distanced environment create some videos to display your skill in explaining to an audience, either child or adult, a basic process in your area of creative work. This could be as valuable in 2020 to a potential employer as your portfolio.
In general educate yourself as thoroughly as possible in all areas of history-art, social, political, and religious. Know the context of your own life and education by understanding what came before.

Good luck!
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Danni’s Answer

The answer is: it depends. If you're looking to do fine art (i.e. painter, sculptor, photographer) and your goal is to sell art and get exhibitions, then your degree really doesn't matter. I'm an artist myself and have had several exhibitions, sell my art and no one has once cared about my degree. Furthermore, I have artist friends who are very successful (exhibitions at the White House etc.) and they are the ones who gave me this very advice years ago.

However, if you're looking to get into something such as graphic design/illustration or become an art director for a company, then degree is very important. Most of these jobs require a bachelors in a related arts field. A simple search on Indeed for jobs will show you postings to give you an idea of what is needed to book a position. Hopefully this helps! :)

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Brooke’s Answer

I graduated with a degree in Interior Design, and went straight to work designing closet accessories! I was surprised at the variety of things I could apply for with my type of degree. 15 years later I started teaching high school level Architecture to students interested in the field, with only the knowledge of Architecture I gained through interior design. Now for the past decade I am a working artist. The creative world is wide open even if your degree is very specific. They really just want the credentials and desire to learn new skills if needed.
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Mark’s Answer

I am a college graduate with a major in philosophy and mathematics! The first job I applied for and accepted was a Data Entry Clerk. I believe the bachelors degree helped differentiate me from other candidates with similar skills. The job I received at the time was not specialized. Specialized positions such as a Lawyer and doctor often require college degrees.

As I moved up in the company I work for; I had the privilege of hiring and or promoting people into management positions. Many of the job advertisements include a college degree requirement; but in my hiring experience I considered the college degree as one of many other individual qualities and strengths and weighed them all together in deciding on the best job candidate. Earning a college degree requires self discipline and persistence which are qualities of a good employee. Other qualities I looked for that are important are integrity, leadership, positive attitude, great verbal and written communication, and creativity.

Mark recommends the following next steps:

Think of and choose what you are interested in doing.
Read about and study the positions you are interested in.
Identify the requirements of the position you're interested in and take an inventory of what you have and what you need to work on.
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Jessica’s Answer

If you're applying for jobs in creative arts with your BA in English, they will most likely just appreciate the fact that you went to college. Your resume would stick out more if you had a degree in something fine art related. Your relative experience and work history will be what they care about most in this situation.


I have my BA in Studio Art. I have found that, depending on the job you're applying for, certain companies WILL care about your major. STEM fields in particular usually require you to have a specific major. I know I have a good shot at any art related job because of my major. Often times, the manager will tell me they are interested in speaking with me because my art background makes me a unique candidate who perhaps holds a different perspective than all the business majors they see.


When applying for jobs outside the realm of your major, cover letters are your best friend. Explain how the major you chose helps you be the best candidate for the job. Never ever say something like "I know I'm not qualified" or "I lack the skills required", say something like "my experience doing ____ and _____ makes me a unique candidate as I hold a unique perspective" or something like that. Also take what you learned as an English major and find a way to make it applicable to the job you're applying for. "As an English major, I was able to explore ________ through writing and hone my ________ skills. As (Position) at your company, I will be able to ______________......... " and so on.

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Kim’s Answer

Hi there Rokaria!
As a college graduate with a BFA in illustration I can tell you that employers care about your portfolio in the creative arts far more than the degree itself. Receiving art degrees can help students network in their community and find their creative voice/hone their skills, but its not a requirement to most employers. I can understand if an employer is looking for specific technical abilities in some cases but for creative areas like illustration and design, they really just care about the quality of your portfolio and what you can offer!

