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CPS 3302 Professional Development

After University plans

At this moment in time, I am unsure of what I want to do after my University degree. I know that I want to go straight into a job and then consider doing a master’s course in a year or two if I decide it is something I want to pursue but I am currently in no rush. I feel that doing a Masters straight away would just be a waste of time and money as I have had enough of education for a while and would like to gain experience for my CV as my experience is quite limited at the moment. I also feel that I am unsure of what subject I would want to specialise in and so I feel that this is important to consider in depth.

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/masters-degrees/should-i-do-a-masters

Things to consider about a Masters

At the moment, I don’t feel that a Masters would be suitable for me as I don’t have the drive for it yet but this is something to consider in a year or two when I feel more up to continuing my education and pushing myself further. At the moment however, my main focus is to get a job and gain experience for my CV.

Things to consider about a Masters

Another factor that puts me off doing a Masters straight away is the cost as I would like to experience doing a Masters in a place outside of Leicester where I have lived my whole life and so as well as course fees, I would need to factor in living costs which isn’t financially possible for me at the moment and so I would be in a much better position to do so in a couple of years when I have some savings.

Things to consider about a Masters

Another thing to consider is what grade I am going to get in my degree which could affect my chances of being accepted onto a Masters degree. I am currently unsure of what grade I will get as I find University grading can differ a lot from tutor to tutor and can be harsh and so I wouldn’t want to make the effort doing the application just to be rejected if I end up with a lower grade than I want.

Things to consider about a Masters

I don’t feel that I am ready for a Masters straightaway as I feel that I have burnt myself out during my degree and lost my passion for art as I have felt that my work is never good enough and so I would like to build my confidence and ensure I am at a time in my life where I will get the most out of my Masters rather than wasting the good opportunity and not doing the best of my ability.

Although these websites gave me a lot of information, I felt it would be good to watch a YouTube video or two to hear people’s own experiences and how they navigated life after University in terms of doing a Masters. This reassured me also as I have no idea what to do and I can be too critical about that sometimes but it is completely normal.

Pros and Cons of Masters

Although I already know that I don’t want to do a Masters straight away, I felt it would be beneficial to see whether a Masters would be beneficial to me anyway and who Masters are mostly suited to. I found this YouTube video which went into a lot of detail and I found it useful to hear all the points.

Information learned from video:

  • A masters is a postgraduate qualification done after a Bachelors degree which allows you to go more in depth in a specific subject
  • Masters are good for people who know what direction they want to go in, they know the industry and sometimes which specific roles they want
  • You need a different mindset going into a Masters compared to your undergraduate degree – they are typically only one year so you have to have more focus, not a lot of time for fun or a social life. A Masters is viewed as an investment
  • Cost of Masters – typically £8,500 but it varies depending on the course and location. Living costs aren’t covered so it is quite expensive and you miss out on a year of wages which you would have earned if you went straight into a job rather than doing a Masters
  • A Masters does give you a chance to earn more than just having an undergraduate degree but this isn’t always guaranteed. More of a chance of employment too but again this isn’t guaranteed
  • A Masters isn’t vital in getting the best roles, you can still be successful without a Masters – its not a necessity
  • Who should highly consider doing a masters? – someone who has done research and found out that doing a Masters is essential in getting a job – in some sectors having a Masters is much more beneficial such as Law and Engineering so you can niche down in the subject and make yourself more suited to your dream role. If you want to maximise your potential. Someone who got a 2-2 in their degree might feel that they didn’t do too well and a Masters could help hide that qualification as that could hinder your chances with some companies. Someone who wants to pivot their subject and move to a different specialism
  • Why you shouldn’t do a Masters? – If you’re unsure about what you want to do as a Masters is an investment, not a way for you to avoid adult responsibilities or keep in the university lifestyle life. If you can’t afford it right now it would be a good idea to wait until you’re in a better financial position. Some universities prefer masters applicants who have experience in industry and so depending on where you want to do a Masters this is something to take into account

Information learned from video:

  • 1) Gap Year – go travelling or get a part time job so you still have a lot of free time. Last year of freedom before going into the working world full time. Going to different countries for the experience. The part time job ends up funding these opportunities.
  • 2) Getting a job – Lots of different jobs out there and the jobs don’t always have to link directly to your degree. Some degree subjects offer graduate schemes after uni which are helpful and train you in the role that you want to pursue. Some graduate schemes allow you to gain different qualifications.
  • 3) Building your CV – people often realise after uni that they don’t have a lot of experience and so focus on building it up before applying for graduate schemes or applying for their dream jobs. Getting an internship, either paid or unpaid depending on what is on offer. Internships last different amounts of time and so will be suitable to some but not to others. Volunteering is another good option (either in the UK or abroad). If you don’t know what you want to do, you can dabble in different things throughout the year and try different careers to see what best suits you. It might make you feel disorganised and out of place but it will help in the long run.
  • 4) Masters – so many different types of post grad courses in different areas with different specialties. Have to consider how much you pay for the course vs how much you’ll get back from it, is the investment really worth it?
  • 1) Gap Year – go travelling or get a part time job so you still have a lot of free time. Last year of freedom before going into the working world full time. Going to different countries for the experience. The part time job ends up funding these opportunities.
  • 2) Getting a job – Lots of different jobs out there and the jobs don’t always have to link directly to your degree. Some degree subjects offer graduate schemes after uni which are helpful and train you in the role that you want to pursue. Some graduate schemes allow you to gain different qualifications.
  • 3) Building your CV – people often realise after uni that they don’t have a lot of experience and so focus on building it up before applying for graduate schemes or applying for their dream jobs. Getting an internship, either paid or unpaid depending on what is on offer. Internships last different amounts of time and so will be suitable to some but not to others. Volunteering is another good option (either in the UK or abroad). If you don’t know what you want to do, you can dabble in different things throughout the year and try different careers to see what best suits you. It might make you feel disorganised and out of place but it will help in the long run.
  • 4) Masters – so many different types of post grad courses in different areas with different specialties. Have to consider how much you pay for the course vs how much you’ll get back from it, is the investment really worth it?
What to expect after graduating from art school

