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Student seeking advice about what to bring/have to show

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  • Student seeking advice about what to bring/have to show

    Hello everyone,
    I'm in my final year at university for graphic design and I've been tasked with finding out from graphic designers in the field, what they themselves or the company they represent look for when hiring a Graphic designer.
    Is there anything I really should focus on? Physical/Online portfolio, leave behinds, my social presence FB/instagram etc? Or are there ways of getting a job that I should be trying? Calling, emailing first.
    I really appreciate every answer, thanks in advance!!

  • #2
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    • #3
      This is just me, other people would be looking for different things...

      - In general, I would be looking for someone who has done enough work that they have developed a personal style, and it's a style that I would be able to sell to my clients. For instance, I do a lot of work for marketing of outdoor recreation. Someone showed me a portfolio of futuristic designs with lots of chrome. It was nice and I'm sure he'll find work somewhere, but that isn't a style that would integrate well with the brands of my clients.

      - Physical/online portfolio: Online is good to start, and I might look at 10 pieces or so. Physical portfolio would be good to bring to an interview because we can go through pieces and talk about your process. I wouldn't want it dropped off and left with me though.

      - Social media: Not relevant to what I do, so I wouldn't be interested, but I could see how others would be, especially if there is something you can do that benefits the client. Don't send them to FB or Instagram if your personal stuff is mixed in with the professional... like if there are vacation pictures, etc.

      - Leave behind: Definitely. An 8.5x11 flyer on card stock would be good. Something with your contact info and a montage of a few of your most representative pieces, and that shows your personal style.

      - Call first and ask to speak to someone in charge of hiring graphic designers, then ask that person if you could email them a link to your portfolio. Then follow up with them a few days later ask their thoughts.


      • #4
        We're kind of old fashioned. Putting down the keyboard, getting off your butt and coming in to fill out an application and leave a resume works a heck of a lot better than sending an email (which won't get read) or a PDF portfolio (which definitely won't be downloaded or opened.) But we're also a hands-on shop that requires you to put down the phone, get off your butt and get things done. Not every place is like that.
        The fun part is, you should have your portfolio out in the car as you never know how not busy marketing or signage may be that day. I've seen two graphics people hired on-the-spot.

        We have work to do. There are thousands of you students out there. Do you think those calls get through? No one looking for work gets put through from a front desk call in.

        But that's just us....

        A physical portfolio is nice, but we'd be more interested in pieces you can't carry around with you. 3D or in-space pieces, large format pieces, scenic pieces, interactive pieces, mechanical pieces, signage pieces, even scuptural pieces, so an online or tablet portfolio works too.

        Leave behind would be a resume and a business card. The card would hang around a lot longer than the resume.

        I guess the whole premise here is advice to do your research and get to know the place you are going to be interviewing. Because a job interview isn't a one-way street. You should be asking questions and tasting the air as well.

        Last edited by PrintDriver; 07-18-2017, 09:08 PM.


        • #5
          Here's how it works when looking for designers where I work (which isn't how it works everywhere).

          We prefer potential employees not calling, emailing or dropping by in the hopes of establishing some kind of rapport. It's an interruption for us and has no bearing on whether or not we'll like your work or your qualifications.

          If there's a job open, we want applicants to fill out the electronic form, submit a resume, an optional cover letter and a link to an online portfolio. If the applicant has no online portfolio, that applicant probably won't be considered due to an apparent lack of marketing and web-related savviness that we expect from every designer (a Behance or similar online portfolio is fine -- doesn't need to be a dedicated domain).

          If we're impressed by the portfolio and qualifications, we'll invite the applicant in for an interview. If not, we'll send a nice rejection email. During the interview, we've already seen the online portfolio, so we expect a bit more than a repeat of what we've already seen. This might mean physical examples of what's in the online portfolio or new things we haven't seen before. It's always nice when the applicant surprises us with the unexpected.

