2 October 2013

8 Rules for getting a design job interview

by Simon Richards

Having received over 100 CV’s for a recent design role that we were recruiting for, I was surprised by the lack of preparation, basic communication skills and consideration of presentation by so called “graphic designers”.

As a graphic designer you need to demonstrate that you take responsibility for how you communicate, how your present yourself and your work – it is directly related to your own personal brand image. That includes how and when you go about seeking a design job.

While it maybe disheartening that there seems to be a lack of design jobs, jobs exist yet it doesn’t take much to make the first move so write to agencies on spec, your letter may arrive on the right desk at the right time. But also pay attention to the following guides:

  1. Always address the email to the person, not Dear Sir or To Whom, and also get the name right – my name is not Julie
  2. Never use a default word template, remember you are a designer interested in graphic design. Word is perfectly acceptable to format a CV, but consider the layout, language and fonts – you need to demonstrate a genuine care in typography, creativity and attention to detail.
  3. Always attach your work as a Low Resolution PDF – a 30mb PDF is not acceptable, nor is anything over 8mb come to think of it.
  4. Design your PDF portfolio (remember you are a graphic designer) – present your work in the best possible way and ensure the highest professional standards.
  5. Do not use links to online portfolios – we are time pressured and I think it looks lazy.
  6. Demonstrate work that focuses on the role concerned, i.e. branding designer – show branding work. Refrain from showing a bit of print, a bit of illustration with a bit of photography and a few wedding invites for good measure, it shows lack of quality and focus – unless all of it is brilliant.
  7. Do something different (remember we are in the creative industry), I remember a story of someone being employed because they did a magic trick in their interview – however if you are going to do something different do it really well (the magic trick worked).
  8. Make sure your email works –  I try to answer all emails but don’t blame me if you don’t get a reply because you’ve misspelt your email.