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Podcast: Season 1, Episode 7 Transcript (Daniel, Creative Designer at TikTok)

35 minute read

In Episode 7 of the THIS IS HOW podcast from Season 1, we spoke to Daniel who works as a Creative Designer for TikTok. You can listen to the episode here but for those who fancy a read, or might be hard of hearing, the full transcript is below.

Intro: You’re locked into THIS IS HOW, the podcast where we go behind the scenes to uncover the job roles shaping in most influential brands and companies and culture. For free content, resources and advice to kickstart your dream career, as well as insider tips direct from our podcast guests and industry experts, head to our website as thisishow.uk. 

Bwalya: My name is Bwalya, I’m a freelance journalist and editor, the founder of women’s basketball collective called The Happy Gazelles, and occasionally I DJ too. 

Alex: My name’s Alex and I’m a creative director and copywriter working in sportswear and fashion. Having founded publications, The Daily Street and Crepe City Magazine.

Bwalya: This episode has been recorded over video-call during the lockdown. So please excuse any bumps background noise because it feels that way sometimes. So on today’s episode will be meeting Daniel Obichukwu, who works as a Creative Designer at social media phenomenon, TikTok.  Applause in the studio for Daniel.

Alex: Welcome (clapping)

Bwalya: Daniel!

Daniel: Yo, what’s good?

Alex: Talk us through exactly what that title means, creative designer?

Daniel: Yeah, that’s that’s a great question. Um, when I applied for the job, like I was looking at it, I was like creative designer, that sounds wicked, like because most of the time I was just seeing, like, graphic designer, animation designer, 3D designer. I’m like I want to just design, I don’t want to be put in a box. And then I saw creative designer and I was like “oh, this sounds wicked, it sounds cool” and then when I got there, I found that I was the only one, well the only one in the in the UK anyway. So they were like, “yeah we don’t really know what it means either, but it means whatever you want it to mean”. So I just thought, all right, sick! So I work in the business marketing function so in terms of business marketing, I’m the only creative designer at the moment in the EU team, but we are hiring. So yeah, if this if this comes out in time, check out careers.tiktokcom. Nice little plug there. 

Alex: Nice plug. Can you talk us through like what your job actually involves, what kind of stuff you do in at TikTok as a designer? 

Daniel: It’s a lot of variety to be honest, which is fun. Like because I work in the business marketing function like we work with a lot of brands. So it’s like how brands appear and run our ads and like collaborations that we do like, for example, back in February, we done a collaboration with Converse because they were releasing a new sneaker so, they had an event in East London and we had like a section in the event where we were just like customising trainers with some creators that are famous on TikTok and just kind of doing, just kind of representing our brand in the way that we come across in terms of being creative. So for that I was doing like a lot of video editing and all that kind of stuff, but other times it could be like helping out with presentations in terms of pitches to brands. Other times it could be like helping out with, helping with like how ads are going to appear on our app in terms of like mock ups or like branded effects and stuff like that. So, yeah, there’s a lot of variety, to be honest. And then and then the odd time I get to help with merch as well, so that’s cool.

Bwalya: So break down your day to day for us, Daniel?

Daniel: Well we have we have two versions. We have the pre-Covid version and post-Covid version. Pre-Covid it would be like coming into the office, kind of settling down, catching up on like any messages that might have come overnight or late, because obviously we’re a global company, so you might get messages from LA, might get messages from New York and obviously time differences and stuff. So catching up on any messages and then just checking your calendar to see what meetings you’ve got. I’d say that in all the jobs that I’ve worked, this is the most meeting-like, every job that I’ve ever had. Like, yeah, meetings, you need to know how to – like have a meeting.

Bwalya: So you go through a lot of meetings, you’re interacting with people, then your day to day is, I guess, formulating ideas. 