Whatever markets you are looking to work for whether it be for publishing, licensing, or entertainment, there are a lot of online classes and resources that can help! Gearing your portfolio to a certain market is the biggest advice I've heard. Theres a lot of art podcasts for different areas in the arts, and a lot of freelancing youtubers as well that give great advice.

I hope this helps! Good luck~ :-)

Kim Cook
illustrator
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Jamie’s Answer

For film/television work the most important thing really is you portfolio/demo reel. No one really cares where you went to school, or what your major might have been. Although if you did go to a prestigious school AND your reel/portfolio was good then it might help.

But if the reverse were true... you had a bad reel/portfolio and went to a prestigious school no one would really care.

I have a journalism degree. And aside from my first couple jobs out of college, I haven't been in that field. I've worked in film/television, worked for NASA (animation... same skills as film /television) and now video games.
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Jane’s Answer

The first and most important thing is your portfolio. Your portfolio should speak for itself, and it should be entirely by you. I ran an Art Department at an ad agency in midtown Manhattan and interviewed candidates for junior designer jobs. Many of them had clearly put things in their portfolio that they did not do, and they "fluffed" their resumes. Never do that. Create a great portfolio and be unique about it! Secondly, if you are applying for jobs right out of college -- Yes -- when reviewing your resume and interviewing you -- I would pay attention to your major and to your GPA. If you are majoring in English, but want to work the area of Visual Art and Design, then you should minor in Visual Art/Design, or do some specialized course work in it that you can put on your resume under "Education." For instance, you could do a summer intensive in graphic design, or in web design/development, or, if your creative interest is on the writing side, then do a summer intensive in copywriting. During that intensive, come up with pieces that you would be proud to have in your portfolio. Avoid using templates and shortcuts.
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Ashley’s Answer

Even though I am still sort of a newcomer to the workforce, I still have my two cents. Companies do care about your interests and well being. If not, they're would be a lot of empty slots for positions. There is still a fine line that comes into play when apply for just any job. Your are agreeing to take the beaten path of your passion. You are the only person who truly knows what you want out of your life. Not your employer. An employer also has other employees to watch over, so a topic like this will easily get swept under the rug. This is where you make the executive decisions.

Therefore, ask yourself...
"What draws me to this role?"
"Does this role tie into my major/passion?"
"Would this role help me down the road?"
Along with other similar q's that could help uncloud your judgement.

In the example you use, English vs the creative arts, it all goes back to what you exclusively seek within the English fields . Even with a broad outline, there are so many niches to take. from freelancing to being a teacher/professor. Employers can only recommend and be a mentor. At the end of the day, it is you who will always care about your major/passion.

Hope this helps, good luck out there! You got this!
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Kityo’s Answer

most of the time yet i'm my purpose to be fullfilled because was born an artist

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Katie’s Answer

Hi Rokaria. I was a full time kitchen designer for seven years. In that industry employers want specific job skills, such as certain software programs.

Katie recommends the following next steps:

Make a list of job titles that you have in mind, and then read actual job postings for those jobs. Watch to see whether employers specify which college majors they want, and which software programs.
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Jeff’s Answer

It depends on the specific job requirements. Graphic Designers or Animators for example, require specific degrees and portfolio submissions. But some companies, like those looking for people to design user experiences or websites or even logos may be more flexible as long as applicants can demonstrate creative work and skills.

Jeff recommends the following next steps:

Create a portfolio of your work, even if its just sketchs or concept designs.
Build out a website of your work.
Network with other creative partners.
Even if you're not in a visual development role now, always keep creating to keep your skills fresh.
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Hermann’s Answer

Do companies truly focus on your college major when applying for jobs?

