talent vs training – you decide

July 19th, 2010 / Natalie Sullivan

Its that time of year again when the doors have opened and hundreds of graduates have hit the streets looking for their first job. It’s an exciting, as well as daunting time for them (as I remember) and deciding where to work and what discipline is just part of it.

I receive CVs every week from graduates inquiring about positions and placements and I have as many from non graphic design graduates as I do from them. It started me thinking, especially as we’ve talked about the potential of offering graduate placements in the future, but do you need to have a relevant degree to do the job we do?

Here at together we don’t have a ‘no degree no job’ policy in the creative studio unlike a good deal of agencies who demand that all applicants have a qualification in design generally at higher education level. We’ve always believed that the best designers and creatives have a natural talent and passion which doesn’t necessarily start with a formal qualification but on the flip side of that I’d expect anyone coming to work here to know difference between oblique and italic as a matter of course.

Talent, in my opinion is something that cannot be taught – that is why when you walk round a degree show there are always those that stand out and those that don’t. However, I do think that what a degree does do is hone that natural talent and teach some basic tools and principles that will aid success.

But would I be more inclined to put a graphic design graduate to the top of the list? It’s a tough one. I wouldn’t want someone with real talent and drive to slip through the net just because they weren’t formally trained but then I don’t want the person with a copy of CS5 and the flyer they did for their friends BBQ to think they could do the job either!

What I would say is that talent and education on their own can be unexceptional, but put the two together and what you get could be so much better! And with around 70 applications for each job out there you really need to be the one that stands out.

Having said all that, in the end it’s the CV that catches my eye,  the portfolio that makes me want to see more and the drive and ambition that person displays that will make the choice for me. How they got to that point*, whilst not to be dismissed or played down, is not, for me, the most important part.

* Just to put that into context, the best CV and covering letter we have had so far this year came from a product and furniture design graduate who had had a change of direction.

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One Response to “talent vs training – you decide”

  1. Andy Boulton says:

    It still constantly amazes me that anyone on the lookout for a creative job would send something as dreary and unimaginative as a standard CV. Unleash the creative force young Jedis.