Daniel: So, yeah, formulating ideas, drafting up designs, coming up with finals and then liaising with all the people that I need to liaise with to make sure it gets done and the final product’s out there and all of that works. So for example, when I was talking about branded effects, like if a brand wants to run a branded effect on our app, they will come talk to us, we will have, like some concepts drafted up and then they’ll go through to the branded effects team and they’ll get cracking on that. 

Bwalya: How many people are you liaising with and do you speak to them in their particular language?

Daniel: As a creative designer, see this is where they catch you out right, because as a creative designer, you’re expected to really have input and be able to do everything creative. So, like, I do a lot of video-editing and also help with like the liaising with agencies when it comes to building websites and all that kind of stuff. I’m lucky enough I’ve got a lot of friends in those fields, so when I don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s a quick WhatsApp message. “Yo bruv, can you like explain this to me quickly?” Yeah, and then I sound smart! But in terms of like liaising with, there’s so many different people to liaise with, like there’s people in HR you need to liaise with, there is different agencies you need to liaise with, creative directors, web designers, project managers, creators as well… 

Alex: This is it’s definitely not a role where you’re like the guy in the corner designing things, not talking to anyone.

Daniel: Nah, nah!

Alex: So there’s a lot like you’re interacting with a lot of different teams, even different countries. 

Bwalya: How many tech languages are you fluent in? Yeah, it’s like if you’re talking to, like a web developer, are you talking and coding? If you then have to go to the video person, are you then doing like, “oh, this is how to do it in an edit suite”, etc?

Daniel: You need to know at least your basic packages like Photoshop, Illustrator, if you’ve got experience in After Effects and Premiere Pro, like animation, video-editing and like, like special and visual effects – great. But I’d say Photoshop and Illustrator are the very basic. In terms of like web design or UX design and stuff, I’d say learn programmes like Sketch, Principle, let me think, obviously I’ve got a 3D background, o in terms of that, it’s like Maya, 3ds Max…

Alex: I’m going to ask the all important question now, though, which of these software is free? Well, if someone’s going to say, because I know for a fact Adobe Creative Suite is anything but free because that bill comes out every year and it stinks. So where can, people that are like “you know what, this sounds interesting, I want to go and check out, maybe learn some of these softwares, get the basics styled”. How can they do that? Which way should they start? 

Daniel: Great question. In terms of free software, if you’re in education, there’s a lot of educational licenses that you can definitely access. Outside…

Alex: Including Adobe Creative Suite, right? I think it’s a lot cheaper if you’re a student…

Daniel: Significantly cheaper and obviously, if your uni’s got it then there’s times where you can get that licence like a roaming licence from your university, so that’s great. In terms of free alternatives, I don’t know the names off the top of my head, but I’m sure it’s a quick Google search for free alternatives.

Alex: It’s also worth pointing out at this point, I think that a lot of these software companies off the back of COVID have given away like three month free trials on all this kind of stuff, so a bit of digging and you can find, at least for a couple of months, you could get learning while you’ve got that spare time and get on these programmes. 

Bwalya: If Daniel does think of those links later, he can pass them on to us and those links will be available at thisihow.uk and you can find out more about the software Daniel just mentioned, as well as about the software that Alex just mentioned that will give you the relevant programmes that you can use – and a three-month free trial is a really great way to start a portfolio and within that three months, even if you don’t get, or realise the full version of what your portfolio to look like, if anything, it’s just a really great jump up start.  So for more information about these programmes, go to thisishow.uk.

Alex: Talk to us about what it’s like working at TikTok specifically and a company that is set to be the kind of new Instagram, right at the forefront of everything, and creating a lot of change. 

Daniel: Yeah. What is it like? It is fast paced, it is very interesting, it’s very exciting. Everyone is like a friend, like everyone is super cool and everyone’s got like their own, like interesting, like niches and stuff, and you learn about like different cultures, you learn about different interests and all that kind of stuff. And then on top of that, you have the perks and benefits of working at the company. 

