If you love changing the appearance of photos, creating new colours or inventing new logos, a career in the design industry is for you.
A graphic designer has the best of both worlds; work from home experience as a freelancer or working for an organisation.
It is true that creativity is essential for a person to be successful as a graphic designer.
Education is an integral part of the process.
We want to help you succeed in the industry.
Here are helpful tips if you were wondering how to get a job as a graphic designer.
1 — Discover the Hidden Job Market
What is the hidden job market?
It is a new job opportunity that is not published online by a hiring manager.
The best way to find new openings is by connecting to your network.
Here are a few ways to stay connected to the hidden job market:
- Connect with people on LinkedIn
- Meet with previous colleagues once a month for lunch
- Send your resume to a company even if there is no job posting
- Build an alliance with human resources professionals
A common mistake a new graphic designer makes is depending on job opportunities published online to find work.
Regularly connecting with successful people in the industry offers a chance to get hired directly without the inevitable competition.
2 — Write an Award-Winning Resume
A graphic designer typically adds technical skills on a resume which is expected from human resources.
I recommend adding personal skills on a useful resume that will set you apart from the competition.
Here is a list of examples of how to write interpersonal experience:
- Achieved success working with the marketing and communication department on original graphics which lead to an increase of business by 35%.
- Excelled in rebranding company logos with the help of executive members of the C-suite.
Think of a detailed resume as a professional tool to help you get noticed among the competition in the workforce.
3 — Start Freelancing
If you are a new professional in the graphic design industry, freelancing is an option to gain work experience.
The benefit of being a freelance graphic designer is working on a contract with a business can lead to a full-time employee if the company is pleased with your work.
The best way to find freelancing opportunities is to search for opportunities online.
You can send inquiries to companies of interest with the use of a professional design portfolio to show work samples.
Here is a list of ways to turn a freelance gig into a full-time job:
- Ask the manager if you can discuss an opportunity to work with the company if the team is pleased with your work.
- Work as an independent contractor at first and request in the contract if your work can be reviewed at the end of the contract for future employment.
- Apply for work from home opportunities where you are an employee that works remotely.
Human resources consider freelance experience as real-life work experience.
It is better to freelance than be out of work waiting for a company to hire you.
4 — Share Your Work Online
Are you a LinkedIn user?
Do you enjoy posting on Twitter?
What a better way to be discovered by recruiting managers.
The reality is CEOs, VPs, and hiring managers use these platforms.
Imagine your work as the inspiration for a new design for a start-up company in your area.
I recommend sharing high-quality work in your portfolio.
In the world of graphic design services, quality is more important than quantity.
Here are a few other ways for people to discover your work online:
- Create a professional website
- Instagram and Twitter can assist with building a following
- Join a graphic design forum
- Create a freelance website profile
The internet has an abundance of opportunity for you to present work to a new set of eyes across the globe.
5 — Participate in an Internship
A chance to help the community using your talent is another way to get started.
It can be an internship or volunteer program as a graphic designer.
In most cases, the compensation will be low or not offered.
However, you will be surprised to discover that people in executive positions and human resources volunteer in their community.
A list of additional ways to volunteer your time is below:
- Join a networking group for graphic designers
- Join a membership and help with marketing campaigns
- Volunteer in the community
- Help local businesses at no cost to gain experience
In most cases, an internship offers a minimal payment or no compensation at all.
It is the experience and networking opportunity to meet people that can guide you in your career.
6 — Formal Education
A company can hire a graphic designer with minimal education.
However, to negotiate or receive higher pay in the journey of a career, it is best to earn a formal education.
It can be a combination of eLearning through webinars or formal training at a university.
Here are a few education requirements needed to be considered for how to get a job as a graphic designer in the United Kingdom:
Bachelor of Science/ Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design
A university program in graphic design can teach you technical skills to foster creativity and innovation in your career.
The formal education will depend on the university you attend.
It can include lectures, workshops and personal tutorials and trips to museums.
The program will challenge you to build a professional portfolio using graphic and illustration design skills.
You will be prepared to work as a graphic designer as an employee or a freelancer.
I recommend that you choose a university that has a program that will match your short and long-term career goals.
7 — Know What You Want
Think about your strengths, weaknesses, and personality.
Can you successfully perform as an independent?
Do you want to work for a small start-up?
A graphic designer can work on a team of other designers or function as the sole designer for a large organisation.
It can be a stressful experience to be responsible the work for large business, but if you have the confidence to do the job right, it can be a rewarding experience.
Here are questions to ask yourself before you pursue a career in graphic design:
- Do I want to work in a marketing department?
- What is my niche? A niche is an industry that can include retail, food, medical, technology or fashion.
- Do I want to be a generalist or an expert? A generalist can work on any graphic design job whether it is an advertisement for a restaurant or a logo for a technology firm. You will earn a higher income if you work to become an expert.
To prevent feeling stuck in your career, know what you want first, or destiny will take in you the path of the opposite direction.
8 — Continuous Improvement
Career growth involves a lifetime of education to learn the fundamentals of innovative design.
It can be challenging to transition to a management role or a self-employed graphic designer without continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement can include the following:
- Certifications in graphic design
- Improving visual design weaknesses
- Writing a career plan
- Reading blogs/ articles of best practices from experts
9 — Find a Mentor
The only way to enhance your quality of work is to find a mentor at work or in the graphic design industry.
A mentor can review work samples and offer advice on techniques that will enhance the quality.
Mentors can be a retired graphic designer, a self-employed graphic designer or one that works at a reputable organisation.
The problem some professionals face is they believe their work is perfect despite feedback from a manager.
There is an opportunity to be a better version of yourself professionally.
10 — Communication Skills
A successful graphic designer asks questions when confused about an assignment.
The individual can receive constructive criticism and effectively communicate their thought process on how to complete a project.
If there is a spectacular idea to re-brand a corporate-wide design, this person can speak directly to the CEO of a company or present ideas in a group of 20 employees.
A graphic designer needs interpersonal skills to connect with people at all levels of the organisation.
Here are a few tips to consider when working on communication skills:
- Think about the demographics of your colleagues or clients
- Match your communication style to the person you speak to
Speak to a client or colleague as a trusted partner that can help you achieve a goal.
Don’t take people’s feedback personally and remember to remain relaxed when faced with opposition.
An understanding of customer service is essential to succeed in the industry.
What can you do next?
Before you start writing a graphic designer resume, remember to ask yourself what you want.
If you write a list of realistic goals that are achievable the ability to select the right graphic design university program can help.
The hidden job market is open for you to connect with people one-on-one using social media platforms or to attend networking events.
Hopefully, these tips on how to get a job as a graphic designer will help you grow in the coming weeks, months and years. Best of luck.
If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency that is passionate about effective Graphic Design, Brand Identity, Logos and Web Design.
Originally published at inkbotdesign.com on March 30, 2018.