Design insights & tutorials.

How to Land the Design Job of Your Dreams

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You’re knee deep in loans. You dream in Adobe. You crafted the-most-memorable video resume of all time.

Or so you think.

You’re knocking on doors and they just seem to be closing.

Slamming, really.

What is it that you’re missing?

We asked Dan Weiss, Talent Acquisition Specialist, from American Greetings, Taryn O’Bra, division director for the Creative Group in Seattle and William Beachy, President here at Go Media, to share with us some sure-fire ways to get the design job you’ve always wanted.

How to Get a Design Job:

1. Get your work up-front and center.

“”Only show your VERY BEST work. Less is more. If you only have three amazing pieces, only show that. When it doubt, throw it out.” – William Beachy

“When you’re submitting your resume, make sure you get to something compelling immediately. The truth of the matter is that the first thing I want to see, over your name or where you went to school, is a link to your work.  That’s the only thing that really matters most. Don’t hide it, put it in some strange font, or present it in a large PDF file. Link, link, link!” – Dan Weiss

2. Be accessible.

“Be in the talent pools where all of the talent is swimming around. Sites like BehanceKropCarbon MadeCreative Hot List. It may take a bit of effort, but it’s extremely important, as this is where recruiters like me fish for talent.” – Dan Weiss

“Be persistent. Most design firms don’t have an HR department. That means your resume might get shuffled away. Call and write regularly. Send examples of new work you’ve done. Keep reminding them that you would really, really, really like to work for them. If necessary, take an internship with them. Anything to get your foot in the door can turn into a job.” – William Beachy

3. Use your rock-star design skills to stand-out from the crowd.

“Design everything. I’m constantly shocked when designers send me Word template resume and or cover letter. Everything you send a potential employer should be beautifully branded and designed.” – William Beachy

“Catch our attention and make a strong impression on us! Our team interviewed one candidate who created a mockup of an iPad app for The Creative Group to showcase his digital skills and ability to understand his client’s needs, for example. Other things job seekers have done to stand out are making handcrafted thank-you cards and hand-bound notebooks showcasing their typography and design skills. One candidate even offered a leave-behind with his contact information in the shape of a Rubik’s cube – now that’s creative!” - Taryn O’Bra

4. Just Be You.

“At an interview, be prepared to answer out-of-the-box questions. I personally ask questions people aren’t expecting to answer, like “if you were a room in a house, which room would you be?” I am really trying to figure out who somebody is, because the truth of the matter is that we are adopting people into our studio family. Our culture is really important and we want to make sure it’s a fit.

What can you do about that? Well, all you can do is be yourself. Be who you are – not the awkward, nervous version of yourself or the uncomfortable, overly professional version of yourself. Come in and be who you are and then it’ll work out as it should.” – Dan Weiss

5. Do Your Homework.

“Learn something about the company that isn’t included in the one paragraph boilerplate summary on the company website. Do your research and then take the time to write your questions down. This will show that you have approached this process with methodology just like you would if you were going to handle a creative challenge once hired.” – Dan Weiss

“This is critical. Your potential employer should think that all you’ve ever wanted to do your entire life is work for them. Study them thoroughly. Know their history, what type of work they do and how you would fit into the company. Go in with an agenda – ‘I can help your firm with my XXXXX skill.” – William Beachy

6. Know Your Stuff.

“Know your Adobe. I’d also really recommend that any designer starting out in school learn how to code. It sure helps to know what the coders are going to do with your work when you’re done with it…and it’ll separate you from the competition.

In addition, your ability to show an aptitude to learn new programs will help a potential employer feel better about their investment.” – Dan Weiss.

7. Be Sincere.

“Demonstrate characteristics that are going to be valued in an employee before, during and after an interview. Be prompt to the interview and prepared when you get here.  Be engaged in the process and follow-up promptly and sincerely afterwards.  Being admirably persistent, but not annoying is always a good guideline!” – Dan Weiss

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Did you land the design job of your dreams? Tell us how you did it by commenting below!

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Thank you to The Creative Group and American Greetings!

For more than 100 years, American Greetings Corporation has been a creator and manufacturer of innovative social expression products that assist consumers in enhancing their relationships to create happiness, laughter and love. The company’s major greeting card lines are American Greetings, Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus, and other paper product offerings include DesignWare party goods and American Greetings and Plus Mark gift-wrap and boxed cards. American Greetings also has one of the largest collections of greetings on the Web, including greeting cards available at Cardstore.com and electronic greeting cards available at AmericanGreetings.com. In addition to its product lines, American Greetings also creates and licenses popular character brands through the American Greetings Properties group. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, American Greetings generates annual revenue of approximately $1.9 billion, and its products can be found in retail outlets worldwide.

Connect with American Greetings on Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Twitter | Stay Inspired Blog

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The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and TCG’s blog, can be found at creativegroup.com

Connect with Creative Group on Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube | Pinterest

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About the Author, Go Media

Go Media is a creative agency based in Cleveland, OH that specializes in print design, branding, and web development. We are also behind WMC Fest, GoMediaZine, the Arsenal, Mockup Everything and others.
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