Bwalya: So yeah, what are some of the perks and benefits of working at the company?

Daniel: Um, we might get free lunch, but you didn’t hear that from me. 

Alex: There’s a rumour you get free lunch at TikTok.

Daniel: That like that was high key, like, oh my gosh, when I found that out I was like, yeah, you don’t need to pay me. 

Bwalya: I’ll take the largest…

Daniel: And just like a variety of other stuff, like we have like team social building events, like different like internal events, what else…

Bwalya: Your app is like based from a music app called Music Fee, right? It started as a music-based app. I’m guessing that music culture is really important to the kind of environment of TikTok. Do you have music playing all the time or is it no? 

Daniel: Yeah, in terms of music as it is, it’s a very big part of our app and it’s a very big part of our culture and what we do, not just music, but like creativity in general. And in terms of like the office, I feel like, you know, because because we’re growing at a moment, like there’s just different aspects that are just building. And so, like, sometimes you have like music playing and sometimes, sometimes you have artists and celebrities walking through the office because they’re being shown around… 

Bwalya: What’s the T if you can’t break an NDA?

Alex: They come in for that free lunch!

Bwalya: Who…?

Daniel: A few football players have come through, a couple, you know, Netflix stars and that have come through as well. It’s just a vibe like you’d think in terms of like a workplace, you’d be like, oh, come in, put my bag down, look at my laptop, type, type, type, for like nine hours a day, then go home like – it’s not that at all, it’s very modern. 

Alex: So creative designer is fluid, right? I guess that’s what attracted you to the role from the sounds of things, it’s not specifically one thing. 

Daniel: Yeah, I’m very much that kind of person that way inclined, at uni I studied computer animation and visual effects and I’ve done art since I was a kid and then graphic design, like I self-taught from secondary school. So like, I’m very much someone that wants to have input on everything rather than just being “I can do typography” or “I can do motion”. I always planned to go into computing so initially I was going to go the computer science route things so like I always done IT when I was in school, done IT when I was in college, also I had like art on the side just to keep my sanity because like I, you know, I was creative, had so I was just like, yeah, I can’t just stare at numbers all day. So yeah then I remember when I was in my final year of college and looking at the courses around the country at different universities, I remember I had literally a list of ten computer science courses, and luckily enough, I’ve got three older siblings, two older sisters, an older brother, and my older sister was like, yeah, make sure you’re doing a course where you can experience what you wanna do, at uni so you know whether that’s what you wanna do. So luckily enough on my course I was doing a bit of computer science for one of the modules and it let me know very quickly I was not a computer scientist at all! (laughs) So yeah I dropped that and was like nah I don’t wanna do that, this is not my thing. It’s not what I considered fun or a challenge. So I was just scanning and I still wanted to do something involving computers and something that’s technical but at the same time I wanted there to be a creative element to it and then luckily enough I know what kind of industries I wanted to work in – I wanted to work in film or games so I was just like what kind of rings those bells. I was just looking at game design and then I found computer animation and visual effects up in Leeds and though this looks sick, went for an open day, and saw some of the students that were there, saw some of their work, and I was like – yeah this is me, this is what I wanna do. And yeah, that’s how that’s how I got into that. 

Alex: So you kind of worked backwards from where you wanted to be in terms of what industry, you might not know exactly what you wanted to do in it, but you knew that would be interesting to you and you kind of love that. And then you looked backwards in terms of what jobs kind of spoke to you and your skillset and your passions.

Daniel: Yup – yeah yeah yeah.

Alex: Do you need education, formal education for a job like this, or can you just kind of like find yourself a cheap version of the software we were talking about earlier and get familiar with it and then kind of make a portfolio or do you need to come with a degree?