I would say Nope
As an artist i didnt got a job inside the industry via my diplomas but with my portfolio and my work produced
The school system though will help you build and (maybe ) having a strong network of friends who might help you make your dreams come true
But at the end of the day, your personnal work is the important one
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Don’s Answer

Companies will generally look at your major to determine what your area of specialization is for the position they are looking to fill. What is important if your interested in Creative Arts is getting mentored or an internship within this field to experience so it can be put on your resume. Not only will this help you obtain experience, but connect you with networking agents that are professionals in the field. Make sure when networking with people that you ask "Do you have any other referrals?". The more work you do to occupy your time in your field the better off you will be in the long run. Just speaking to professionals in field can help. Faculty from your university or college can help also. Instructors who teach classes are in the field. Sometimes students forget about this key networking agent.

Don recommends the following next steps:

Contacting employers in your field of Creative Arts. Have a listing of questions written out before you call anyone. You need to be professional when speaking to employers.
See if the networking agents you are connecting with will see you in person. Ask them if they have time to meet you in person. Meeting in person is always the best. If you do meet in person, dress professionally as though you are going to an interview. I would suggest you also do research in your field and bring 2 articles to your meeting to show that you are up to date on the new things happening in the field. This will also act as a good ice-breaker and let the employer know you come prepared.
Accept that not everyone is going to want to give you advice or help you. Sometimes rejection is hard to take, but keep pushing forward. Have a never give up attitude.
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Jeannie’s Answer

It would depend on what your interests peaks you so if you’re going for a job for creative artist or a graphic artist design they’re gonna want to see that you can program in HTML, Java and what program software you work with most companies work w Adobe programs The overall answer yes it does matter what you major in because then you have a higher chance to get hired

Jeannie recommends the following next steps:

Do research exactly what kind creative art
Then find your niche ( something that you love to do)
Do research what company are looking for in your niche
Do reasearch the pay rate
Lastly whatever artist you time management is very important to make deadline
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Tara’s Answer

In general yes, but not always depending on the field and the requirements. Med School and Law school are pretty stringent. However, to enter the technology field, you are more likely to be able to have a more diverse background.
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Brandon’s Answer

For most jobs, it doesn't matter as much on what the degree you focused was in (depending on the nature of the job). It really depends on your portfolio and what you are able to do and the experience that you have that could benefit your time in the field. Some jobs DO require you to have a specific degree which is understandable because they are looking for a certain type of employee, but if you look at jobs on LinkedIn for example, they will normally say "a specific degree or a degree related to the field", meaning that they are open to anything as long as it may be related. The main thing to keep in mind when trying to get a job is experience and what skills and qualities do you have to fit the job.
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Marissa’s Answer

Hi Rokaria,


This is definitely a good question, and although I agree with aspects of the other professionals that have answered, I'm going to take a bit of a different approach because I think it's important to see all sides. I also think there is a bit of a catch 22, when you're first starting out in your career, and I'd like to address that here.


I've been working as an Illustrator, Designer, Graphic Artist, and Art Director - for about ten years, combined - and I've found that because I had a breadth of interest (as it seems you do, as well), it was a bit harder for me to narrow down WHAT I wanted to study and major in, because I was interested in many things. However, I took some time to think about what it was I wanted to do in life, and I knew it surrounded the Design field, so MY focus was on a major called Illustration Design. The reason I chose this program, was because it allowed me to focus on a broader spectrum of artist focuses; I took color theory, illustration, figure drawing, graphic design, perspective, english, AND cross disciplinary classes like advertising, etc., that allowed me to stay in my element, but get some experience in other areas of art too!


Now, the reason I'm explaining all of this (let's make this long story, longer :p), is that it was important WHEN I graduated, that I had school experience that fit what I wanted to do. I totally agree that you need a strong portfolio, in fact the portfolio is the key, but when you're first starting out, you don't usually have very much work experience to show prospective jobs. Here's where the catch 22 comes in… sometimes it feels like you need to have the work in order to get the work! (which can feel frustrating - but, fear not), you need to have a portfolio that supports what your style and quality of work IS, BUT, the education really does help inform whomever is hiring you, that you have learned the skills that are required to execute the job well. It may not be a deal breaker, but coming from my industry, you may get asked why, and you may need to work a little harder at the beginning to show that you have those developed skills. I might see a beautiful portfolio, but ask myself, "Can this candidate manage her time? Can I toss her into a working art department and be fairly certain she can execute her work because she was taught the basics of development, and not just how to make the final product look good?" Having the education to back up your portfolio helps align YOUR image, and it presents a clear view to whomever sees your work.


