So maybe you’re a designer who doesn’t feel like you're fulfilling your potential, or perhaps you’d love to get into design but don’t know where to start.
Either way, it can be a daunting decision to go for that dream design job, so here are some quick tips from online learning service General Assembly (opens in new tab) to help get you there...
- Read all our career related articles here (opens in new tab)
01. Make a solid plan
It's one thing to think that you want to do something better/more exciting/more creative but quite another to actually do something about it. Making the first move to a new design career is all about making decisions, being bold about what you want to do and then making a plan of how to get there. Set aside some time to do this and don’t let other tasks and procrastination (opens in new tab) get in the way.
02. Expand your skillset
Even if you think you know everything, you don't. Design is a constantly growing and evolving area and so the skills you will need are always changing too.
Think about the essential expertise you will need for your ideal job but also think about what other abilities will add that extra something to your portfolio. If you're a graphic designer, maybe learning some web design will help you stand out from the competition. If you're a web designer, consider doing a UX course to help you understand users better and expand your portfolio even further.
In other words, the best designers are the ones that can show that they never stop learning.
03. Make a direct approach
It might sound obvious, but your dream job isn't just going to land in your lap. Once you've decided on the type of position you'd like to go for, make a shortlist and directly approach some companies or people you admire and would potentially like to do business with.
This is really flattering for the person you approach, as it shows real initiative and a specific interest in them/their company. Even if a job isn’t immediately available, you’ve made a great contact and if one is, then you will have the advantage over other applicants.
Also, talk to people and network - once you make your ambitions clear and known, you'll be surprised by how many people will offer advice and contacts for you to meet.
04. Do a pro bono project
Another great way to expand and illustrate your skills is to take on a pro bono project. This will help demonstrate what you can do and will also provide you with an interesting case study to talk about. It doesn't have to be a formal arrangement, there are always opportunities available that need a designer's mind.
It could be a new website a friend is working on, or a startup that could do with a helping hand. Or, you could choose a real life problem or an existing design you could improve or change and include this in your portfolio to show your creative thinking beyond tasks set in your everyday working life.
- Also read: The designer's guide to working for nonprofits (opens in new tab)
05. Have a startup mentality
Even if you don’t necessarily want to work at a startup, it pays to have a 'startup mentality' wherever you decide to go. Demonstrating that you can work as a team, be flexible, learn from your mistakes and above all 'get shit done' will stand you in good stead.
Also, show your character, not just a version what you think a company will want to see - the best businesses and jobs are those in which you can be yourself but also have real room to grow and keep developing.
Words: General Assembly
General Assembly provides education, advice and skills to help people kick-start or expand their careers in the world of business, tech and design. To find out more, just visit: https://generalassemb.ly/london (opens in new tab)
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