Daniel: Do you know what, it’s a great question and there’s two sides to that, I’d say in terms of being a designer, first and foremost, the most important thing you need is a body of work and a solid body of work, like having a strong portfolio can open doors that even having a first in your degree won’t open, do you know what I mean? So definitely having a strong body of work and making sure that it hits the notes that need to be hit and it demonstrates the employable skills that you have – that’s great. Obviously if you do have some form of education that’s also great, too but a lot of these companies nowadays are realising that you know, not everyone goes to university, not everyone has, you know, the ability to go to university or the accessibility and stuff like that – so they’re offering whether that’s apprenticeships or entry-level roles where they kind of grow your skills or internships as well. Like there’s all these other entry routes into the working world and into other industries so I’d say definitely check that out before you say “oh, I need a degree”. But yeah, there’s definitely a whole, a whole load of options that are available to you, but I’d say a strong, strong portfolio – if you can look at your portfolio and be like “wow”, then, yeah send that over. 

Alex: All right, so there’s an element of like make it catchy. I also heard some good advice recently about you’ve got to remember, the portfolio needs to showcase your best work, not all of your work. Also what it does need to showcase is like that broad range of your skillset to make sure that you’ve got something in there for every skill you want to show off. And like maybe a bit of information about what you did there and why you’re putting that in there, but don’t worry too much about whether that’s something you did at school or at uni or something you did for a client that’s clouty or something you did off your own back as a self-initiated project – it’s the quality of work you’re putting in there and then the variation of skills you’re showcasing that’s the most important thing. 

Bwalya: If you’re listening to this and you’re still like “oh, how do I do all of these kind of things?” Like maybe incorporate some of those digital skills that you’ve heard Daniel say that he employs in his job and implement them into a portfolio that speaks to the culture and the climate of TikTok. I mean, do you have to actually also I think that’s something that people also forget – remembering the audience. And if the audience is TikTok, what would you speak to as the culture of TikTok? What, what defines this, like sensational platform? 

Daniel: Yeah, making sure you’re, you’re targeting the right audience with your portfolio and with your CV is critical because, you know, when we we’re reviewing this stuff, we’re looking for those key points because, you know, we’re reviewing like 50 applications a day or something like that, you need to make sure that those key points stand up, stand above the rest, do you know what I mean? And they really hit those notes, so yeah, and don’t be afraid to, like personal projects trust me they are sick because they have the ability to kind of allow you to demonstrate things that clients or jobs don’t allow you to demonstrate so don’t be afraid to throw those in there too. 

Alex: And the fact that his personal is self-initiated is actually more impressive, don’t undermine, do you know what I mean? So would you recommend kind of tweaking your portfolio depending on who you’re sending it to? 

Daniel: Oh, definitely. Like if you I don’t know worked in games design, don’t send us games design stuff like level design – unless, unless we’re hiring for games design role like, then of course, but you know you’ve got to make sure that you’re tailoring the stuff that you’re sending over your portfolio to that audience because sometimes it will just make you look unprofessional and make you look unprepared and like you’re just kind of firing wildly into, into the unemployed chasm that is indeed or, do you know what I mean? So…

Bwalya: Oh my god, Indeed! Triggered – so triggered! 

Alex: So if people are listening to you, you went the education route, the uni route, right? And there’s definitely going to be a big bunch of people listening who like “uh yeah OK, I look at uni and I look at the price tag that it comes with and nah I’m all right”. What about like, informal education in your industry? Have you done any of that? Have you done anything outside of that norm like or more traditional education system? And what would you recommend there for people? 

Daniel: Well, we can we can have a whole separate episode on education and informal education because like my, my route at uni wasn’t typical I don’t feel. I feel like, you know, a lot of people go to uni, they study books and they talk to lecturers and all that kind of stuff. For a lot of us on my course, anyway, it was a lot more digital like we were on forums, we were watching YouTube. Oh, my gosh my degree should say Daniel YouTube Obichukwu/YouTube because that helped me so many times! But yeah, like YouTube and like other learning resources, online learning resources were fundamental for me getting my degree and to be honest, like if I was more clued up when I was younger, I probably would have gone that route of things because first of all, in terms of financially, it is waaaay better… (laughing)

Alex: (laughing) I was about to say!

