10 Things Every Design Student Should Know
If you’re approaching the end (or even the middle) of your university career, you’ve probably been giving a lot of thought to your future — and worrying about it. Design work can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not an easy field to get into, especially in the current economic climate. Don’t panic, though — here are ten insider tips to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
1. Personalize applications
When you’re filling out dozens of job applications, it can be tempting to copy and paste the same cover-letter and use the same CV for all of them. This does make applying for jobs easier, but it doesn’t do you any favours when it comes to actually getting a job. Employers hate generic applications. Research the company, take an interest, and tailor your CV to suit the position you’re applying for. You’ll save time in the long run.
2. Leave your ego at the door
Don’t tell potential employers you’re talented — show them. Arrogant designers are difficult to work with. And, with design being so subjective, you have to be able to take other people’s opinions on board.
3. Don’t take rejection personally
This is the flip-side of #2. Not everyone will like your work. Some people might even hate it, but that does not mean it’s bad. Don’t let one negative reaction kill your confidence.
4. Don’t fall in love with your work
However pleased you are with your design, you must take a step back once it’s finished. When clients ask you to change something, don’t argue with them — explain your reasoning, but change the design if they insist. Their opinion is just as valid as yours.
5. Learn to communicate
A brilliant designer is useless without good communication skills. Learn to express yourself calmly and articulately — but more importantly, learn to listen.
6. Scribble, sketch, and doodle
Never go anywhere without something to draw on. If you only think about design when you’re at work, you aren’t going to succeed in this job.
7. Don’t worry about the money
At least, not at first. You’ll have to work your way up to a good wage. Your first design job is unlikely to pay well — but the next will be better.
8. Never think you know everything
A good designer is curious, eager to learn and always receptive. The design world is always changing, so you have to make an effort to stay up-to-date.
9. Learn to network
Meet as many people in your field as possible. Keep an address book, and make use of social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to maintain relationships. If you’re freelancing, a lot of your work is going to come from people you know — especially at first.
10. Don’t give up
If you really want to be a designer, stick with it. This is not something to do half-heartedly. Over time, you’ll develop a thick skin, and criticism of your work will feel less and less like personal rejection. Know that it’s going to be tough at first, but in the end, your hard work will pay off.
By Sam Wright
Sam Wright has been a freelance writer for over six years, and is currently working for Brand Republic. Without dedication and perseverance, he doubts he’d be where he is today.