What does it take to break into the creative industries? What do employers in art, design, media and architecture want from graduates? PROFILE will help you understand these key skills, reflect on your experience and competency in each one, and provide a foundation for job applications, CVs, cover letters, speculative applications and professional development.


We asked senior designers and creative directors what they look for in new recruits, and experienced freelancers told us the skills they have had to develop in order to succeed in their field. We found that there is a set of ten fundamental transferable skills that are prized across all creative sectors. PROFILE is your tool for recording your skills and experience and tracking your progress so that when you are applying for jobs you will have a record of your development.


Employers look for all kinds of skills and attributes in graduates, but we found that there are 10 key skills that creative employers particularly value.

Communication comes in many forms and getting your message across clearly and appropriately is crucial, whether face-to-face, in a presentation, via email or phone, or any other means.

Demonstrating a positive attitude isn’t just about being a smiley face or a bubbly personality. It means taking the initiative, showing leadership and determination.

Being flexible and adaptable means that you can use your creative approach in different situations. You are also keen to learn new skills and develop your practice.

Dealing with customers and clients requires excellent interpersonal skills and self-presentation. You need to understand what client wants / needs to deliver good work.

Interpreting a brief requires you to ask and research until the crux of the issue is uncovered. You must be good at developing work which answers in an original way.

To meet deadlines and deliver a creative brief on time you need to be able to plan and manage workloads, work quickly, accurately and within budget. You must be punctual and reliable.

Resilience is the ability bounce back or to keep calm under pressure. If you are resilient, you will be able to see how core creative skills can be adapted to a changing work environment.

Responding to feedback properly means being able to take constructive criticism. You must be able to see the client’s point of view and work with it.

Attention to detail is important in creative occupations so that you can consistently create work of high standard. You will need to meet commercial and professional quality standards and be trusted to work independently without constant checking.

Good teamwork involves listening and responding, presenting ideas and influencing others, building and managing good relationships and valuable networks.

Creativity is about new ideas and innovation which often means doing something where you don’t know the outcome. This requires an element of risk-taking and stepping out of your comfort zone to provide fresh insight and opportunity.

Subject knowledge means the information, understanding and skills specific to your degree. Knowing your subject inside out will enhance your ability to create, problem-solve, and uncover how things work and what can be done.

The Star Card


Everybody brings a unique set of qualities and experiences. Maybe you reached Grade 8 in Piano or black belt in Taekwondo. Perhaps you completed a Duke of Edinburgh or an Arts Award. Maybe your Xbox Gamerscore is in the millions or you won a D&AD Pencil, or your collection was featured at Graduate Fashion Week…


PROFILE Digital is accessible wherever you are, on or off campus, from your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone.


For each of the skills you can give yourself a score out of ten. This should reflect your own assessment of your ability and how confident you feel in that skill. The higher the score, the more evidence you should be able to provide to back it up!


As you progress through your degree you will be taking part in all kinds of activities and projects that develop and advance your skills. Use PROFILE to keep track of these activities so that you have a useful record when you start writing applications and CVs.


NUA students and graduates are always contact the PROFILE team for help. If you'd like to talk about your skills and experience, or need advice with any aspect of careers, freelancing and self-employment, or business start-up, just email careers@nua.ac.uk, or use the contact form on your PROFILE page.