Put yourself out there
For most of us, landing a job in design didn’t just happen. In our field, there is an abundance of applicants and a minimal number of openings. This means that you’re going to have to do everything you can to even get noticed. If you’re getting ready to take the plunge into the frigid waters of the design job market, following these guidelines will help you to get noticed.
One of the best pieces of advice we can give you; never call a studio to ask if they’re hiring. It’s far too easy for them to say no, which immediately closes the door. The key to getting your foot in the door is asking for a studio tour. There’s usually someone at an office that can take a few minutes to show you around. This gives you an opportunity to not only meet people, but see if it’s actually a place you would want to work. Just because there isn’t a open position posted doesn’t mean there’s nothing available. Visiting a studio is an opportunity to show that you have the talent, personality, and passion to succeed as a designer.
Ask for feedback.
When you call a studio to set up a tour, make sure you ask if they have time to give you some portfolio feedback. If there’s time in their schedule, odds are they’ll be happy to look at your book. Designers appreciate it when you make it clear that you’re looking for feedback and not just praise. Getting feedback allows you to revisit the studio with suggested corrections made to your portfolio. This shows a potential employer that you are willing to learn from them and that you trust their judgment as a design professional. You may not agree with everything they say, but let’s face it, they’re probably right. If you’re really concerned with a suggestion, get a second opinion or ask one of your design professors.
Create an online presence.
Leave behinds are an outdated way of keeping your work in the hands of a potential employers. The Internet is by far the best way to share your work. An online portfolio can be viewed by potential employers and shared around the community, creating opportunities you may not have even known existed. It would be ideal if you designed and developed your own website to showcase your work, but it’s ok if you don’t know code. There are several online resources that allow you to create a clean web presence.
Go to events.
Attending events is a great way to meet potential employers. It shows everyone that you’re interested in what’s going on in the design community. AIGA Nebraska has several events every year including Me, Myself & Design (the annual student event) and internationally-recognized speakers. AIGA isn’t the only show in town. Art shows, PechaKucha night and daOMA events are also great opportunities to meet designers in the area.