1. Know who you are
There's a reason you chose this profession. Maybe you've been drawing ever since you were able to hold a pencil, maybe the endless possibilities of the internet give you a tingle every time you discover something new. Whatever it is, you made up your mind and you want to be a designer. You're ready to get your hands dirty.
But first you should ask yourself a couple of tough questions. Be completely honest with yourself. What are your best qualities as a designer? What makes you happy? Where should you improve? Is it more likely that you will end up as an all rounder or rather a specialist? As a specialist, what are your options?
The better you know yourself, the better you can present yourself. Employers don't like to take gambles, so be clear and confident, but always honest.
2. Know where you want to go
Don't send your portfolio everywhere and anywhere, do your research. Make a list with agencies that fit your interest and profile. Then try to articulate why they could use you. The better your story, the more confident and competent you will come across. You can be a little bit picky: you are driven and talented and want to work and grow in an environment best suited for you.
3. Stand out
You want to work in communication, so think of how you present yourself. I’m going to assume you approached several agencies, not just ours. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with hedging your bets. But make me feel special. Sell yourself to me. Approach your application like you would a real project. Do you think just sending a resume, cover letter and portfolio pdf or Behance link is enough?
4. Explain yourself
The truth is: everyone can make pretty pictures. And yes, I can see your portfolio is packed with them. But I need context to asses the quality of the work. What was the client's main objective? Under what restrictions were you working? What guidelines did you set for yourself? Your ability to translate ideas into visual concepts is one of your most valuable assets. But don't forget to hone your writing skills to really win me over.
5. Have a vision, but not an ego
Maybe with the help of the four tips above, you got your foot in the door and you landed yourself an traineeship or job as a junior designer. Great! Congratulations! Now the hard part starts. You need to learn that it's all about the work and not about you. That means feedback on your work is not personal and you should therefore not take it personally. You should take it as an opportunity to improve yourself, your skills, and your design.
You need to learn when to rebel and when to conform. The goal is to make the best work possible for the client. Sometimes that means you fight for your ideas, trying to convince the client. And sometimes it means you roll with the punches and do as you're told. Sniffing out when to do what isn't easy at first. You might get some bruises on your ego. That's ok. Because it's not about you. It's about the work. And the work is great.
If these five tips resonate with you, why not take a look at our jobs list?