Branding Blog

Looking for a design job? Follow these rules!

Written by Dale Berkebile | Thu, Aug 12, 2010

It is funny how often we are approached by people looking for design jobs or internships that are un-prepared to talk serious about their needs or wants.

So often we get someone calling or stopping into our office and saying, I want a job, do you have a job for me?

Ok, so here is the problem. I do not know you. You have not stated what kind of a job you are looking for, you just asked for a job. So does that mean you want to clean my toilets, clean and dust? If so, what do you charge, I'm tired of doing these chores as owner.

The point here is this the first thing you must do is go in or call with a purpose.

Define how you are going to solve the businesses problems, not your unemployment issues.

Tell me what you are looking for and how you can help out - "I'm a designer and I am looking for a design position where I can help you manage your current work flow and help you pitch new business". Not I want a job, do you have a job?

Next, it blows me away how many of the people that don't have a resume, business card or portfolio to show. Very few people get hired on the spot from a cold call or unannounced walk-in. If you are a designer, why do you not have these items ready to go. I had someone walk in the other day and had no business card or resume. How am I supposed to get back in touch with you if I like you? Well, I'm not going to because in my world everything revolves around a business card, they are easy to file and should have all the info to reach you when we make our decision.

So if you are searching for a job and want to just stop by, good for you. This is ballsy and shows initiative. But if you do not have samples of your work, a resume or a business card you lost every chance you just had. Designers if you are unemployed and looking for work design a business card and get them printed even a cheaply printed card from Vista-Print will do great strides to move the conversation forward.

Next think through the process a little more. The first thing a firm is going to ask is "Can I see your work?". If you do not have a digital online portfolio do not even call looking for a job. Create your own website to make the strongest impression, but at very least go to some service like LinkedIn and add their portfolio feature under applications or just create a wordpress blog or something for free to get samples of your work out there.

A resume is important, but your work speaks volumes about you and your style. If you are a new designer and do not have that much experience then fake it. Start grabbing the yellow pages or look online for bad logos, websites or ads and then recreate them and show before and after images in your portfolio. This at least shows you have drive and are a go getter.

Calling a design firm and telling them that you want a design position and that you have a resume and a pdf portfolio or online portfolio will very quickly put you ahead of all the other designers that "want a job".

What these young or inexperienced designers don't realize is they are in business for themselves right now and on 100% commission based sales. If they can't sell themselves they are useless to themselves and to the design firms they call on.

For those job/intern seeking designers, I hope this helps you rethink your job search efforts. By applying the tips mentioned above you will get taken more seriously and get your foot in the door. From there you need to learn how to sell yourself and your work. I'll leave that for another article.

Must have items for job seeking designers:

  • Portfolio - online, pdf or in a case
  • Resume & Cover Letter
  • Business Cards
  • Other Items to help: LinkedIn profile, other social media accounts where you talk about design

Good Luck all you job seeking designers!