Monday, 12 August 2013

Design Students - looking for that design job

It's around that time of year again - a new wave of graphic design and web design students hit the streets in search of a job to get their career off to a start.

Like many agencies we receive a lot of letters from eager students who are looking for a position in our design studio. We're not a huge agency (by choice) so the chances of a position arising with us the very moment a student is looking for work is slim although we do speak with eager designers who do more than send a 'Dear Sir/Madam' letter or email in a hope that we can help give them some constructive advice or guidance.

Today the graphic design and web design industry is made up of small agencies - as few as 2 people up to an average of 5+ both regionally and in the London area. This wasn't always the case and super agencies would often have design departments of 100+ designers. Of course this made it a whole lot easier for students to get a job!

So, if you're a graphic design or web design student who is on the look for a job then here's a few insider tips that might help you on your quest:

1) Research the company you are approaching - learn the name of the creative director and look at which clients the agency work for and how you might be able to bring value to the business. Include a brief CV and no more than four examples of your best work.

2) Make your correspondence memorable but concise. Any good design agency will be busy and will have little time for reading pages and pages of mutterings.

3) Don't be lazy and just send your introduction by email. Chances are it'll get lost in the mass of incoming and outgoing mail. Write a letter and make sure there are no spelling mistakes, double spaces or simple but bad errors (both graphic and web designers need to be aware that mistakes in text can cost a business money and nobody wants that).

4) Send more that one letter. Even if you get a 'sorry we don't have any vacancies at the moment' letter by return, send another letter thanking the agency for their time and to please keep you in mind for perhaps a placement in the future. Even if you don't receive a reply, write again perhaps enclosing four different examples of work. It may be that you're timing was off and your letter was lost in the mix. You should be looking for any chance to get your foot in the door and prove your worth!

5) Build yourself a social network. Sign up for Twitter and Facebook (specifically for your design and web work as a business isn't going to be interested in your holiday photographs or how much you had to drink on the weekend) and perhaps create a LinkedIn account too. Then hook up with agencies on your list or even just in your area. You never know when a well timed Tweet could remind a creative director of you just when their run of busy work has caused their thoughts to turn to recruiting.

6) And finally - don't expect a £20k+ salary from the start. Students often don't understand that however great they think their abilities are or how brilliant their tutors say they may be - in reality it takes around a year to get a student working effectively within a design business. It really is quite different in 'the real world'.

Above all be consistent, creative and enthusiastic when contacting potential employers. Much of job searching can come down to luck and timing but any smart student will see that these simple steps can benefit them.

If you're interested in hooking up with us at Laban Brown Design then you can find us at:

Laban Brown Design is a Graphic Design Agency based in Essex providing effective Corporate Identity, Brand Identity, Brochure Design and Website Design solutions.