Design Majors: Get a Job
One of the most stressful and nerve-wracking obstacles that college seniors face is finding their first job after graduation. For designers, this milestone can be particularly daunting, as finding a company that exemplifies both your creative and financial needs isn’t always easy. The following are some tips that can help you narrow the scope of your design job search and find the position that best fits your skill set.
1. Determine What You Like To Design
Though this first step might seem obvious, fresh graduates are often used to filling a “jack of all trades” role, and therefore don’t think to specify what areas of design they excel in. This mindset is helpful as a student, because a wide range of classes can help you determine the areas and aspects of design that suit your personal style best. Professional designers take the field of knowledge they’ve learned in school and hone in on the few key areas that interest them most. Do you enjoy typography and letter design? Do you favor Web work over print? These questions will help you narrow down available positions to ones that will allow you to excel as a designer.
2. Identify The Environment You Work Best In
While most graduates have gained the majority of their experience from the classroom, it is important to determine what environment allows you to create your best work. Do you enjoy working project to project, as a freelancer? Are you someone who works best on a team, building a concept with the input of other designers? Or are you more suited to creating your own works as the primary creative for a company? Additionally, it is also important to determine what sort of company you would enjoy working for. Design firms aren’t the only places offering worthwhile positions to entry-level designers. Expanding the scope of your job search will offer a variety of companies looking for the newest members of their marketing teams.
3. Create Your Portfolio
Your portfolio should reflect your personal design history. Potential employers are interested in the development of your work, so it is important that you pull together pieces that illustrate the story of how you’ve become the designer you are today. Your portfolio is the place for you to showcase the work you enjoy doing the most, which is more than likely also the work you do the best. Be selective in what you include, and remember that quality always wins over quantity!
4. Make Yourself Accessible
Sometimes you don’t need to find your dream design job – sometimes your dream job will find you. Leveraging your professional network will allow others to consider you for positions you might not even be aware of. Recruiters will often look to LinkedIn to pool candidates that offer the skills and experience required to excel in their company, and with a portfolio that showcases the positions you’re looking to find, you’ll eliminate jobs that don’t interest you as much. Many sites, like Behance, offer online portfolio hosting for professional creatives that can easily be accessed with your profile on LinkedIn. Bullhorn’s applicant tracking system (ATS) can link your portfolio within your profile, allowing recruiters to quickly and efficiently submit you as an ideal candidate for your dream job.