Next steps:

With that said, I think it's important to explore and experiment while in school. If you love English, maybe find a way to do a double major or take a work load that really allows you to learn both; you may find that you'll grow to like one more than the other! If you do that, I'd suggest taking classes in design that allow you a bit of breadth. As an example: Graphic Design requires a huge understanding for space, balance, color, type, layout, etc. Nail the basics in the classes you take. Try experimenting with other areas like UX/UI - this would give you an advantage in the job market.


If you're just starting out in school, experiment! If you're nearing the end, try committing to something you're excited about and really learn it from the inside out. There WILL be time to learn more in your career, but it is a bit more difficult to make a 360 turn from say, nursing to graphic design. But hey! I've seen it happen. We will always keep learning in life, no matter what!


Hope that helps :)


Creds: 10 years of experience in apparel/design

School: Art Center College of Design

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Remy’s Answer

To an extent they do, depending on the industry- but most of the time companies are more focused on whether or not you completed your degree, put in the effort to challenge yourself, and are passionate. Companies hire people, not diplomas. By that I mean, you are more than what your degree says, and if you share passion, excitement, and the drive to succeed- the company will not discount you based on your major (assuming you are able to complete the job). Networking, building relationships and completing internships are your best bet to success. Often times you are 18 when picking a major, sop you are not tied in forever on what that decision was. That being said- the skills you learn in any major in regards to work ethic, organzation, and communication will be of value in any career. Good luck!
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Minvi’s Answer

As a former hiring manager for an operational unit of J.P.Morgan Chase, I would have to say that work experience and the right attitude out-weight the degree or major that the potential employee holds. During the interview process, I usually ask questions that will provoke answers to how one will employ their skills and knowledge from previous work experiences to a new job. I want to know what can we benefit from hiring someone like you. What are you bringing to the company? How do you get along with co-workers especially when there are differing opinions in completing a task or project?

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Miguel’s Answer

It's not an absolute, just a start.

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Stephen’s Answer

Here's how I started out and how it ended up for me. From the time I was 4-yers old I wrote and I thought that's what I would be careerwise when I grew up. By the time I was 22, I'd written two-and-a-half bad, unpublishable novels. This was before self-publishing was a thing and you could really find a path to turning your writing into a real book worth reading. When I wrote those novels, there was no self-publishing; it was called vanity publishing. For the obvious reasons.

I went to college and majored in English. I still thought I'd write; but I also thought teaching English might be a way for me to not have to worry about surviving economically. I got my first job, on one of my periodic breaks from college, as a copy editor and proofreader. I lasted as a proofreader for about 15 years, until an ex-girlfriend of mine who I always remained friendly with got us both applications for a civil service test. I did well on the test and became a clerk in NY's court system. I lasted at that for over 32 years. But I also got more heavily involved in publishing during that time. I got my first computer right after I started work in this civil service job, I upgraded periodically.

When I got married, tho', I decided it smarter to not have the computer just be an expensive toy. So I combined my fascination with computers and the foundation proofreading gave me for understanding how words (and pictures) can best be placed on the printed page. I started by searching the Sunday help wanted ads in newspapers (no Internet just yet) for graphic designer/artist jobs (didn't see actual jobs for book design back then) and asked whether the work could be done as a freelancer from my own location.

I got my first break when a local ad agency on Long Island (where I reside) advertised for someone to do a three-page brochure on a medical device. I sent my résumé, playing up my proofreading and copy editing experience, and sending samples of my design-and-layout work, such as they were--I'd invented a bunch of projects for myself, doing creative, smart-looking résumés, and those were what I sent to the ad agency. I got the job.

