Getting Hired as a Graphic Designer
Congratulations! You've graduated from school as a graphic designer, and now you're ready to face the brave, new world of visual communication. This world is fresh and inspirational, and gleaming with opportunities. Everything seems to be framed in an Adobe Photoshop screen, waiting for you to insert your creative genius. How exactly do you insert yourself into this world? What does it take to get hired as a graphic designer?
Graphic design is a highly competitive field. Whether you're concentrating in photography, illustration, or Web design, you will be contending with a huge community of other artists. It's imperative to set yourself apart from the pack. You do this by establishing yourself as a professional and reliable brand. It doesn't matter if you're brand new.
Here are the four things you must do in order to establish your brand and get hired as a graphic designer.
Create an Online Presence
The world is digital. Whether you're working in traditional or new media, you must have an online presence. Employers are very adept these days at doing a quick Internet search on prospective employees. You'll definitely want to do an Internet search on yourself first, to monitor what results are attached to your name. Take control of your online identity, and only promote a professional image. Make sure your name is synonymous with your business, and choose aliases for non-business related Internet activities.
It's crucial for you as a designer, to create a professional online portfolio. This portfolio should showcase your work. If you've never worked before as a graphic designer, you'll need to populate your portfolio with design samples. These samples should be diverse, and display your range as an artist. Make your portfolio simple, and easy to navigate. A potential client shouldn't get lost on your site. The portfolio should prominently display your telephone number and your email address, or other ways to reach you. A potential client will get disinterested if they have to do too much work to find your contact details.
If you're not a Web designer, you can use free Web based community sites like Behance, Carbonmade, and Coroflot to host your portfolio. Set up is easy to do, and within 30 minutes, you'll have a dedicated website in which clients or employees can view your work.
Create a Print Portfolio
Although the world is digital, you need a print portfolio to take with you when you go on face to face interviews. Send your art to a professional print agency for a more polished look. Choose 5 to 10 designs that truly represent you as an artist. Keep it short, but keep it spectacular. Clients will not shuffle through all of your images, but they need to be impressed with what they see. In addition to a print portfolio, you may want to consider creating personalized business cards and stationary. Have a consistent look in printed materials. It's important to have professional business cards, because you never know when you might meet someone who'd like to do business with you. Writing your contact information on a napkin or torn-off piece of paper is very amateurish, and when you're building your brand, you want to avoid any action that would diminish it.
Search for Jobs Online
The fun part is searching for jobs. The market is filled with design jobs. The process does require patience and diligence. When you don't have a job, finding a job becomes your job. You should dedicate eight hours a day looking for employment, or perfecting your portfolio. Popular places to look are Craigslist, Elance, Coroflot, Behance, and Simply Hired, to name a few. You should cast a wide net and apply to as many places as you are qualified. Sometimes the early bird gets the worm.
Network, Network, Network
One of the most rewarding parts of being a graphic designer is that you have a huge community of support. Create networks and forge friendships in online art communities like Deviant Art, illy Pads, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Being a part of a community means that you share information about jobs. In addition to that, you can get advice and honest criticism from your peers that help you grow as an artist. No man is an island, and you'll need to lean on the support of others from time to time. It's important to get involved with art communities because you become aware of different trends in the industry. This a necessary tool for any artist.
Graphic design is a massive industry of ever-changing concepts and timeless ideas. You must be flexible, and yet consistent. You must be creative and yet marketable. In order to get hired as a graphic designer, you must be your best work of art. Work tirelessly on your image, follow these steps and employers will respond.
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