Tips to get a placement in the Design Industry
Published: 16 September, 2018
Can you believe its almost the end of your final year studying? You’ve worked really hard at your studies and you need to start thinking about next steps for the year ahead. Presuming you’re not going to be taking some time out after college, now is a prime time to start taking steps to get that amazing first job in your career as a professional, qualified designer. The thought alone is super exciting but can also be a little daunting. To help you out, here are 5 great tips to help get you placed in the design workplace.
1.Identify what area of your industry you’d like to be in
Oftentimes, newly qualified designers don’t have a clear focus on what areas of their field they’d genuinely be interested in. We can often make the mistake of focusing on getting placed and paid that we don’t pay careful enough attention to the kind of work we actually want to be doing for the next few years. For example, I had an interview with a seriously talented, just-out-of-varsity interior designer who applied at my company for an exhibition design position. When we got chatting I was able to quickly identify that he’d be really great at exhibitions, but would get super bored within a few months and leave as his passion (although unbeknown to him at the time) was in high-end residential design. Your future employers will be able to tell a lot about you within your first interview and the biggest thing they are looking for is an accountable designer who will give them a return on their investment in you. Bottom line, be clear on what your interests are before applying for a job – your passion for the industry will translate in your interview and you’ll have a much higher chance of being placed in the right place, where you can learn and gain experience in a field that actually excites you.
2.Your CV and portfolio need to stand out
You’re a designer, not an accountant. Super word-heavy pages of a boring Word document-typed CV is just not going to cut it. Try get the design of your portfolio and CV to speak the same language, whether it’s a similar layout design or using the same font type, consistency is a great way to show that you consider all aspects of a project and that translates as “I pay close attention to detail in my work” for your potential employer. Keep your information concise and easy to read. Your future employer will likely be looking at 10-20 applicants minimum, make sure you stand out ad that your work looks interesting to read.
3. Research the company well before your interview
First impressions count. When you arrive at your interview, it can be a pretty scary experience and your potential employer will likely know within the first 2 minutes whether they think you’ll fit in with their company. Research the culture of the company before you get to the interview so you can dress appropriately. Some design agencies are pretty casual while others are more formal/ corporate.
4. Know their work
Another really important thing to do is check out some of the projects the company has done that you can refer to in your interview. Your interviewer will ask a lot of questions about yourself and your work, use it as an opportunity to bring up some of their work and how you feel you relate to it. Something along the lines of “I really enjoy bringing a bit of wit into copyrighting, your agency’s work of the new Nando’s ad was one of the main reasons I applied for this job – it was brilliant how you use “x” to convey “y” in the campaign”, will work well in showing the company that you have a genuine interest in the work they do, which is a sure way to impress.
5. Get some experience beforehand
Whether its job shadowing or an unpaid internship over your holidays, it’ll go a long way to have even just a tiny bit of experience in the design industry before you apply for your first job. You’ll learn a bit more jargon and hopefully have a better understanding of the client/supplier relationship dynamic. It also shows initiative, which will your most appealing characteristic in your job application. Trust me, your employer will want to get you on the ground and running independently as soon as possible, as their hands will be quite full with their own work and they need to know that you’ll step up and take accountability in your role.
Keep these in mind when applying for your next job and you’ll be 5 steps ahead of the crowd. Inscape wishes all our students the best of luck!