Many just starting out in graphic design might find it almost impossible to believe that they can actually make a pretty good living by actually doing something that they find interesting and love to do. This is why it is important to get just the right first job in graphic design so that you can launch your career. Whether it is just a summer job or it’s just an internship, it is going to be the first building block toward your success as a graphic designer.
Before you start your search for your first graphic design job there are a few things you should know as well as understand.
- Know yourself, this means know what motivates you and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Know your work, this means you need to know the nature, variety and your style before going out hunting for work.
- You also need to know the job market. Learn about the different corporations, graphic design office and the vast variety of different businesses that hire graphic designers.
You will need to create a portfolio. Make sure that when you do this you pick only your best graphic design work, this would be the work that you are most proud of doing and want to show off and discuss with a prospective employer. If you are still in school and your university offers courses on assembling portfolios and how to market yourself, you definitely should enroll in the class and take advantage of what it has to offer.
The next thing you will need to do is create a resume. Your resume needs to reflect the type of skills and abilities that you have. You need to remember that you should only give facts that an employer wants to know about you along with the basics such as your address and phone number. You may also want to design your own stationery and business cards. This will provide you with yet another opportunity to show off your graphic design skills.
Now you are going to need to figure out where you would actually like to work. Do you want to work for a graphic design office, a corporation or for an individual? Often your school will have job leads available to students so that it makes it a little easier to get started. If you are considering a certain geographic area that you would like to work in then start looking for help wanted listings for that area.
Most prospective employers these days prefer to receive resumes with a short letter before they will commit to interviews. Make sure that the letter establishes your interest in a certain job opening or specialty the company has. The letter should give them a sense of who you are. After you have handed in your letter and resume it is always a good idea to follow it up with a phone call a few days later and see if you can arrange for an appointment to meet with someone. Be persistent but be polite when you are.
If you do get an interview, remember, the first interview is always the most nerve racking so it is always a good idea to have mock interviews set up with family or friends to get practice and to get their feedback.
Once you are at the interview, remember to breathe and breathe normally. Also it is important that you ask about the company such as its history and what kind of projects they work on. Never go on and on about yourself, you need to show them you have a sincere interest in their company and what they do. A good interview is one where there is dialogue between people who are actually sharing information and then finding some common ground.
Once the interview is over make sure that you record all of the impressions you got from the interview and make sure you follow up with a thank you note to show them how much you appreciated them taking the time to interview you. Being courteous in one way to help an interviewer remember you.
Remember, that finding your first graphic design job means that you need to match your own creativity and skill with the real needs of the company. You also need to remember that it is important to communicate well, to follow up after the interview and to say thank you.