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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Jul 9, 2013

Three Job Search Pet Peeves

In no particular order...

First: I’ve always made the argument to soon-to-be or recent grads that they should narrow their job searches; applying only for positions in industries where they want to work, instead of casting a wide net. I usually add that folks should have some idea about where they want to work before they graduate. Then I challenge them to consider design firms, nonprofit agencies, corporate arenas, finance, legal practices, medical centers, etc to help them decide.

Some graphic designers completely disagree with me.  They make the reasonable argument that the goal of early jobs in our field is to gain expertise and test-drive different industries. That may be the right thing to do for some, but my approach may work for others.

In undergrad I was offered an agency job with a company whose major clients included a car manufacturer and a soda company. As someone who advocates for non-processed foods, low-carbon footprint lifestyles, pushing polluting private vehicles and promoting obesity was not for me. An advertising agency could never be my creative home. I declined the position and opted to work for a non-profit that promoted women’s health and education instead.

 Today, I still run into a few people who are three or four years post-graduation floundering to find their niche in the professional world.  I’m talking about the "graphic designer" who can’t decide what to apply for when the choice comes down to entry-level designer, program coordinator, or child minder. Our education was an extensive and expensive one. We should be out there using our skills to pay back those student loans, spreading the gospel of good design, and propelling ourselves closer to our life/professional goals.

Next: What’s up with inappropriate resumes hitting hiring managers’ desks? An over-designed, or unsophisticated resume is the main thing that gets applications overlooked. Design firms and creative companies expect applicants to showcase their creativity with a well-thought-out identity and maybe even an infographic resume.  Corporate and non-profit agencies expect applicants to submit traditional-style resumes in application for jobs—even in their design departments. Sophisticated design is expanding the traditional definition of a resume, but origami still won't fly in most arenas.

When we use inappropriate formats and odd-sized paper to apply for design or communications positions, we send the message that we know little—if anything—about the company, industry, or position. That equals apathy, and get’s resumes discarded.


Finally: We should always be on the lookout for robots! Robots pre-screen online job applications and resume submissions. If application materials don’t contain keywords found in the original position posting, then the entire application gets discarded before a human being has set eyes on it.


One more thing: Can we stop submitting Word doc resumes? PDFs retain any special formatting and styles regardless of computer software and versions. This is just common sense.

I recently had a potential employee apply for a job with a Word file and when I opened her submission, two sentences were pushed onto the back page. I knew that this was a mistake, but I still asked her why she made that design decision during our phone interview. Frankly, if she came up with a convincing answer, I may have given her a shot at the job.


It feels good to get all that off of my chest, 
Simone

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