After having a career for twenty years, in full-time positions, in design agencies. What tips would I give my younger self? – Career tips designers.
Choose your computer wisely.
I fell into graphic design after being employed, as an HTML developer and then moved over, to graphic design as my employers asked more of me.
From the start of my career as a designer, I was un-usual as I was using the PC. The usual computer choice for a graphic designer is a Macintosh.
Working on the PC may have stopped my career becoming more creative, but it meant. I could get involved in print work as well, as online work. It was apparent to me that the internet was going to become more critical in the future. Therefore it meant I would be able to find employment quickly.
My career has been exciting, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had the chance to get involved in website front end development and have got involved in the graphic design, including branding with marketers and directors.
The whole design industry is obsessed with the Macintosh computer and doesn’t seem to want to move away, anytime soon. If you’re going to work with the big players in the design industry, it would be wise to stay with the Macintosh.
If your thinking you want a career, that’s less creative, and more to do with technology, then choose the PC.
You may think you don’t need excellent writing skills.
Your writing skills are paramount on getting on and doing well in the graphic design industry. Even if you don’t get involved in writing, there will be times in your career that having excellent English skills, will help with your image and recognition.
Networking and keeping a positive ‘I can do’ attitude.
The days when you have a job for life are long gone -unfortunately. You need to keep a positive attitude, and staying in contact with your peers is a must.
So take advantage of social media, get on LinkedIn and network. You need to market yourself online and don’t forget to ‘big yourself up’.
The problem. You are earning money for your bills versus, needing the experience to raise your income.
It’s such a horrible feeling when a business employs you, and you’re not getting the experience you desire—kept on a low wage, with no chance to improve and earn more is soul-destroying. I’ve been there.
When a business dangles a carrot at you, and you have to jump, in the hope, you will get some recognition. If you need experience, you need to start thinking outside of the box.
Could you get a part-time job, outside of your full-time position? Possible contact a charity, as they are always after free help. I know this is difficult, but you need to persevere with it and take hold of any chances, that come your way.
Keeping everything in boxes
When you are looking for graphic designer positions, thinking about being placed in a box, your potential employers will be doing this.
What do I mean by this? Employers are looking for that perfect fit. Imagine getting forced into a box, when you’re a huge triangle.
When you send over your portfolio, and CV, make sure it’s that perfect fit. Look at the description of the job role and tailor your CV to fit into this role.
For example: if it’s for an Artworker position. Say in your application; you’re interested in the technical side of things. Highlight all the technical stuff you have done, such as various courses. Make yourself that perfect fit.
Keep going on courses.
I cannot believe how quickly you can become unemployable because you haven’t kept up-to-date with what’s going on, in the industry. There have been times, where I’ve not been focused, on what I am doing and ‘missed a trick’, of some new technology that becomes an industry standard.
Graphic design isn’t for the faint-hearted if you want a secure, nine to five work. Don’t get into graphic design. You need vigour and drive to keep up to date with your competitors. Expect to have long working hours!
Learn business skills
Unless you won the lottery, you would be working for a long time. You may think, I love graphic design, I will do this for the rest of my life.
The thing is, your in-front of a computer, all the time. Which may start affecting your health, or you may want a change.
I would start thinking about expanding your skillset now. Just begin contemplating what you could move too. Such as project management, marketing, programming and writing.
I wouldn’t look at graphic design as something you will do for the rest of your life. It tends to be a younger person game.
I hope that helps you guys.
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