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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

May 7, 2014

More Job Search Advice for new Grads

A new graduation season is upon us, and feel the need to revisit this topic. When I first wrote this article I was a recent grad-school-grad and introduced the topic using a conversation with a former school-mate.
Original 2010 article

Guess what. It's even tougher out there now than back in 2010. As a new grad you should know what kind of design job or work environment you're looking for. Casting a wide net and applying for any open position, that either a.) doesn't interest you, or b.) doesn't fit with your goals, is a recipe for high stress. Be selective and take the time to go after jobs that you actually want. It'll make you happier in the long run.This is something I've always believed and it hasn't let me down yet.

If you've already identified your ideal work environment, start your job search now. This means:

  1. Keep your Resume Updated: This is a good practice for everyone. However, I must stress that each resume you submit in application for a job should be tailored to more closely reflect the stated requirements. Don't lie. Instead choose specific words and phrases from the posting to include in your copy. Here's why it's so important...
  2. Regularly Update your Portfolio site: For creatives, the website is usually an employer's first contact with you. Be sure that your best work--and recent work--is showcased. Once or Twice a year is sufficient.
  3. Network and make inquiries: This is a must for all professionals in all fields. Keep connected with folks on LinkedIn, say yes to the alumni happy hour invitation from school, give your college friends a call. I can't stress this enough; ask these people questions! 
  4. Assess your Qualifications: Once you've found a job opening that's interesting, look at it critically to see if it's really a good fit. Be sure to look at the duties AND also the industry (or type of business). Some very talented designers work best outside of agencies. Be sure that you fit the bill and the employer fits yours. 
  5. Apply Early: With this current job market, positions are posted and taken down before you know it. When you see a position that suitable, don't waste too much time procrastinating. Instead, take a day to: format your resume and letter, have a peer proofread your efforts, make your revisions, and apply.

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