The creative recruitment industry is extremely competitive, so if you are applying for your first design job then you need to be doing as much as you can to gain a competitive edge. Here are 5 of my very best tips to help you out!
Unfortunately, with more and more people going to University, degrees in design related disciplines are becoming commonplace. Some sort of industrial experience is far more valuable to potential employers as a result. If you’re a graduate or in education you might want to consider internships, or if you’re not sure about University, apprenticeships have become a great alternative route into work. You can learn a lot in even a couple of weeks in a professional environment, and it could help your CV out a lot.
2. Portfolio sites such as Behance
Arguably the most important thing as a designer the proof is in the pudding and you absolutely need a portfolio to have a chance at getting a job. Remember, you don’t need to use real client work, so be creative and don’t let a lack of experience stopping you showcasing your skills. Why not rebrand a household brand, or design a poster for your favourite film? Platforms such as Behance are easy to use and don’t require you to build your own site.
3. Get your CV right
Having been in a hiring position multiple times before, I’ve always taken the opinion that having a plain Word CV is unacceptable when applying for a design job. Use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your design ability whilst still communicating your experience and credentials. Using a recognisable personal style can also show that you have character and that you are not just any other candidate. I’m also always shocked at how many CVs I see haven’t been spellchecked or proof-read properly, so make sure you get the easy stuff right too!
4. Apply for the right jobs
When thinking about which jobs to apply for, assume that the hiring managers are likely to be extremely busy. Blanket emailing out your CV is often quite ineffective when the Creative Director’s inbox has 57 unread emails. A targeted and personal approach is usually much better, so instead, spend a good amount of time on applying for jobs you are particularly interested in. Do your research so that you can tailor your cover letter, CV or portfolio to their requirements, and perhaps even send a physical copy of your application in the post. A phone call can also be helpful, you have the opportunity to put a ‘voice’ to your name, ask any questions you may have about the job and also establish that you are a serious candidate.
5. Impress in the interview
If you’ve got this far, hopefully you’ve already got steps 1-4 right! Before your interview, in my opinion, the bare minimum is that you have done some research on the company. Memorise a few facts about the company so your interviewer knows that you have done your homework. Bringing a physical copy of your portfolio or previous work can also go a very long way to helping you stand out. Finally, I’ve always found that interviews are actually more about making friends than anything else. You’ve probably already convinced the employer that you have the right skill set with your CV and portfolio, they are probably now trying to make sure you are the right fit for their team.
Speaking of which, if you think you have the skills to work in a creative agency, or you're looking to get started with an internship or apprenticeship, take a look at our current vacancies