Although looking into ideas as to what to do after university is helpful, I decided to look into people’s experiences of graduating from art school and the challenges they faced with getting an arts based job as I felt this would be more relevant to my own experience and build my confidence if I see other people’s successes.

Things I learned from the video:

  • Art school does not adequately prepare you for the financial realities of being an artist
  • A lot of art graduates are confronted with the realities of working alone for full time hours
  • Some artists get normal jobs to fund their passion and make savings before taking the leap to making art their main source of income and work on art full time which allows them to focus on art opportunities more such as exhibitions
  • Some people create and sell work but don’t manage to see any profits building up – it is bound to happen when you take the risk to focus on art full time
  • You have to consider how to become financially efficient – consider working from home and converting garage into art studio, means there aren’t any extra expenses. Make sure living expenses are reasonable
  • Figure out how to keep material expenses low as it is sometimes the only way to maintain being an artist full time. Framing one of the biggest expenses. Building your own frames would cut those costs down massively. Working on panels is quite inexpensive. Working with other shades of yellow than cadmium which is the most expensive will cut down costs.
  • Be creative with materials and experiment. Find a job with freedom which pays well, flexible schedule or even part time so then you have a stable income yet can still pursue your art. Then you don’t have the financial pressures
  • Teaching could be a good route but it’s not guaranteed that you will have the time or energy to do your own art alongside teaching

Interesting comments about peoples experiences on the above video:

This comment was interesting as it showed the harsh reality of wanting to pursue art and how difficult it can be to make a living and even get accepted into shows which is something I myself have experienced this year and it makes it really difficult to keep motivated.

I really relate to this comment in terms of feeling nervous that you won’t get a career doing what you love. I just have to see what happens and keep pushing myself to get a job that makes me happy. I hope I get there some day

Finding a job/ job sectors suitable for me:

The job I get maybe a normal retail job for me to get experience but I am hoping to discover an artistic job so my degree hasn’t been a waste of time. To assist me with finding jobs that are relevant, I started to do some assessments on the ‘National Career Service’ which uses your interests and skills to recommend relevant job opportunities. If I do end up in a normal job then I will still work on my practice in my own time and build up a strong portfolio to make me look good to potential employers in my preferred industry.

National Careers Service home page information
National Careers Service home page information

The assessments are used to identify skills you already have, your interests, your work ethic, and good things about you that make you suitable for certain jobs. Each assessment takes around 15 minutes to 30 minutes and there are 10 in total. I am working my way through them all so that a report can be generated for me which will give me jobs that would be suitable for me individually as well as suggest areas of improvement which could greatly benefit me.

Personal Skill Assessments
Work-based Skills assessment

I finished my assessments and downloaded my report:

My Completed Assessments

My report:

Here is a copy of my Skills Health Check that you can download and view. I have also attached a range of screenshots in case any technical problems occur.

My strengths
A strength and area of development
Area of development
My interests and suitable job families.
Job families I’m not interested in
My job approach style
Job approach developments and motivations
My motivations
Working with numbers results
Working with numbers tips and written information results
Written information results

I am really glad that the report gives me thorough information about my strengths and areas for improvement with tips as I now know what I should work on to build my employability and make a good impression on employers.

I am going to speak to a careers advisor when I have the chance so that they could recommend some more detailed information and specific jobs rather than ‘job families’ as I feel this could be an eye-opener and could allow me to find a career I feel gives me a purpose and allows me to make the most of my degree doing something I love. However, I have learned that the University careers advisors are more tailored towards academic careers rather than creative and so I feel I would need to find a careers advisor more tailored towards creative subjects.

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/graduate-jobs

In my search, I selected ‘Creative arts and design’ for the job sector and ‘East Midlands’ for the location as I can’t see myself moving too far away any time soon due to finances and family. Unfortunately there aren’t any art graduate jobs nearby and so I need to consider finding general entry level arts jobs rather than graduate jobs.

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/fine-art

Jobs related/linked to my Fine Art Degree

“Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don’t restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.” – This gives me hope as sometimes I worry that I will be limited to certain jobs and I sometimes worry that I will never be successful but I need to stop worrying and have faith in the process.

  • Make a portfolio
  • Enter Competitions
  • Enter work into exhibitions
  • Network/make contacts
  • Voluntary work could be beneficial

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