According to the U.S. News, a graphic designer position is ranked 5th in the list of the Best Creative and Media Jobs of 2020, and its popularity will continue to grow. For instance, graphic designers’ employment in the design of computer systems and related services projects to increase by 24% by 2028. That’s why we’ve decided to share some useful ideas on how to get a graphic design job, applicable for both advanced and entry-level candidates.
Skills and Qualities Needed
Graphic design is a visual communication tool. In simple words, it is the expression of ideas, meanings, and values through images, fonts, videos, etc. Working as a graphic designer means being a visual storyteller who uses hands and computer software to illustrate the information.
Besides talent and drawing skills, other characteristics will help you make a successful career in this industry even if you don’t have a professional degree and extensive experience. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Creative thinking and visualization
A good graphic designer can do much more than just manipulate existing images, playing with their shapes and colors. A true designer can create unique things.
- Professional software skills
Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are some of the programs used by graphic designers. You need to be proficient in using at least one of them and know its advantages and disadvantages.
- Color theory
Not only artists need knowledge of color theory. The ability to use, combine, and mix different colors masterfully is a valuable skill used to achieve original effects.
The designer’s job is to tell the client’s story and ideas. But great communication skills are also essential to deal with difficult situations and clearly understand the task.
You should be open, willing to try new things and be comfortable accepting advice and criticism.
9 Secrets for Getting a Job in Graphic Design
This profession opens different career paths ranging from multimedia, flash, and web designers to art directors. It offers decent money and an opportunity to show your creativity. So, what do you need to do to land such a position? Everyone can choose their strategy for how to get a job as a graphic designer, but we’ve done some research and prepared nine tips that can help even beginners.
1. Create a Powerful Resume and Cover Letter
A resume may not guarantee employment, but it plays a significant role in getting an interview. It should list your professional experience, skills, and qualifications. Since you are a designer, you can show your graphic skills in the visual part of your resume by using proper formatting.
Moreover, we recommend you create a convincing cover letter to start your communication with the employer and double your chances of getting invited for an interview. For those without experience, it can be a perfect opportunity to show your interest and motivation. Don’t forget to check out position requirements to highlight relevant skills. There are various graphic designer cover letter examples and tips on the Internet, and following them will make it easier for you.
2. Craft an Impressive Portfolio
Have you ever asked yourself, why is it so hard to get a graphic design job? Strict portfolio requirements may be one of the answers. If you don’t have good examples of your work, it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have. You need to show what you can do, and your portfolio can prove this.
Make sure to demonstrate only the best examples of your projects. Bad or partially finished ones will make you look like an amateur. Even if you just want to get started, you still need to look professional. We recommend creating an online portfolio using services like Behance.
3. Practice a Lot
If you plan to get a graphic design job without experience, you need to practice a lot to show that you can cope with job tasks. Work on your skills, learn new technologies, research the industry trends, and put everything you learn into practice. Take online and offline courses, and get certifications. It will help you to grow as a professional and extend your portfolio.
Additionally, you can take other people’s works and redo them to improve your technical skills and creativity or participate in graphic design competitions like Applied Arts Awards. Moreover, sometimes companies and creative agencies announce graphic design contests, so you can check out their websites and participate in exciting projects.
4. Don’t Underestimate Formal Education
You don’t always need to have a college degree to get a job as a graphic designer, but some companies require their applicants to be a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design or related fields. Formal education can teach you technical skills and show your commitment and dedication.
5. Do Professional Networking
Networking is a must in different spheres; the design industry is no exception. By joining a professional community like AIGA, you can get the support you need, connect with your peers, share ideas, and find a mentor who can help you with the issues of how to start a career in graphic design.
You can attend meetings and events hosted by design associations and follow special groups on social media platforms to build and extend your network. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most obvious places to start.
Once you’ve met someone from the design sphere, don’t forget to do follow-ups. Don’t wait for the others to reach out to you. Be proactive, and do it yourself. Send a short email or message thanking people for their time and referencing the conversations, if possible.
6. Get at Least Some Experience
When you start your job search, you can face some difficulties due to the lack of experience. Usually, companies need people who have worked at least 1-2 years. That’s why it is difficult to get a graphic design position for the first time.
We suggest two main ways of getting some initial experience: internship and freelancing. They both help you put something on your portfolio that goes beyond student work. Moreover, it shows that you can work within realistic timeframes and know how to talk through design concepts.
Several freelance job websites offer design gigs to get experience and earn some money, such as Fiverr, and AwesomeWeb.
7. Make Sure You Are Qualified
When applying for graphic design jobs, you need to be confident that you are qualified enough. If you don’t have much experience, consider positions titled “junior” or “entry-level.”
Check out the job description carefully and make sure that the tasks mentioned suit you. You should be able to fill most of the job requirements listed in the description. But if you don’t have all of them, that’s okay! You can do some learning on the job.
8. Get Ready to Present Yourself and Your Works
Perfect self-presentation skills are essential both during an interview and when communicating in professional circles. You should understand how to describe your skills, qualities, design process, and thinking.
It’s crucial to demonstrate your passion and desire to learn, especially if you are a beginner. Talk about your portfolio, describe the story behind it, and explain how you designed projects you are proud of, to give context to your works. Be confident in yourself, but don’t act like you are the best designer in the world.
9. Go Extra Mile
Always try to do more. Follow these tips but with double the effort, and you will become a professional that employers compete to have.
How to Find Graphic Design Jobs. Useful Resources
As a graphic designer, you can choose between several main types of employment: freelancing or in-house, part or full-time. You can work in different design studios, branding and advertising agencies, publishing houses, government, and private enterprises, earning decent money.
We’ve made a list of websites, where you can find any of these options using appropriate filters:
- Authentic Jobs
- AIGA Design Jobs
- Creative Hotlist
Fresh design is one of the ingredients for creating a successful business. If you are creative and persistent enough to develop your design style, knowledge, and skills, you can achieve state-of-the-art results.
We hope you’ve found some useful insights on where to search and how to land a graphic design job. It can be hard at first but don’t get too discouraged. Keep applying, and stay passionate. Success is no accident. You need to make an all-out effort to get what you want.