I once received an incredible portfolio from an aspiring designer full of clay character sculptures. The work was stupendous and it was clear that he was super talented but the problem was that I run a graphic design studio where there was no need for a clay character sculptor. I advised him to try gaming companies instead or maybe even special effect studios who’ll appreciate this skillset.
It was shame to let turn someone like this away but the problem was that he targeted the wrong company for a job.
A graphic designer comes in many forms such as an art worker, layout artist, typographer or identity designer and once you’ve defined your work discipline, think about what sort of place you would like to work at. After that find out what sort of companies/industries actually use your skillset and then target those companies.
- Games companies hire animators, programmers, character developers, 3D designers and illustrators.
- Magazines hire art workers, typographers, layout designers and illustrators.
- Brand agencies hire identity designers, graphic designers and illustrators.
If you’re not entirely sure on what type of job or discipline you’re looking for then it’s a good idea to do an active search and see what work out there is available.
There are tons of job sites that you can visit to find ordinary jobs like the job centre, monster and reed but the creative industry has little use for them because it’s a specialist field hiring people on very different principles. Dress codes, working hours, offices, skills and requirements are all a little different to your average job or even your executive job and to cater for this creative’s also have their own line of recruitment.
Sites like Coroflot post up creative vacancies and places like Behance are there to show off your work and these types of sites are essential to finding creative work. You’ll find a whole host of creative job agencies looking for talent on every type of basis if you do a little digging and if you dig further you’ll find hidden gems like http://formfiftyfive.com/ who always display new job postings. The creative field tends to have a lot of temp work as roles need to be filled for special occasions so freelancing for designers is a very popular option.
99% of people find a job via a tip off from a friend or member of family and although the design world has its own hidden world you’ll be surprised how many people will have some kind of link to a designer or studio in some way. Ask your friends, family, friends of friends and friends of family if they know any designers or studios or better yet ask if their work place happens to have a design department.
This could be a long shot but it’s a worthy shot of getting your foot through the door.
In order to pull this off you’re going to have to learn to do one more traditional method of getting a job which is selling yourself. As important as your CV and portfolio are it’s also going to be you in person which the employer will be interested in. They want to know if you’re investable as an employee and in reality can make them money as a designer.
To sell yourself follow these rules:
- Be an expert by keeping up with the latest industry changes and projects
- Show enthusiasm
- Show dedication and a hard work ethic
- Show your ability to sell
- Show your ability to communicate
- Be likable
- Be you