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Webinar Summary: The Impact of COVID-19 to Careers in the Creative Industry

ArtBound Initiative is a global internship program in the creative industries. We work closely with over 150 creative companies across the world and have sent out a detailed survey to our company network to compile data on the current and future job market during COVID-19.

In May and June, we have set up a series of public Zoom webinars to share our findings and provide recommendations for students and recent graduates to land job opportunities in a highly saturated job market. Over 300 students, recent grads and faculty members attended the webinar online!

You can find the full Zoom webinar recording on Youtube here:

Summary key findings

  • 58% of companies use inner networks and referrals as their main source of recruitment, compared to online job postings and cold applications.

  • During COVID-19, most companies saw a decrease in the number of applications but no change in the quality of applicants.

  • 81% of the companies felt that recruitment would be impacted for over 6 months.

ABI Recommendations

Based on the findings above, it is clear that job hunting in the creative industries will become even more difficult in the upcoming months. Our recommendation for students and recent grads is to strengthen your professional network to access opportunities for higher education jobs. Here are four ways you can do so:

1. Keep contacting companies & recruiters

Most businesses at this time are impacted by COVID-19, and will pause their recruitment processes. Thus, HR managers and recruiters are actually less busy than usual and have more time on their hands. It’s the perfect time for you to get in touch! Acknowledge the situation - although recruiting is currently paused at the moment, let them know that you are excited for a potential position in the company and send over your best resume and portfolio.

2. Target your school network

Take this time to get to know your professors - they are great potential mentors who have spent years in the industry you are targeting. It’s also important for you to connect with alumni from your school who are currently working for companies you want to work at.

3. Join professional associations, membership based organization and collective within your industry

There are several great platforms and networks who are industry based (and often location based). Increase your networking opportunities by doing a google search and find who those networks are in your field. If you join those networks or organizations, you can instantly gain access to their wide network, attend networking events, etc.

4. Don’t forget to network within your friends and family

It’s always worth asking around in your existing network of friends and family for more networking opportunities. People in your close circle are always happy to help and could easily introduce you to someone they know who could give you a great insider perspective.

As recruitment is being temporarily paused, this is the perfect time for you to be working on your portfolio and build up your materials and resume. This way, when companies are starting to hire again, you will be able to stand apart from the rest of the applicants.

1. Update your resume & portfolio

There are a lot of professional guides for resume examples out there that can help you guide or inspire you if you are wanting to upgrade and strengthen your resume and portfolio. Another way to get feedback for your existing professional resume and/or portfolio is to ask an expert’s advice - mainly your professors or mentors who have extensive knowledge in the field.

2. Build your online presence

Hiring managers will almost always conduct a google search on potential candidates. It’s important to build or update your online presence. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date, if you’re a designer, your brand should be consistent throughout your website, Behance, Dribble, etc.

3. Build up your top 15 company list to get updated with trends

Make a list of 10 to 15 companies in your field that you would want to work at, and follow them online on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It will help you know when jobs are open + will help you gain more insight and knowledge about their projects and work culture.

The second part of the Zoom webinar explains the changes in staffing due to COVID-19. When businesses get impacted, it is likely that they will be running lean for a while, laying off people and only recruiting for a few key positions. Recruiting budget will be tight - this is the perfect time for you to hone and add more skills to your skillset, and become a jack of all trades.

1. Add new skills!

Here are a few examples you should take up based on your major to increase your chances in job hunting:

a. Design majors should be adding skills in animation, creative writing, video editing, filmmaking, etc.

b. Comm/Marketing majors should be learning more about Sales, CRM, Digital Marketing, etc.

c. Video/Film majors should be adding skills in Video Editing, VFX, etc.

2. For recent grads:

a. Target both junior positions & internships

Many interns get offered full-time positions in the company if they perform well so do not disregard internships and make sure you apply for both junior positions and internships especially during this economic crisis.

b. Freelance Juniors are often afraid of doing freelance work. However, it is also a great method for you to build up your skills + if you are doing an excellent job, you might get hired full-time.

Finally, with COVID-19 severely impacting other industries, it is time for you to consider other fields you can pivot and adapt to. Based on this LA Times article, there are still companies who are hiring and expanding in the following sectors:

  • Animation and media

  • Podcasting

  • Streaming

  • Social Media

  • E-sports/Gaming

  • Online merchants/warehouse jobs

We hope all this information is helpful for you to navigate this crisis and land job opportunities. ArtBound Initiative offers one-on-one career coaching to help you revise your resume and portfolio, learn how to create a professional network from scratch and understand the essential skills recruiters want from their interns or juniors.

-ArtBound Initiative team

Join the ArtBound Initiative Program to receive further one-on-one career coaching from industry advisors. Become part of our global, professional network of creative professionals who will become key players in their own industries and regions. More info at

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