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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

May 15, 2012

Job Search Advice for New Grads



In my limited experience as a prospective employer, I saw firsthand the odds that face graphic designers in the job market. A few years ago, my company advertised a vacancy for a graphic designer, and I was tasked with reviewing resumes/portfolios and presenting the top 5 applications to my team for interviews.

Within a week of posting the opening on www.idealist.org I had over 200 responses to the job. Of that 200, 75% had--at least--the basic knowledge required in the advertisement, and 50% of that group had the preferred requirements. Of those 75 people, nearly half had poor, insufficient (1-2 pieces), or no design samples for me to review.
I can’t stress enough that designers should provide potential employers with a way to view samples when applying for a job, not after! Attach PDFs or JPGs, link to an online portfolio; something is better than nothing. 
By the end of my review process, I whittled down the field of eligible applicants from 30 people to 10. Poorly designed resumes, even from qualified applicants, were also placed int the no-call pile.

These 10 designers presented exceptional resumes and diverse design samples. This group also included individuals who knew about the field and expressed a genuine interest in working with the organization. My final tally was 5 designers of varying ages and levels of experience. In the end, our team chose the right person for the job.  Think about it, five people got an interview from an applicant a pool of over 200.

The moral of this story—besides my trip down memory lane—is that you’re not the only one applying. Use your resume, cover letter, and samples to set yourself apart from the other applicants. Do your research, and show interest in the company, their products, and the general field. That’s the only way to keep your resume out of the recycle bin.

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