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How to Land Your Next Design Job…and Make Your Next Design Job Want to Land You!

January 15, 2014 / By Tracy Maniaci

“The best way to accomplish serious design … is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job.” Paula Scher: Great design is serious, not solemn

Job searching can be frustrating—trust me, I speak from experience! After submitting what seems like (and just might be!) HUNDREDS of resumes and doing everything in your power to secure an awesome design job (or, lets face it, just a design job…any design job) you might be getting frustrated, losing patience and losing hope. Don’t lose hope! The important thing to remember is that you’re an amazing designer and the more you put yourself out there and keep trying, the more opportunity there is that your talent will be discovered.

At our January Community Meeting, AIGA Raleigh’s Member Experience Chair, Kristin McPeak, gave a presentation with many valuable tips and tools to putting your best image out there to help potential employers see you in the best possible light. After her presentation, many members also gave some great input and suggestions. We want to share to following information and tools with you that you should be sure to utilize:

Behance |  www.behance.com

Behance is the leading online portfolio platform to showcase and discover creative work. The creative world updates their work in one place to broadcast it widely and efficiently. Companies explore the work and access talent on a global scale.

It is simple, easy and best of all FREE to set up an account with Behance. The wonderful thing about Behance is that you can link it with your AIGA Member Portfolio, use it to show work on LinkedIn, and send potential employers to your page to show them your work.

Behance also has an option to upgrade to a ProSite, which is a personal portfolio site builder that syncs with your Behance Network projects. With ProSite, you can create a fully customized personal website in minutes that includes your work, additional pages, your resume, and much more. No programming is required, and your site can live on your own URL. The cost is $11/month or $99/year. A ProSite subscription includes: dozens of website building tools, website hosting, unlimited space, unlimited edits, and easy integration of Google Analytics. This is the perfect option for the designer who has limited time and needs to get a good looking website up fast to impress those hiring managers.

AIGA Member Portfolios  |  www.aleigh.aiga.org/portfolios

AIGA members are invited to join the AIGA Member Portfolios Gallery—an exclusive network hosted by Behance—to gain broader exposure for their work, connect with like-minded designers, and be discovered more easily by potential clients and recruiters.

How to sign up:
Go to the Sign-up page on the AIGA Member Portfolios site and enter your AIGA credentials. You will be prompted to create a Behance account or log in to your existing Behance account. You will start seeing your work in the AIGA gallery and on your AIGA.org member profile within a day.

LinkedIn  |  www.linkedin.com

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 250 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe. Their mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Fill out your profile as completely as possible. You can add images of your projects or link directly to specific projects on your Behance profile or website.
  • If you don’t want to let your current employer know you’re searching for a new job, turn off your activity broadcasts under Privacy & Settings
  • Make yourself public! You can edit your public profile (what people see when they are not connected to you) under Privacy & Settings
  • Ask for recommendations- You can ask your connections to recommend your work from the “Ask for Recommendations” link, which can be accessed through your Privacy and Settings page.
  • Join groups- You can join groups like AIGA Raleigh’s to let prospective employers know you’re active in the community
  • Some recruiters have said that LinkedIn Premium may be worth the extra $20-$40 per month. If you’re serious about your job search, this could be a worthwhile investment.
  • Learn how to add your Behance profile to your LinkedIn page.

 

Creative Triangle  |  www.creativetriangle.me

We are Creative Triangle is a website that features all types of creative professionals from Crafters to Designers to Dancers. It’s extremely quick to add yourself to this website by clicking the “Add Yourself” link at the bottom of the site and filling out a short, simple profile.

Dribbble  |  www.dribbble.com

Dribbble is a place for designers to show and tell, promote, discover, and explore design. Web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creative types share small screenshots (shots) that show their work, process, and current projects.

Meetup.com  | www.meetup.com

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

There are many professional groups on Meetup that offer some amazing free or low cost events that are great learning and networking opportunities! Just to list a few:

 

Various Advice

Community Members at the January Community Meeting also gave the following advice:

  • Consider your audience when choosing your headshot/photo. You might only want that super awesome job at the super awesome ad agency that will love your way out of the box headshot, but those jobs are often hard to come across. You might consider having two headshots depending on your audience. It is often best to have a friendly, simple headshot that will not overwhelm or alarm a hiring manager.
  • Get your business on Google for free with Places for Business if you’re looking to attract some freelance work.
  • Participate in your network. Don’t just set everything up and remain passive! Network! Network! Network! Come out to AIGA’s Community Meetings and events, many are free or low cost and you just never know who you’re going to meet or what opportunities will open up.
  • Stay educated and keep learning. Especially if you are currently looking for work, now is a better time than never!
    • Attend events or seminars presented by groups like AIGA or one of the previously mentioned Meetup Groups.
    • WakeTech offers free classes that can help with the job search. They also offer a wide range of continuing education (non-credit) classes for professional and personal enrichment, conveniently offered at multiple Wake Tech campus locations and community sites throughout Wake County.
    • SkillShare offers many online design and business related classes.
    • Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Their free, monthly events feature a short talk and breakfast and is a sure way to stay inspired.

 

Do you have any advice to offer fellow designers looking for work? Is there anything we didn’t mention that has helped you land a job? Please let us know!

 

About the Author

Tracy Maniaci is a creative professional with extensive knowledge in several industries. She is experienced in all aspects of graphic design with an exceptional talent for marketing, communications, public relations, copywriting, branding and event planning. Learn more about her at
www.tracymaniaci.com.

COMMENTS
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.
  • http://curiousmustard.com/ Jen Watson

    Great list! I just wanted to second the Behance recommendation. I’ve gotten 2 project requests from Behance in the last 5 months, and I don’t even have all of my work on there. I do link to my portfolio site, but still, I have put the minimal effort into using Behance and it’s helped me gain new freelance opportunities. I think local businesses are starting to use Behance to easily find local designers, so make sure you put your location on your profile :)

  • http://curiousmustard.com/ Jen Watson

    One more suggestion! Template sites like Virb and Squarespace are great for portfolio sites. Too many times I see designers feeling like they have to have a “custom” site, but what they end up with is something that is hard to throw work on easily, gets outdated quickly, and often overshadows & ultimately hurts their designs. I try to stress to the students I work with that if you don’t have mad web design skills, don’t do it!

  • Lenny Terenzi

    Also note that if you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud you get all sorts of nifty Behance integration! Great article Tracy and thanks for inspiration at the Community Meeting Kristin!

  • Laura Merchant

    Great advice! I have done a number of these things and they appear to get me a little more exposure. Haven’t landed the awesome new job yet though. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your expertise!