Need some interview advice

I’m hoping for some serious advice. I would like advice from those who are in a position to hire creatives, but anyone can weigh in.

I have 17 years of in-house design experience. I left my job in August of 2016 for a Sr. Graphic Designer position, which was a huge mistake that I won’t get into right now. The position and culture of the company turned out to be horrible and extremely stressful and started to affect my health. I quit that job in October of 2017 and freelanced for a while from my home office before deciding to start applying for permanent gigs, which I thought I would have no problem getting. Clients dried up and I went on unemployment for a while. I have been applying for permanent positions for over a year with not a single offer, but with plenty of interviews. That alone tells me that my resume and cover letter are doing their jobs and I’m doing SOMETHING right. I think it’s my interviewing and presentation skills. I’ve been told to brag in interviews and I’ve been told to keep a low, quiet profile and just be humble, but nothing really works. I’ve come close, but no offers. I finally managed to get a graphic design job at a media company, back in August but the pay is absolutely horrible, but it’s something and we have benefits. My wife and I are struggling to pay the bills and raise our girls and it’s causing strain in the family.

What can I do different to get back on track? How can I brush up on my interviewing skills? What’s the best way to present a portfolio? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t really talk to my wife because she doesn’t understand how hard it is to get a job in this industry. She’s always been able to go in to the interview and get an offer a week later (she’s a teacher).

It’s really tough. I’m not sure I have lots of words of encouragement.

At some point, years of experience start working against people in this industry. Companies tend to be looking for fresh faces, enthusiasm and a willingness to work for dirt cheap. Age discrimination is a real thing.

Once someone hits their 40s in this field, they’d better be totally established or finding work becomes increasingly difficult. For someone my age (even older), it’s nearly impossible. Fifteen years ago, I was regularly turning down jobs, being recruited by headhunters and offered all kinds of incentives to switch jobs — all without me applying for anything.

Today, not a peep. Due to some management changes at my current position, I hate (an understatement) my current day job — even though the pay and benefits are good. Yet, despite me being at the top of my game and far more experienced, knowledgable and better than I was 15 years ago, no one seems interested.

Ironically, I’m involved with hiring talent where I work, and there have actually been days when I’ve interviewed designers, writers, etc., for work here while actively applying at other companies myself on those same days.

Back to you, though… Do you have a bachelor’s degree in the field? It’s getting extremely difficult to find work without one. Are your work and skills up to date? For whatever bizarre reason, people with 20-plus years of experience are sometimes assumed to be behind the times, burned out, technologically inept and teetering toward dementia. I think it might be beneficial to stress how current you are in interviews with the right buzzwords and references to various tech stuff in ways that would be completely unnecessary for someone with only, say, five years of experience.

You might be in that awkward position of being overqualified for the jobs that are out there, yet not having the right skill set and broader experience to be hired for something a step or two up from that.

Like I said, not much help here from me. If misery loves company, though, I’m with you. :wink:

Have you considered changing careers?

That’s for damn sure.

Also, many hiring companies these days have ridiculous expectations of what a “graphic designer” should know, including developer skills.

Interview-wise, I’d let them set the pace, and let them tell you what they want to see. Make no assumptions. Also, you can hire professionals to interview you and give you feedback, and it might be worth it.

Another thought; are you on LinkedIN? Do you have a social media presence? Most companies research applicants on LinkedIn.

I think we need to understand how you’re marketing yourself to better evaluate why you’re not getting jobs. Show us your portfolio, your LinkedIn profile, your social media. Maybe we can give you insight if there are issues.

Thanks! I have a degree, but it’s in Advertising with a minor in Fine Art. I’ve ran across some people who say that it’s just bad luck. It seems like when I apply for senior positions that I get really close to an offer. I think I’ve been applying to mainly entry level ones though.

Yes. I just don’t know what else to do.

Yes, I’d do this. Help us to help you. :slight_smile:

Try to make a custom design of your CV, that is easily readable, has visual aids, nice colors and puts your work in the best light. I think creativity will help you out more in this matter.

Also, make up a story of your life / work that may impress the HR / hiring entity, something authentic, be spontaneous.

Also, if you have the time, work more on your portfolio.

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