Graphic design jobs are frequently few and far between. It’s important that you are prepared for any design job interview you might be lucky enough to land. Below you will find a number of tips to help you be more prepared for your next design job interview.
1. Update your online and print portfolios.
Tastes, styles and opinions are constantly changing in the design industry. The most important factor in landing your next design job, therefore, is the quality of your portfolio- both in print and online. Before visiting with a potential employer, go through your portfolio and consider the following:
- Is your personal branding and style up-to-date and consistent?
- Does your portfolio contain only your best work?
- Are there any pieces that injure the overall impression of your portfolio? If so, remove them.
- Have you put your best foot forward by highlighting your best work?
- Are your portfolios easy to navigate and understand?
- Do your online and printed portfolios match in style and content?
For more portfolio tips, take a look at “What professionals look for in a creative portfolio“.
2. Think about and practice your elevator pitch
What’s an elevator pitch? It’s a quick explanation about yourself, your abilities and your aspirations. It should only be thirty-seconds to a minute and a half long and should highlight your strongest points. The term “elevator pitch” comes from the idea that if you had just one short elevator ride with the ideal employer, you could effectively explain what you do and who you are.
Practice your elevator pitch with your friends or significant other to make sure you’ve got it down perfectly. Your new pitch can help you land an interview or really impress your potential employer during the interview itself.
3. Update and print your resume
This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure your resume is as simple and concise as possible. Ensure you only include relevant information concerning the job you desire. It may not be necessary to include your summer job at the Burger Barn unless there is some skill or ability that you would like to flaunt.
For the most part, include design jobs or experience you have had. It may also be appropriate to include applicable university classes if this is your first design job interview.
Regardless of what you include on the resume, make sure it is relevant, easy to read, and concise.
4. Tailor your preparation to the potential employer
This step will give you the edge over your competitors in the job hunt: Prepare for each interview specifically. In preparation, you may want to:
- Visit the company website and learn about the type of projects they work on.
- Learn the names of the top officers and company leaders.
- Prepare some possible questions about the company and your potential job specifically. (This shows genuine interest in the job.)
To learn more about what employers are looking for in their creatives, take a glance at “25 attributes employers look for when hiring creative people“.
5. Use all of your resources
One huge mistake many new designers fall into is thinking they know more than they do. To be a good designer these days, you have to do more than earn a degree from a college or university. Stay up to date on popular design blogs (Read “20 design blogs I subscribe to – and you should too“) and contribute frequently to the design community. Take the first step and subscribe to this blog via RSS or email for FREE!
6. Create something for them to remember you by
It used to be that designers would take CD’s with them to leave with their potential employers. This gave employer’s a chance to see more of their work after the interview was over. While this is still an appropriate thing to do, a more impressive act would be to host, design and maintain your own portfolio website. (Here’s a gift for anyone wanting a deal on hosting. Email me if you want more.)
Any potential employer may not have much time to interview you but he can visit a website after the fact. Create business cards, pens, keychains, whatever cheesy (yet creative) thing you can come up with that will help a potential employer remember you.
There are countless tips for those who are searching for design jobs or preparing for a design job interview.
What tips can you add to the list?Written by Preston D Lee Preston is the founder of GDB, a designer, programmer, marketer, and entrepreneur.