Bwalya: Do you wanna hit that way again?! (laughing)

Daniel: Oh, my gosh…

Alex: That’s got to be a sting, right? Paying all that money and you’re basically on YouTube?!

Daniel: Mate like, there’s so many things that stung me during my three-year course! Yeah, there’s a lot. But yeah, I would definitely say, like, look at the alternatives and make sure that you’re actually like if you know what you wanna do, like what career or like industry you want to get into, it doesn’t hurt to look at, you know, job postings and see what they’re looking for, see what they’re asking for. Are they asking for a degree? Do they give you the option to educate you whilst you know you work there? If someone could have paid for my education whilst I worked two birds, one stone…

Alex: Yeah, yeah. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that, like, if you are looking at job boards and you’re seeing these crazy demands, which is what I see from, from companies trying to get people in, even like low to medium job roles and then demanding like five years experience in exactly the same job role and you think, “well, how am I going to get into this?” It is worth saying that as much as these things are really detailed and written out and they sound like it’s written in stone, it’s not at the end of the day, if you’ve got a portfolio with really good work that shows you can do it, they’ll throw that whole list of requirements in the bin and give you an interview and change it.

Bwalya: That’s so true.

Alex: So don’t get put off by that. And there’s plenty of resources at thisishow.uk, you can get on there and start like tooling up and learning new skills and adding stuff to that portfolio. So there’s always a different route in. 

Bwalya: How did you get hired? What was your process in entering TikTok? 

Daniel: Yeah, so standard really. Previously I was working at Sony and I was coming to the end of that contract and I was just like, you know what, well, this is kind of a spoiler for further on in the episode, but I used to work in TV. So I was like, yeah, I just want to kind of change career paths and I was interested in doing something different. The tech industry, like I had a few friends in tech that made it sound really super interesting. So I was like, you know, really excited to see what they have to offer. And I saw TikTok had a job posting, I think it was on LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the best place for jobs by the way, this is another.. But this isn’t a selfish plug innit, so yeah LinkedIn holler at your boy.

Bwalya: What did people tell you about tech that made you so interested to move into more of the tech side? 

Daniel: Yeah, so in terms of moving from TV into tech, it was more because of, like, for me, TV was something, it was a bucket list thing right. And I was like yeah, cool, I want to do it, I want to see how it is and all that kind of stuff. And it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, and there wasn’t a lot of autonomy and there wasn’t a lot of – don’t get me wrong, the TV industry is great for a lot of other things, though, like it’s a total vibe – but for me, I was just like, you know what, I want to be able to impact things in a way where it wasn’t just my job role as a graphic designer, and that’s all I’m expected to do. So when I was talking to my friends who are in tech, like they were saying, yeah, like, yeah, you do have your job role but you can do a lot of different other things as well, especially depending on what company you’re at. Obviously, TikTok is still going from that start-up phase to like a medium to large size company so there’s a lot more room to kind of grind out what you want your job to be and just have a lot more input and impact on the business and for me that was like, all tick boxes. I was just like, yeah, like I want to be able to impact things more than just like creating sick designs and cool animations and stuff.  So yeah, that’s what kind of drove me over here.

Bwalya: Was it an easy transition to make, were there like transferable skills from like TV and music that you were like, “oh, I work at Sony, but that really works for tech, I can do that”? Or did you have to re-train? 

Daniel: No, I think you know what, I think fundamental skills are the necessary basis for any kind of job or craft that you want to do. There’s always going to be transferable skills as long as you’ve got the fundamentals down, so, like for me, you know, fundamentals in terms of like film, design and animation is like composition, timing, like shape theory, colour theory, all kind of stuff, and being able to understand those things and know when to kind of use it and how to use it and how to use it well, so I’d say that was definitely a lot of transferable skills, it wasn’t a thing where I got here and I was like “oh my gosh, I have no clue how to do any of this”, it was very similar, to be honest, it was very similar in terms of what I’ve had to do on my day to day and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I’d say as long as you’re a designer and you’ve got that kind of experience and you can display that for your work, you shouldn’t be worried about transferring into a different industry. 

