How to Get a Job in Graphic Design

Step 1 – Work a Part-time Job

Work a part-time job or paid internship while you look for a “real” job helps you earn money to pay bills and gives your day a sense of purpose (even if that purpose if just bagging groceries).

Step 2 – Get Hope from Others

Searching for a job is draining. Reading a biography helps you get outside your struggles and see how others have overcame. The best place to get hope is from other people’s experience.

Step 3 – Follow a Proven Plan

The job market is constantly changing. The best people to offer advice are those who have just done it. Try to find someone who’s overcome a struggle and didn’t just get a job handed to them after graduation. If no one come to mind, you can join my private Facebook community here.

Step 4 – Look Like a Professional

Employers want to hire (and pay) to have a job done, not train you. So if your LinkedIn profile or resume says “Looking for a Graphic Design Job” change it. Now. You are a “Graphic Designer.”

Step 5 – Sound Like a Professional

People who invest time to learn and write about their field are an asset to a company. That person is going to continue to add value and not just rust in a cubical collecting a paycheck.

Step 6 – Learn a Complimentary Skill

With sites like 99design and Fiverr gaining in popularity, design is becoming more of a commodity. Plus, everyone has a cousin “Susy” who can “design.” If you don’t want to be a commodity, you need to add more value.

Step 7 – Use a WordPress Template

Designers who have been in the industry for a while often lack the discipline to maintain their online portfolio. For less than $40 you can have a kick-butt portfolio template from http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress.

Step 8 – Remove Gaps in Your Resume

You’re a Graphic Designer, there’s no excuse for gaps in your resume unless you’re lazy (or depressed). Find a charity, startup, or your dad’s repair “business”, ANYONE, to design for and start putting experience on your resume. Having a “job” also makes you more desireable and gives you leverage in a salary negotiation.

Step 9 – Cold Call the CEO

HR gets tons of resumes. If you want to shorten your job search, and get more interviews, you need to learn how to go around HR and call someone with authority. It’s easy enough to search a company’s LinkedIn directory for a “Design/Marketing Director” then Google a phone number for the company. Ask for that person by name, introduce yourself, give one sentence about your experience, then ask if they have a minute to talk about their need for the position. If they don’t answer, make sure to leave your phone number and email address so they can forward your message to HR.

If the job is local, drop your resume/cover letter off in person. When you hand it to the receptionist ask if “John Smith, Director of Design, might have a moment to talk?” This is obviously very time consuming and potentially awkward but a great way to really stand out since you can present yourself right off the bat. Prepare for this like you’d prepare for a second interview and do your research (“tell me about yourself” and beyond).

Step 10 – Apply to 3 Jobs a Day

Applying to LESS than 3 jobs a day won’t give you traction. Apply to MORE than 3 jobs a day and you will burnout. Don’t stop applying once you get an interview, keep applying until you get an offer. Track your progress on a spreadsheet. Use every application to improve the wording on your resume/LinkedIn and always be iterating with feedback you get from interviews.

GradDash Career Mentor


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