Looking for your ideal design job, but not even getting called back for an interview?
Getting in the door can be tough, but here are 10 ways to improve your job prospects… from an employers’ point of view… ranging from tightening up your CV to dressing the part to ‘doing your homework’.
Tip 1: Polish your CV
Start with a profile / mission statement, capture your ‘essence’ in that initial paragraph and sell yourself. Name-check clients and brands you have worked on and always list your employment in reverse order, current job first. Don’t say “you work well individually, or in a team” – everyone does, it’s not a unique skill. Don’t include a picture of yourself – it’s too subjective and don’t include ‘socialising’ with friends as an interest, it’s not, it’s just life.
Tip 2: Show your best work
The iPad is the best thing to happen to creative portfolios for a long, long time, but if you haven’t got one (like the majority of us) these rules still apply. Make sure you have enough work, but not too much. A dozen good projects is plenty, but always have the strongest three or four in your mind so that you can confidently talk those through if time is short. How to order it? Strong start, strong middle, strong end.
Tip 3: Get involved
Creative companies are usually very social and like to share their successes. Try following their blogs, tweets, announcements etc and make insightful comments by way of an introduction. Don’t randomly try to link with people you don’t know on LinkedIn, join one of their groups and interact. There are so many social networking events and gatherings currently, that it’s much easier to get out and meet people.
Tip 4: Tailor your application
It’s a common occurrence for candidates to apply for five different roles at one time, this never looks good and ultimately undervalues the individual. Creative/digital job titles are invariably ambiguous – as are creatives abilities. If you can comfortably do three jobs, have three different CVs, making sure each one plays to your relevant strengths. Tailoring your CV for specific roles is critical if you want success, particularly in the current market.
Tip 5: Don’t wait for vacancies
1. If your experience / skillset will help an agency win business, improve their current offering or bring a new innovative approach to the table, then they will try to make a space for you. Added value cannot be underestimated.
2. Creative agencies are busy places with everyone multi-tasking. Recruitment is very often an after thought and time consuming. If your details hit the right screen at the right time, you could make someone’s life much easier.
Tip 6: Get the right experience
There is so much opportunity to learn new skills today, via seminars, events, webcasts etc. If you’ve got the initiative, be determined and learn by trying, don’t be afraid to throw yourself in the deep end. Design a website in Photoshop, create some UIs for an iPhone, or recreate your favourite campaign. In terms of software, there is a lot of quality training available these days too, including our very competitively priced bespoke training.
Tip 7: Never stop learning
One of the advantages of working within the creative industry, even in it’s broadest sense, is that we are at the bleeding edge of innovation. Even though it can seem to move at a bewildering pace and can feel overwhelming; there are lots of really good sites that can keep you up-to date with what’s new and what’s yet to be new, all providing as much or as little info as you require.
Tip 8: Dress the part
The importance of how you present yourself can’t be underestimated, but is all too often overlooked. Rule of thumb; dress smart/casual. Wear clothes that you are comfortable in, that also help to portray your confidence. If you’re meeting a creative, don’t wear a suit because they won’t be wearing one. Conversely, if you have a client side interview, flip-flops, shorts and a copy of the newspaper under your arm will only speed your exit straight back out the door.
Tip 9: Do your homework
This is perhaps the most obvious thing to do when preparing for an interview, but is all too frequently forgotten. If your excuse is ‘you didn’t have time’ then sorry you don’t want this job enough and the employer will know that straight away. Look online / mobile, if you haven’t been given a web address, then ask for one or search yourself. In the rare situation that a company’s website is down, then search for a campaign you know they’ve worked on in the creative press, there’s always some useful information to be had. If there really is no online presence, demand some creds, most companies have a PDF of work they send out.
Tip 10: Have the right skills
Companies are always looking for people that can add something new to their existing offering, but not at the expense of what they currently do and what they want you to do. For example don’t blurt out your skills with augmented reality (AR) apps, before you have given them confidence in your ability to do the job required. Your AR skills need to be seen as adding value to the prerequisites of the job. By producing beautiful sites that include cutting edge AR elements or QR codes, it could be just the innovation the agency needs, and could set you apart from the competition.
The Noun Project
Tip 1: Clipboard: Seth Taylor; Tip 2: iPad, Daxx Longaphie, Canada; Tip 3: People, Videologin.net; Tip 4: everyone; Tip 5: Sergio Calcara; Tip 6: Anna Weiss; Tip 7: Plinio Fernandes; Tip 8: Simon Child; Tip 9: Bart Laugs; Tip 10:The Noun Project