Bwalya: Speaking of that particular industry, like working in TV and music and then moving into tech, a lot of those industries face questions about diversity and how much room there is for a career advancement in terms of diversity. What would you say about the diversity within those things? 

Daniel: Yeah, I’d say diversity is definitely a thing that is being worked on across all industries. Like I’d say, I’ve been lucky enough to be like part of some diverse workforces in terms of, you know, Black people, Asian people, other minorities and women. Like in terms of TV, I felt like that was well-represented in terms of working with a variety of women, like on my team, I’d say in terms of the teams I’ve worked in TV, like it’s always been near enough, like 50-50 or like 40-60 or something like that.

Bwalya: Oh, that’s so nice to hear.

Daniel: Yeah. And to be honest, at TikTok, like in, in our business function, it is similar, if not more like that. There are so many women and so many great women on our teams that are just doing great things and like it’s incredible. And then in terms of like Black employees and stuff, yeah, like I remember my first day, I walked in, sat down, I was expecting, right cool, I’m going to meet a couple of guys and, you know, be like, you know, feeling everyone out and then I sat opposite a Nigerian girl, gig up Ora by the way, I sat opposite her and I was like, this is, this is a first, like, cool like! And I felt more comfortable, I felt more at home because I was just like, yeah, you know what, there’s people here that are like me, got similar understandings to me and similar backgrounds and that kind of just continued, like we had more people joining the company of diverse backgrounds and it’s incredible, it’s wicked. But at the same time, I think there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done because it’s not just about being able to hire people into early-career roles or like mid-level roles, but it’s about having those people in senior positions and in leadership roles and seeing their impact and what they do. But don’t get me wrong, I’ve got, like my manager, big up Trevor Johnson, by the way, yeah he came over from Insta and he’s now our manager at TikTok and like he’s sick at what he does, like, absolutely amazing and he’s a Black man as well. So this is something that I definitely think TikTok have implemented into their hiring strategy and they’ve definitely thought about it, but I just think there’s a there’s a lot more room to grow as an industry, as a society, really.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah, for sure, but’s really positive to hear that a company like TikTok are being really active on it.

Bwalya: If you’re listening in and in terms of like what working in tech is like and you’re Black or a person of colour or women or you’re in any kind of the marginalised groups and are finding it difficult to enter into those career positions, head over to thisishow.uk and we’ll have some like, tangible links for you to click on and figure out any kind of diversity paths to go through. And like what Daniel just mentioned, not for those kind of things that are just either assistant roles, but in places where you can actually apply for things as a manager, as a leader of a team, because there are people who are more than qualified and if your portfolio speaks to that, we will provide you all of the kind of resources that you need on thisishow.uk in order to be able to get hold of those companies and apply for those roles. But that’s really cool, especially as TikTok has a diverse range of people who are accessing the platform, it’s really good to see that they’re reflecting that within their business model because the platform itself is exciting and interesting because every like 15 seconds you’re introduced to an absolutely new and different character than the last one. I’ve spent hours on it before and just like watched a hundred videos! (laughs)

Alex: I had to step off the app for a while! (laughs)

Bwalya: Yeah me too, right. (laughs)

Alex: My productivity was dropping hard!

Bwalya: Then suddenly I’m like, should I do this dance? Maybe I’m really good at this dance and I never even knew I should do it.

Alex: You should, you definitely should to be fair! (laughs)

Bwalya: After being at university, figuring out where you want to be, how do you transition from education into work?