          Even more important during the interview (since we've already seen your work) is how you conduct yourself (will you fit in, are you relaxed, serious, have a sense of humor, etc.), your broader interests (we like really smart people with depth and a variety of interests) and what the applicant will bring to the position that makes him or her stand out from the crowd (other skills or talents). Leave-behinds are always nice and are inserted into the applicant's file -- along with the resume, cover letter and various internal paperwork.

          I'll also add that we're looking for people who understand the bigger picture and who demonstrate they've done research on us since it shows seriousness and proactive preparation. An applicant who shows up expecting us to be impressed only by how nice the portfolio looks is unlikely to get a job. We also want to be impressed by the logic behind the work and the strategic reasoning that lead up to it.

          We don't want follow-up calls and emails. I hate getting them. Again, they're an awkward interruption and have no bearing on whether or not we'll be offering the applicant a position. If the applicant is chosen, we'll call. If not, we'll send a polite rejection letter.


          • #6
            Originally posted by B View Post
            We don't want follow-up calls and emails. I hate getting them. Again, they're an awkward interruption and have no bearing on whether or not we'll be offering the applicant a position.
            Interesting. Every bit of career coaching I've received or witnessed frames the follow-up stuff as absolutely-must-do-or-forget-it.

            But I never did any of it when job seeking because I had previously been in the hiring manager seat and also hated it. Why would a busy manager want every interview to produce the same effect as his/her contact info having fallen into the hands of a persistent mass-marketer? One time, there was an extended delay in call-backs/rejection notices due to an illness in HR (who insisted only they could handle such things properly), and the incessant follow-up pestering which ensued even caused me to change my mind on hiring the person I originally wanted.
            I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


            • B
              B commented
              Editing a comment
              This might be just me, but I've never understood the logic behind the job interview follow-up contact. I suppose it's meant as a reminder about how serious the applicant is, but that really should have been demonstrated during the interview.

              Hiring where I work is never a willy-nilly, gut feeling, one-off sort of a thing. It's a very formal process that involves an interview team that adds up scores, discusses pros and cons and makes decisions. After a round of interviews, it might not always be obvious who the top contender is, but it's always obvious who won't be hired.

              Invariably, a couple of days will go by, and I'll start getting these awkward phone calls, boxes of cookies and overly enthusiastic emails. There's nothing like suffering through a phone call from somebody who's desperate for a job but who you know didn't make the cut and having to pretend like she still has a chance since the formal rejection notices haven't yet been sent out.

              Lately, we've been telling applicants not to get back to us and that we'll let them know our decision once it's made in a few days.

              A freelance interview/portfolio review is different. We don't use a lot of freelancers, but we keep a collection of contacts on file. So when a freelancer makes an appointment, comes in, shows his portfolio, then follows up that visit periodically with a reminder email or a card, that's great.They're not looking for a life-changing job -- they're just wanting us to keep them in mind for when some contract work opens up. It's not all that different than when printer sales people show up hoping we'll use them down the road.
              Last edited by B; 07-20-2017, 12:23 PM.

            • KitchWitch
              KitchWitch commented
              Editing a comment
              I've always been told to follow up, as well. Shows you're interested and proactive (and annoying). I actually got one job because I had interviewed at an agency and followed up with a phone call once a week. Apparently, I was so annoying that the agency recommended that one of their clients hire me. The agency lost an account and I got a job as an in-house designer at a small company.

              The best part is that about two weeks after I started with the small company, the agency called me to let me know how rude I was for NOT following up on the ah-mazing opportunity they provided me. They wanted a thank you grovel. They even mentioned sending flowers. It was ridiculous.

            • HotButton
              HotButton commented
              Editing a comment
              B: ''Hiring where I work is never a willy-nilly, gut feeling, one-off sort of a thing.''

              Of course; it should be ruthlessly methodical. If one applicant can get the gig over another equally or better-qualified one based on having pulled the better post-interview suck-up maneuver, it's better if I don't get a job in that culture anyway.





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