Post # 1
Bees, I’m really nervous. In one month’s time I will be traveling with my FI to look for a place to live in Atlanta and leaving my job in a tiny town as well as my home state.
I’ve put together a list of more than 20 agencies I plan to send my resume and a link to my online portfolio as a designer, but I’m terrified that none of them will call me back, or that if they do I still won’t get a job. I felt that I graduated at the top of my class, but after graduation only one agency even bothered to give me the time of day (and I applied to a lot). I now have one year’s professional experience working as a one-woman graphics department for my current job but I’m very worried that it still won’t be enough to get my foot into the door.
I have a polished resume and portfolio and plenty of work to show, but does it just really boil down to whether or not I’ll fit at the company?
Post # 2
My FI does creative direction at a huge multinational agency and it wasn’t easy getting his foot in the door. He started at a big Canadian agency and interned throughout art school, finished and interned in NYC for a year at a big firm, interned in London for 3 months, and then finally had enough connections to get an entry level design position at an agency in our city.
He is now at a different firm and has been promoted quickly, but it’s because he has a great mentor and is amazing at networking. Oddly enough, the design world seems to be a bit of a boys’ club when it comes to agency life. The hours are long, it’s really hard to get your foot in the door, and a lot of agencies contract out their design work to freelance designers.
I would join a professional association, go to design conferences, and cold call art directors/creative directors. Ask them to have a coffee with you. Fit seems to matter a lot in firm life because you often work 12-16 hour days. My FI worked 60-80 hour weeks frequently as a junior designer, and now has 50 hr work weeks as he’s gotten more senior. Fit is important because when you’re working alongside a team and spending so much time together, you need to mesh creatively, and also complement personality types. Putting yourself out there vs applying for positions (rarely posted, btw) gives you a better shot.
My FI went to a really great art school and did a year abroad at probably on of the best design programs in the world, yet he’s one of the few classmates that’s still at an agency 7 years aftee graduation. I’d keep that in mind before delving into agency life. Sometimes working in-house is better, especially since designers get let go all the time from agencies.
Post # 3
misskittenn: I work in media and yes, a lot of it does have to do with your personality – media is a whole different ball game (it took me a while to get my head around it!) and it attracts a certain type of person however all of that is irrelevant if you’re no good at your job. You clearly have a flair for what you do so my advice would be when going in to interviews, be up-beat, personable and friendly and show your enthusiasm for the industry (in general, media people LOVE their work and are very passionate about it and love to see others share that passion – and make sure you research their company so you can talk about them on a deeper level in the interview!).
You sound well prepared so I wouldn’t be worried, i’m sure you’d be a great candidate. If you can do anything to stand out from the crowd do it (there’s always a tonne of people to sift through – I used to go through dozens of resumes at one time so if you can stick in their mind thats a plus). I would recommend calling or emailing to let them know you’re really interested. Some people don’t necessarily like this but it always showed me that person wasn’t just spitting out resumes without a second thought, they were actually paying attention to who and where they were applying to and were really enthusiastic about it.
Post # 4
Thank-you ladies! I very much appreciate the advice. I know I might end up working a lot but since I’ll be the breadwinner while FI goes to school I don’t mind.
I plan on getting some very nice business cards printed (silk, spot uv) and crafting some handmade leave-behinds, so I hope that combined with my work and experience will be enough!
Post # 5
I am in your shoes except I am just graduating. I just finished up an internship at an ad agency this past month, and made some great connections. Internships definitely help, regardless of how long they are. The best thing I’ve learned is to make connections with anyone and everyone possible. Also, just keep your digital portfolio up-to-date and current.