Daniel: I’d say in terms of looking for jobs and getting jobs, networks are important, like you should, you should stay in contact with people that you were at uni, you should stay in contact with people that you’ve met at careers fairs, and, you know, even if it was a party like and, you know, you met some guy who’s doing something at a company that you find is cool, like ask for his Insta, ask for his LinkedIn, like keep that contact. Because I’d say networks are what was severely important for me, getting into like my jobs. But, yeah, talking to people, going into events and like conventions and stuff like, that was key for me because like I started going to talks when I was in uni and like talking to people who were in the industry that I was trying to get into and seeing what I needed and being able to, I even used it in my final year when I had to get like real industry feedback about some of the work that I’d done and I talked to a guy who was like the head of animation for like one of the biggest VFX companies in London at the time and that was all because I went to a talk and I said to him, “oh can I get your email?” So I’d say networks are highly important and then when you get in the door and you get the opportunity, just ask questions like if you feel like you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask, at the end of the day, you are junior or you’re entry-level, they’re not expecting you to know everything. And don’t be afraid to also, put your input in on things as well, like there was times when I first started and I was like, oh, surely we should do this, this way but I didn’t think to say it because I was like, oh, you know, I’m the junior here, everyone else knows what they’re doing, they’ve been on tons of productions and worked on tons of TV shows and films and stuff and then, you know, slowly worked out that it was – I was correct. So, you know, don’t be afraid to kind of, you know, have a voice and say your opinions about things and also ask, definitely ask about, you know, where the company see you heading, what’s their trajectory for your career or for you once you’re in the role.

Bwalya: Is expensive to go to these talks?

Daniel: No, a lot of them are free – a lot of them are free, run by different organisations.

Bwalya: How did you find out about those?

Daniel: Google, Google is your best friend, yeah man google anyhing. 

Bwalya: So would you just be like design industry talks? 

Daniel: Yeah, design industry talks London, 3D talks or mentorships or conventions or programmes or just even, like, look on Twitter and see who’s talking about it. 

Bwalya: And that’s a really good tip. We don’t really go to talks as much anymore, I don’t see them, like I mean, there are like talks for everything, but in terms of like industry talks that are like job things and mentorship things, I think those are maybe something that are a little bit underused as a tool and people should really go access those because those are really good places to meet people. And also when you’re in like some of these talks, like to add to it, I know that I’ve been at talks before and people have asked me questions after like it’s fine, I’m happy to be asked questions after, like if you want my email, I’m totally going to give it to you and sometimes as well, if you are emailing these people, sometimes they’re busy, you can email them once and they miss it – email again, because I think that is also showing that your skill and passion is real because you’re willing to keep going for it, so if there are any, I like that networking thing. Instagram was a good tip, adding people on Instagram because your Instagram can slowly also act as your portfolio guys. I think a lot of employers do look at what you’re up to in general and it’s an underused thing in terms of like thinking about how you’re presenting yourself in your career. I think maybe now people are starting to clock onto that with a lot of private Instas, shout out, hold tight all my people that got a finsta, like it is a really good way for employees to see how you’re applying what digital skills in your real life, they often do check these things out, so, yeah, that’s a really good tip. 

Alex: I think this might be a good time to start going through your mini CV. So for those who are tuning in for the first time, each of our guests get given a little mini CV that we set up for them to fill out – nothing serious, nothing to worry about, and then we get to go for it for the first time, live on air… Which is what we’ll do now and we’ll see if Daniel gets the job. We need like a “Da, da da…” job Intro! Here we go. Name: Daniel Obichukwu… Don’t worry I’m going to read it back to you! No pressure. No pressure. All right. That’s, that’s good we’re good there. Socials: Jaktheartist. Yeah? J-A-K, The Artist. What we talking here – Instagram and TikTok?

Daniel: Instagram and TikTok, in fact.

Alex: Nice – you got the handle on both!

Daniel: You know, I mean, branding and that!

Bwalya: Branding and that! (laughs) Come on.