Soon after that I answered an ad from a book packager in the city (NYC, THE City) looking for someone to lay out an algebra textbook. I got that gig. But my big break took place when, after finally getting an Internet connection--text-only thru my local public library--I joined an Internet chat group for publishing freelancers and answered a job posting there for someone to lay out science journals for a Florida publisher. I applied. They were looking for an off-site freelancer. I sent my résumé and used some pages from the algebra textbook as sample of my work.

Miraculously I got back an email from the Florida publisher--actually from someone who worked there offering me the job. Here's the miraculous part: The person who sent that email from the Florida publisher turned out to be an old friend of mine from Long Island in NY who'd moved to Florida with her husband and kids. She and I knew each other from having worked at a typesetter where I was a proofreader and she a keyboarder. (She was also my tea leaf reader.)

I worked for them for almost three years. And I began to get book projects from publishers around the U.S. All this after my 9-to-5, Monday thru Friday workday as a court clerk. I retired from that court clerk job about five years ago. But I've continued as a book designer, work that I really enjoy. To date I've done this work for a little over 29 years on over 110 books.

So here's the takeaway, English was a fine major for me. But I think any of the liberal arts paths--philosophy, fine arts, to name just two--provide the kind of intellectual trining that can serve you in reinventing yourself or just fine tune what work you do. But you have to stick at it. I feel tht I created opportunities for myself simply by answering ads over and over until one clicked. And then another.

Go for it!
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Susan’s Answer

When my company is hiring (advertising agency) we absolutely look at your degree. Not only that you have a degree, but the brand of college degree--meaning is it reputable, does the culture of the college fit our company, are the values similar. That said, why are companies looking at the brand of your college? Because they want bragging rights. They want to be able to say 10% of our employees graduate from MIT. So, another road would be to give them bragging rights about something else you do: youngest person to exhibit at a local museum, first person to create an entirely biodegradable exhibit, etc. Hopefully you get my drift.
Good luck!
Susan
www.brandingband.com
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Tom R’s Answer

A potential employer certainly looks at your major and how it relates to the position in question, because the manager needs to fit your knowledge with the company's requirements. However and as it relates to an entry-level position, I believe the manager is more interested in the kind of individual you are, your aptitude and adaptability. A new hire with the right "dynamics" can fit in and do well as he/she progresses through the training phase.

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Rebecca’s Answer

Companies normally do not focus on your major, it’s more about your experience.

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Sona’s Answer

In Azerbaijan, academic achievements play an important role while applying for a job or internship. Companies have preference for people with higher grades which is unfair.
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Lyndsey J’s Answer

They usually do not look at your master if you’re an artist they would want to know what type of classes you took and your ongoing education as an artist. OK

Lyndsey J recommends the following next steps:

They usually do not look at your master if you’re an artist they would want to know what type of classes you took and your ongoing education as an artist. OK
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Daniel’s Answer

Artist here! Employers, do not necessarily care about your major so long as you can demonstrate the necessary skills for the job. Skill matters more than any degree, though relevant coursework helps! I hope this helps answer your question.
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Hala’s Answer

Depends on experience and what work you've done on the side to make a name for yourself as well.

Hala recommends the following next steps:

Put yourself out there
work on your skills
learn programs
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Michael’s Answer

Hi, Rokaria. I broke down artistic and creative employment into two categories, non-technical and technical. Artistic and creative employment encompasses a large variety of employment that is too diverse to give a single answer that fits every possibility, but generalizing and simplifying the problem can be helpful, especially when we're getting started. The main thing is just to recognize that there are different expectations depending on what you want to do, but there's also different ways to meet those expectations.


First, non-technical art/design. This typically excludes a necessity for STEM related advanced education. Some of the best examples would be illustrator, concept artist, sculptor, and creative writer. Typically, your college major is considered very little and the portfolio is king. However, the line between non-technical and technical can get blurry, even in these employments. For example, a concept artist designing on a particular line of products may need to know manufacturing and materials limitations.


