Are you a designer applying for jobs? I’ve got some tips for you.
As I was writing this post I tried to be as kind as possible and not go on rants, but these are the things I saw over and over again on my almost 1,000 applications for my Junior Designer Position. So, please take this advice as a tough-love hug. Because I’m rooting for you.
Resume, cover letter, portfolio, anything else you send. Put your name on it. People may be downloading these and filing them away and you don’t want to miss out because they don’t know who you are or how to contact you.
I asked all my applicants to fill out a form and not everyone who applied did that. I didn’t review anyone’s application who did not fill out that form. And I didn’t want them to lose out, but I also could deduce that their reading comprehension isn’t at the level I require, so in the end it weeded out a lot of people.
You should never type ’N/A’ on an application. It comes across as lazy and just adding this to your list of three applications you sent to file for unemployment this week. Trust me, I had to do that once upon a time. Also, answer the questions truthfully. If you say you’re 5/5 stars in every program, it sounds fishy. So, even if you’d rank yourself 0/5 in a certain program, do it! I will respect you more.
You’re a designer! Design your resume in InDesign! If I see a resume saved as a jpg or copied and pasted into a Word Doc or is more than one page long…pass. I know I know, resumes are complicated to design, especially if you have a lot you want to mention. But I 100% see designer resumes as a portfolio project. You have to keep it simple. You have to have a hierarchy. You have to spell-check.
Also please include more than a couple of projects. I think a solid minimum number is 6. I do not care if you only have passion projects. Highlight the things that you want to design moving forward and run with it. Don’t feature anything you aren’t proud of. Portfolios make or break your applications, make sure to take your time on them.
I don’t want a zip file of jpgs or an answer akin to ‘I don’t have a website, but I can send you stuff if you want.’ You don’t need a website, there are hosting sites out there like Behance and Dribbble that are free and have great layouts! Use them. And if you are using your own website, make sure it’s not password protected. And if it is, provide the password.
I’m sorry, but I will not be considering photographers, illustrators, industrial designers, or jewelry artists (yep) for this graphic design position.
Meaning, don’t email, DM, connect with the person (especially if they’re a one-person operation) on every social media out there. And only apply once! Who knows how many people are submitting applications or how many emails they’re getting a day. If you submitted…you’re good. If they don’t immediately reach out (or reach out at all), please don’t be offended. I even say in my job description that I’ll be reaching out to the people I want to move forward with. People get busy, and of course, no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, that’s just how it is sometimes.
I guess the gist of what I’m trying to say is, 1. Try. and 2. Don’t make us try too hard. I know how difficult and draining it can be applying to tons of jobs and sometimes never hearing back from anyone. I’ve been there! Just stay strong, bulk up your portfolio if you need to, and KEEP GOING. Someone is going to appreciate you for you and ask you to be part of their team.
In the meantime, wish me luck as I try and narrow down a final selection of candidates for my Junior Designer role! It’s incredibly difficult and I wish I could hire them all and start a mega female creative studio. Maybe in the future…