Alex: Yeah got continuity, man! It’s key!

Alex: Job: Creative designer. We think we’ve got a foundation of what that does now?

Daniel: Yeah.

Bwalya: Yeah.

Alex: Good, excellent! Company: TikTok. Right at the forefront. All right, let’s get into the juice… Career highlight: Worked on a TV show that was nominated for a BAFTA. 

Bwalya: Wow – coming in strong!

Alex: Nice that’s a clouty…

Bwalya: That’s definitely raised our eyebrows.

Alex: Yeah, I’m intrigued. I’m intrigued!

Bwalya: Tell us more!

Alex: What was the show? 

Daniel: Um, the show was an animated kid’s show called Floogals, and that was my first job in the industry! Yeah – big up Floogals, man everyday!

Bwalya: BAFTA-nominated. That’s a really big deal. 

Alex: That’s mad, not many people can claim that.

Bwalya: I know, exactly, that’s very cool. 

Alex: That was a strong one for the portfolio.

Bwalya: I’m impressed. All right.

Alex: Sick. Right, let’s bring it down a note then. Best failure: Doing up karaoke at the work Xmas party. As if I read out Xmas as well – Christmas.

Bwalya: What song did you choose?

Alex: How, how, how was this a failure?

Daniel: It was terrible, man! (laughs)

Alex: How bad? What happened?

Bwalya: Whats was your song?!

Daniel: I was, I was slightly liquored up! So, you know, it was like.

Bwalya: Slightly at the Christmas party! (laughs)

Daniel: It was a performance – you had to be there. You had to be there! (laughs)

Bwalya: You need to tell me the song otherwise we’re not moving on.

Daniel: I can’t remember what it was. It was a Stevie Wonder song, was it a Stevie Wonder song?

Bwalya: Wow!

Daniel: Some old Lionel Richie..

Alex: Sick man!

Bwalya: Both those guys really trying to hit that falsetto! Cool.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bwalya: We like it to aim high – it’s still a good best failure, you were aiming high – all puns intended! (laughs)

Alex: It was all about the commitment.

Daniel: Just remember everything gets recorded at Christmas parties!

Alex: All right, last questions to wrap it up. Why should we hire you? And we’ve got here, “what I lack in creativity…” I mean, for starters, I don’t think you probably lack anything in creativity if you’re a creative designer! “…I make up for with supreme level banter!” 

Bwalya: You sound like the perfect TikTok employee! (laughs)

Daniel: I hope so! (laughs)

Alex: Like “you know where I reckon you might be able to get a job? TikTok!” (laughs) Have you tried?

Bwalya: Have you tried TikTok? Just throwing this out there! (laughs) Well, thank you so much. You’ve definitely got the job! It’s been wonderful talking to you.

Alex: It’s been really, really good.

Bwalya: I mean, to summarise all those learnings, I think that what’s really stuck out for myself and Alex included, is that you’re an all-rounder, and that means liaising with everyone from different levels, be they in tech or HR, so if you’re interested in this job, like a good communicator is most definitely important. 

Alex: Yeah, this is a great job role for people that are interested in more than just one thing as a creative. People often kind of see the whole design thing and, and think of it as like graphic design or whatever but actually, everything to a degree creatively is designed and if that is you and you’ve got an interest in kind of loads of stuff and you find it hard to focus on one kind of discipline, this could be good for you. Just go and explore all those avenues, whether that’s 3D animation, graphic design, print or whatever, and just, yeah, get on THIS IS HOW, learn those skills and start building your portfolio. 

Daniel: You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW, created by Nominet and Livity. Your essential resource for finding a path into digital careers at the companies you love, head over to our website at thisishow.uk to listen to more episodes, find the industry role most suited to you and discover free training to help you get the job you want.

Alex: Solid!

Bwalya: Perfect! Fab! That contract is signed thank you!

Bwalya: Yeah, that was wicked!