Are you a budding designer to be? I vividly remembering being one! Despite being determined and willing to hustle, landing my first job was not an easy task. Looking back I wish I had a mentor give me some simple tips, that may have made it easier to succeed. Here are those tips I wish I knew then.
- Design your resume, but don’t overdo it with icons and personal interests. HR and talent recruiters still like to see a simple resume that they can easily read, which showcases your job experiences, skills and education.
- Remove the dates from your resume when starting out. HR and art directors don’t need to know when you graduated, or how green you are. Hook them with a solid resume and win them over in an interview.
- Have an online portfolio to showcase your work and skills. Explain the brief and problem for each example, describing the creative process you followed to find a solution. Also highlight any challenges you faced, and what you did to overcome them.
- Ask for informational interviews. Take art and creative directors out for coffee or a meal. Ask them about how they got started, what they love about their current job or past roles. The more you can learn about the industry the better. You can also ask if they have openings, or if they know of someone who might. Start building a network and try to find referrals to openings.
- Dress to impress. Look the part of the job you want, and don’t forget to smile! Looking professional and composed makes a very good impression.
- Send a handwritten thank you card. After any interview or informational meeting (such as tip 4), take the time to write a note thanking them for their time. This personal touch goes a long way!
- Look up the local ad or design awards. Find the art or marketing director who won on LinkedIn, and reach out to them. Reference the award when you contact them, and let them know why you liked the piece or how it inspired you. This shows you are willing to do your research and go the extra mile.
- Follow up. After meetings and interviews, always follow up. If possible or appropriate, explain how you would add value to their team, referencing points you discussed previously.