Which brings me to the next category: technical art/design. Many of the common employment opportunities for technical art/design, like industrial designers, furniture design, and lighting/set design usually will weigh your college major heavily to ensure that you have the technical foundations necessary to do the job. Even employment seemingly as fun as toy design will often require an applicant to be knowledgeable of material properties and manufacturing processes that are a part of a degree in industrial design (see Hasbro).


For employment in technical art/design, you can learn the necessary requirements on your own, but you need to demonstrate your knowledge by applying it to real-world projects. A hiring manager looking to add an industrial designer can look at the application of a graduate with high marks in the applicable major and be confident that they are competent with the technical requirements of the job; convincing that same hiring manager without the same degree by only using real-world projects to demonstrate competency can be more of a challenge, but still possible.


You can get a lot of really good advice from a lot of great and generous people, but it's up to you to filter through it and figure out how and what applies to your journey. For the sake of context, here's where I'm coming from: I have been hired in 2 art studios and a my undergraduate degree is in History. Demonstrating the strength of my relevant work was the most important (probably the only) factor for each. I've been designing and sculpting manufactured products for 12 years and I've learned enough of the manufacturing and production side that I can do a lot of engineering myself, but I'm not an engineer. I've reached a point where I can take a product about %80 of the way through production, but there is an amount of technical knowledge the engineers have that is simply hard to get without formal education on the subject. So, in my case, even though I've been able to accomplish a lot without a relevant degree, further education (i.e. industrial design or related degree) would bridge that extra %20 that I'd like to have.


Michael recommends the following next steps:

Decide if you want to enter a non-technical or technical art/creative field.
Check college degrees related to your field, do they require STEM components and/or are they a BA or a BS?
If the employment you want requires STEM components and/or a BS, your major does matter. Plan/enroll accordingly.
If the employment you want does not require the above components, then you will need to work very hard to hone your craft and create a portfolio that demonstrates your skill, knowledge, and experience related to that employment.
Either way, get crackin'.
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Amy’s Answer

It depends on the philosophy of the employer. I learned from my scientist uncle who hired people with a degree in any subject because it represented the ability to make the effort to complete something difficult. In the creative world, people have skills in creative problem solving which is an asset in all areas. Showcase your creative problem solving skills with examples and also highlight the skills learned while completing your college degree, such as following instructions and meeting deadlines.

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Daniel’s Answer

Artist here! Employers, do not necessarily care about your major so long as you can demonstrate the necessary skills for the job. Skill matters more than any degree, though relevant coursework helps! I hope this helps answer your question.
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Blossom’s Answer

There is nothing wrong with being broad, call it versatility, but your going to have to package yourself differently for each employer. It really comes down to what you emphasis to an employer in attendance with their preference. If you have work experience in A and B, but want to do C, you are going to have to harness that during your free time. It has to be able to compete with someone who has professionally done C.

I am learning this as we speak because I just graduated and I’m summarising all the feedback from my interviews.

Still, tough egg to crack, I’ll tell you.


Blossom recommends the following next steps:

Explore, yourself, your field, the jobs associated. Take your time. Haste makes waste. There is this pressure to succeed right away, but you have your whole life (like over 100yrs with our medical advancements) to do this.
Do what it takes to get you foot in the door. I am currently work freelance and put my work up on social media. Some people I know start as assistants or receptionists in their preferred companies.
You professors are the closest professionals are your disposal! Ask them if they would hire you, ask them why or why not?
Perseverance will get you a job. If you stop applying, you’ll never get your chance. It might be a while, but don’t beat yourself up. Instead take the time to transition from a student into professional because graduation blues are a thing.
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Mescuddii’s Answer

In my experience, your major is only coming into play if you’re working in that field itself.
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Peyton’s Answer

Companies often try to gauge if an individual would be a good fit for the company. This can include personal experience or a college major. In some cases I can even imagine it can simply include ones personal interest and passion.
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Nubia’s Answer

I am currently a beginner artist myself, and during my time as an artist, I have learned that companies do not only want you to have some type of knowledge in the field, but they also want you to have experience in order to do the job right. They focus mainly on your skills, they don't always rely on your major to do the talking, it is your actions that you show. Showing passion and skills are the most important.

