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Top skills for creative professionals

Roles in the creative industries are vast and varied – anything from advertising, animation, music and performing arts to architecture, graphic design, product design, interior design, film and fashion. You’ll find scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and people with a skill set that blends all this and more. However, no matter which creative career calls you, there are some skills that are essential. Below, we’ve compiled our top 10.

1. Creative thinking

Being able to come up with new and original ideas is essential to almost any career, but particularly useful when solving creative problems. Whether you’re designing a new look for an indoor or outdoor space, or want to reach out to new audiences or customers, it helps to be able to think up new solutions – better still, solutions nobody else has thought of yet.

2. Self-confidence

Our perceptions – the way we think about ourselves – influence the way we feel about ourselves and our attitude to our skills and abilities. Believing in yourself, being confident in your strengths and trusting your judgment is vital for any creative career. Whether you’re bidding for new funding or pitching an idea to an existing client, confidence is catching, so take pride in what you do.

3. Communication

The creative industries are built on communication – of ideas, messages and meaning in many different forms. Aside from the creative medium itself, you’ll always have to communicate with others about your products, yourself and your business. Presentations, funding bids, project updates, debriefs, annual reports, external emails, social media…the list goes on and on. Remember, more haste, less speed.

4. Adaptability

The only thing that is constant is change (Heraclitus, Greek philosopher). Thanks to the digital age, the creative industries have changed and developed more than most. Buyers can explore virtual buildings and computer generated graphics have transformed the film industry. Keeping one eye on the future and being able to quickly adapt to new circumstances is the best way to ensure your career stays firmly on track.

Creative professional in front of artwork

5. Teamworking

From collaborating with investors, curators, partners and contributors, teamwork is an inevitable part of any career – and it can be both fun and rewarding. Working together toward a common goal can get a task completed more quickly and effectively, and lead to greater creativity and productivity. That’s partly why we ensure our students experience group and individual learning activities on our courses.

6. Discipline

Whether you end up in a micro business or working for a multinational, you need to get the job done. The good news is that when you study an online degree, managing your time effectively and working to multiple deadlines becomes second nature. You’ll develop the ways of organising your time, projects, information, files and finances that will ensure you keep creating and see things through at work.

7. Networking

Networking can have a positive impact on your business and your career. Being able to meet and converse with people of all ages and from different professions, nationalities and cultures is a valuable skill to possess. It’ll help you stay up-to-date with industry news, placing you in an ideal position to obtain word-of-mouth referrals for jobs and business opportunities.

8. Open-mindedness

Research has found that open-minded people don’t just see the world differently, but they tend to be more creative and are more likely to be creatively successful. If you question everything, constantly explore and learn new things, you’ll discover new opportunities, experiences and meet new people. Don’t say ‘no’ immediately. Being open to new ideas and partnerships might just lead to a whole new business venture.

9. Computer skills

Computer technology has enabled businesses to operate more efficiently and flexibly than ever. Studying online is a great way to boost your digital skills. You’ll not only conduct Internet-based research and learn how to identify the most appropriate electronic resources, but also get plenty of practise preparing reports, presentations and managing spreadsheets.

10. Resilience

Last, but by no means least, you need to have resilience – or grit. Working in the creative or any other industry can be tough – from an unsuccessful contract bid, to missing out on a job interview or receiving negative feedback on a proposal or idea, rejection is inevitable. The trick is to stay positive, always bounce back when things don’t go to plan and try to learn from any mistakes. Remember, at the end of the day, we’re all human.

Ready to take your skills to the next level?

From January 2023, Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) will be launching a range of 100% online courses designed to shape and build your creative work, letting you learn, share, provoke and collaborate. Find out more about the courses currently on offer:

View all courses

Start your creative journey here.

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