How to Get That Design Job You’ve Been Eyeing
It’s that time of year… Seniors in art programs are completing their final design courses, prepping for exhibitions, and most importantly, trying to land a job for after they graduate! So how can a recent grad make his/her application stand out from the hundreds that potential agencies have to look through?
Follow the instructions for applying, and get to know the business a bit.
Every agency usually has specific instructions for the application process. Some agencies may require multiple items, some may only want to see a resumé and a portfolio. Absolutely, always re-read the job posting and submit everything that is required! Remember to do some research on the employer — it helps give an idea of what the business does and what projects you might be involved with.
You’re a designer.. you should have a website!
Everything is online these days. And for the designers who aren’t web development savvy, there are plenty of alternatives for showing off your work online. Some big names include: Behance, Coroflot, Carbonmade, and Cargo Collective. Even Tumblr works well as a portfolio showcase. However, if the job post says “must understand HTML, CSS, etc.”, you must have your own domain and a self-built portfolio (that is fairly current with today’s web standards – if it looks like it did a time-warp to 1995, you should probably do an overhaul). How can an agency hire someone for a web development position if we don’t know what you can do?
Don’t send your résumé as a Word Doc. Don’t do it.
This is a huge no-no. If you went to school for design but can’t take the time to design your resumé in Indesign or Illustrator, that just implies laziness and a lack of creativity. No one is requiring you to have your own branding, however, it is a plus! A well-designed resumé will show off your skills and attention to detail. Also, get rid of the clutter – most reviewers won’t read all of that content, so keep it concise. It’s your portfolio that counts!
Grammar and professionalism are important too…
Every little detail counts. If a design job listing requires a candidate to have a strong attention for detail, spelling is just as important in your application!
Don’t be discouraged.
There are lots of designers out there who are applying to the same jobs that you’ve stumbled upon. When it comes to design, you can only get better. Always strive to improve your skills by getting inspirational ideas from online, and experimenting with new styles, and trends. Learn new tricks and be observant of great design that is already around you. There are plenty of portfolios that are fantastic — however certain positions (such as a Web Design position) may require a certain aesthetic and/or a level of technical proficiency and attention to detail. Don’t give up!
Why am I writing this?
I’ve learned a lot from my past job searches and mistakes. Sending out 100 applications in a week probably won’t land you a job. But, if you send out a few well-thought out applications and take the time to spruce up your portfolio, résumé, and connect with the company you want to work for, you might just land that job you’ve been eyeing. Good luck!