4 essential soft skills you need to break into the creative industry.

Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) suggests that unemployment rose from 23.1% in Q3’2018 to 27.1% in Q2’2020. Projections also suggest that the unemployment rate in Nigeria will reach an all-time high of 31.4% in 2021.

Yet, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and its growing creative sector (film, music and fashion) has become a strong exporter of culture. The sector is considered to be one of the fastest-growing in the country and holds immense opportunities to contribute to GDP and create jobs for young people. 

Although the pandemic may have caused a temporary setback due to lockdown restrictions, the sector has remained resilient in the face of despair as young creatives continue to leverage technology to reach their target audience. The flow of creative content has increased as social media, streaming and instant messaging platforms have become the go-to place for many young people looking to showcase their creativity.

Developing one’s soft skills, particularly in creative fields that often require holistic expertise, can help develop your career whether you’re an intern, an employee or an experienced manager. Degrees are great for many things but most syllabi don’t cover those soft skills that are essential for building successful careers. With that being said, Here are 5 soft skills you need to break into the creative industry, from an expert’s point of view.

Creative and Innovation – This might be a little bit too obvious but it can’t be overemphasised. You don’t need to be able to draw the best images or visuals. That’s not what creativity is. Creativity is defined in the English language as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules and patterns to create meaningful new ideas, methods and interpretations.

This may seem like an obvious quality to have but creativity is a skill that is really sought after when entering the creative job market. Creativity can be a learned capacity or talent, but some people have a natural affinity  So How can you Stimulate Creative Thinking?

  • Be Curious – Ask questions and suspend any judgement 
  • Make Connections – Expand your network by talking to people in different fields about the problem. Try something (anything) new. Look at things from another angle. 
  • Challenge yourself – Allow yourself to take risks, accept failures and learn from them. Question long-held assumptions.
  • Cultivate your ideas – give yourself space to daydream and give your ideas wings. Give time for your ideas to grow and consider all possibilities presented. 

Effective Communication – Effective communication is a process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, knowledge and information such that the purpose or intention is fulfilled in the best possible manner. In simple words, it is nothing but the presentation of views by the sender in a way best understood by the receiver. When working with teams in the creative industry to achieve a goal, whether you’re on a movie production set or setting up an art gallery, being able to listen to instructions and cooperate with team members to solve problems and work through tasks will increase productivity massively.

Flexibility and Adaptability – Being flexible and adaptable in the workplace means being open to new ideas, innovations, or changes. Someone with this skill can work independently or in groups, or perform tasks not designed only for a single individual. The creative industries are constantly changing and developing, even more so with the introduction of new technologies and trends.

As a professional in the creative industries, keeping up with the technologies is key; but more importantly, it’s your ability to adapt to the fast-growing environments that will keep you at the top of your game.

Time management – You need to have excellent time management skills to meet the numerous deadlines you might encounter. Studies and experience have shown that Time Management and Personal Organisation go hand in hand. They are like the chicken and the egg. Time management will fail without a focus on your self-management and personal organisation.  

People manage their time in different ways. Some people make lists, some have a desk full of sticky notes, some prioritise their tasks and some use Gantt Charts and other visual formats. Find a method that works best for you and stick to that method.

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