Use this time to prepare for your career

Working remotely on a computer

Guest post by Farah Yusuf, Outreach Coordinator, Career Development
Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers

While much about our day-to-day lives may be taking a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is plenty you can do with your time to prepare for your future creative career.

As the public health situation evolves, we can expect some short-term changes in how students and soon-to-be graduates look for opportunities and build professional relationships.

Employment landscape
While we can expect a lower volume of available opportunities as employers navigate uncertainty and shift to remote work, this doesn’t mean you should stop looking for employment during this time. You could be applying for self-directed, project-focused roles that are entirely virtual (from interview through to deliverables) or related to a need that emerges from this current situation.

Deep breaths, reflect and visualize
Now is a great the time to visualize your future, develop your portfolio, and enhance your skills for employability. Spend some time imagining what the world might look like one year from now, when hopefully the world has rebounded. How would you like to emerge professionally in that moment?

Focus on what is within your control rather than what is not, take it slowly and do small things that will make you feel productive. Take stock and reflect on what you have learned, experienced and accomplished to this point. This reflection is vital when it comes to building your personal narrative and articulating what you’re great at in a profile statement, artist statement, or design philosophy.

Update your application package
Make sure your resume and cover letter are up-to-date, so that you’re ready to seize new opportunities that could come up. Develop your online portfolio, revise past projects, and even work on passion projects to add to your portfolio. Your website showcases both your work and your personality at the same time. It should reflect your voice, interests and skills. Visit and to find a wealth of resources to help you.

Use virtual tools to upgrade skills
This moment offers you the time to take a dive deep into your professional development. Use it to hone your software skills. Use virtual learning platforms — such as your free LinkedIn Learning access via OCAD U or YouTube tutorials — to close a gap that you think might exist. Take some time to examine a wide range of career paths and opportunities that are out there. Take a look at LinkedIn profiles or creative professionals’ websites to discover some of the paths artists and designers take or roles that they’ve held and learn more about what that actually might be.

Physical distancing doesn’t have to prevent networking
Don’t stop there. Reach out and connect to members of your professional community to ask for feedback on your work. Find ways to stay virtually in touch with peers and even use platforms like Ten Thousand Coffees to just reach out to others and have a phone conversation or a virtual chat through the platform. If social media is your thing, keep active there and share.

Of course, prioritize the wellbeing needs of yourself and those around you. We hope that you are well, we miss seeing you in person, and we know this will eventually pass. Use this time to do what you can to be ready, so that you can stay on track towards achieving your goals.

The Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers continues to support you by offering virtual advising at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday to Friday through the Talent Network. We are also posting calls-for submissions and Talent Network highlights on our Instagram account @ocaducead to keep you in the loop!


Photo by Hannah Wei.