Here's what you can do:

Nubia recommends the following next steps:

1. You must first attend classes related to the field of work
2. You must create your portfolio with 12 to 24 original artworks and a resume
3. Get some experience by volunteering or entering contests or even collaborating with other artists
4. Interact with other artists in your level, maybe your classmates
5. Always keep a positive attitude even when rejected, because things get better in time, don't rush
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Sheree’s Answer

The answer to this question is a bit complex as it truly depends on the company and the position you are applying for. Some companies require an educational background because your duties may include some technical skills that apply to that specific job they want to fill. Other times you may find that the company is looking for skills rather than education. It is important to remember that you should always tailor you resume to the company and position you want. Do research on the company before you apply. And maintain a professional appearance both in person and online.
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YI’s Answer

It depends on company. I know for some large corporation, they use software to filter out applicants based on their colleges, majors and some key words. So when you apply for jobs, if your major is not related to the job, put as many related projects as you can. (Use your experience to match the job). My second advise will be submit as many as resume to you can, no matter the size of the companies.
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Fatima’s Answer

Rokaria,

For as long as I have been working as a UX Designer and applying to UX Design positions, I have received feedback where the hiring team wants a link to my digital portfolio. It has been very rare that they ask me about my BS. So, to answer your question, your college education doesn't matter in the creative field. Must of the time they care about the quality of your design and the process. Meaning, they want to know can you create the design on your own without much guidance.

Fatima recommends the following next steps:

Get your digital portfolio together.
Gather all of your works together to show samples of your work.
When explaining your work ensure you include information about the process of how the piece was created.
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Amabel’s Answer

It depends on the industry you want to be in. The creative industry prefers a strong portfolio over diploma. Whether companies prefer a college graduate or not, it is still important to earn your degree. It may be used to further your career in the future.
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Javier’s Answer

Having had the opportunity to hire people myself I would say education does help but it is not a focus when hiring.  I consider what you bring to the position and how that aligns with what is needed to be successful in the position. Your experience goes so much further when applying in my opinion.

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Jonathan’s Answer

I believe it is crucial for employers to see what you have achieved attending undergraduate college. They would also like to look at your creativity to see if you are ready to bring your art to their table.
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Steven’s Answer

I was an accounting major in college, but was not interested in becoming an auditor (a common first job for an accounting major). I was able to get a job in video production because the company was looking for someone who was comfortable with numbers and could manage a budget. Being a video production company, they got many applicants who were interested in the creative side (making the videos), but not many who wanted to be involved in the business side. My major in accounting helped me stand out in this particular situation.
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Alex’s Answer

While it definitely helps to have a college degree under your belt in the corresponding creative field, it's not a must! There are plenty of online resources and courses that can give you more tailored experience in your preferred creative field, and the right combination of tailored courses can be just as valuable as a college degree.

When you apply for creative positions, the most important thing to have is: Creativity! A polished portfolio is the most important part of your application, and being a kind, driven, and pleasant person to work with comes in at a close second. If your current education didn't set you up with a portfolio suited for your dream job, make your own! Come up with your own creative briefs and assignments to craft a portfolio that shows who you are as an artist, and have fun with it! The projects you're most passionate about tend to be the ones that shine!

Alex recommends the following next steps:

Narrow down your creative dream jobs. What are they? Are they related? What skills do they share?
Polish up your portfolio. Create an online presence for yourself that shows off your work and personality.
Come up with a creative project for yourself that aligns with your dream job.
Find experienced artists in your dream career field and connect with them. You'd be surprised at how helpful artists love to be to up and coming creatives!