Graphic Design: How to Get Hired as a Graphic Designer

Graphic Design: How to Get Hired as a Graphic Designer



hey everybody this is graph designer Roberto Blake today's video is probably one of the most important videos I've ever done on this channel today I'm going to be talking about how you get a job as a graphic designer if you're just finding the channel for the first time I usually do graphic design videos on Mondays tech videos on Tuesdays and Photoshop CC tutorial videos on Thursdays so don't forget to subscribe to get all those videos from me every week one of the most requested topics that I get in my inbox and in the comments is related to how you actually get hired or get a job as a graphic designer especially if you don't have any experience and you're a student or a new graduate as many of you probably know it's very difficult not only here in the United States but worldwide for graduates to find job placement in the career fields that they went to school for and I'm going to do a whole nother video there'll be more of a vlog about the education bubble that deals with that kind of stuff and what my thoughts are on it but I will speak to specifically my own experiences here both from the position of trying to get a job as a graphic designer when I was younger and also from the hiring position of actually taking interviews and vetting young graphic designers and knowing what I was looking for what the company needed things like that as I've talked about in other videos on this channel dealing specifically with portfolios portfolios your ability to present them and your personality the interview are the things that get you hired most people who are in graphic design school art school college in general have this mistaken idea that we as employers or hires or managers or senior designers that we care about your grades or what school you went to or even what degree you have and reality is that we really aren't that interested in it because it doesn't directly impact our bottom line it may actually be more that tells us certain things about your personality your overall capabilities it's a shortcut that we use to weed people out but the reality is that we're more interested in a few very simple things can we work with you is probably the most important thing and that'll be communicated in your personality how you present and how you talk and you know just conduct yourself throughout the interview and your overall level of confidence you know not too little and not too much no one wants to work with somebody who isn't confident in their work can't speak to it can't help pitch it can't sell you on that idea so confidence is important but at the same time the own wants to deal with someone who's arrogant or egotistical or full of themselves so just make sure that you're balancing it out and if there are those idiosyncrasies in your personality make sure that you're addressing them and you're communicating properly and putting your best face forward in the interview while being as honest as possible so if we like your personality we feel like we can work with you and that you can sell your work you can sell yourself you communicate well and you're creative and you have good ideas and you speak intelligently about your work now it's going to come down to the actual body of work itself and what it conveys to us about your skills and capabilities and the biggest problem that we see in portfolios today is that they're filled with student work self-initiated work is actually better than student work because it shows what your creative style is what your own visual style is and what you'll do left to your own devices student work is not really that good to present I mean sometimes it is sometimes it isn't use your own best judgment if it is reflective of your best work then that's one thing but if it's not eliminate as much student work as you can from your portfolio and I'll tell you the reason why student work a lot of times you were given a lot of information that you may not have gotten from a client although I encourage you to try and get as much information as possible get a client brief but again it's a project that was from a more controlled environment than is presented in the real world number one the allotment of time you're probably given to develop it and come up with concepts is also unrealistic and that's not saying that you didn't have to come up with certain things in a crunch or whatever but the odds are that you didn't have to at least have some thumbnails or an ideal within an hour of being handed the brief from your professor in the real world working with clients and working in agencies and companies sometimes just presenting an idea or even finishing something you will literally have an hour to two hours to get it done and that can be overwhelming and daunting for students who have been giving days or weeks to complete an individual assignment and that's because you have all these other classes you have other companion assignments oh yeah they want to give you a reasonable amount of time to deal with that the workplace is very different despite juggling all these different things you won't have the luxury of that kind of time and sometimes in the workplace with regard to graphic design if you're not working as an in-house designer if you're working at an agency or you're working directly for a client the odds are you won't have a bunch of other rudimentary tasks that you're juggling you won't have busy work if you're a graphic designer the odds are you're probably not unless you're an in-house designer going to be bombarded with 50 emails that you have to answer first thing in the morning you're not going to have a bunch of these routine tasks that you have to do first thing in the morning it's usually going to be you're focused on producing the assignments or the client and a lot of times it might be one project it might be three projects but you'll have a priority of work that's established based on your deadlines and based on what the level of the account is so just kind of keep that in mind it's not the same thing as juggling your you know classwork and you know you got five different things going on you've got you know five projects whatever it's very different what we really want to see in your portfolio is we want to see client work we want to see client work we want to see self initiated work we want to see work that maybe you did even if it was volunteer work or even if it was a pitch that the client didn't use a lot of designers sometimes won't put in work that wasn't used or that the client didn't approve but if it's reflective of your best work go ahead and include it and if you need to talk about it just you know bring it up if it you're asked about it you say that the client went in a different direction and just explained what the circumstances were without being overly involved in getting bogged down in the nuts and bolts of it you know just very briefly and concisely explained um you know why the direction was different or why it wasn't finally approved but what you contribute is the project what you liked about it and exude its positive qualities also make sure if you don't have the opportunity to explain every piece in your portfolio that there's a brief sentence or two in your portfolio explaining the work a lot of desires will say oh well the work will explain itself or I'll stand on its own the thing is you're still doing with visual medium even though design is supposed to communicate some very specific things you do need to add some context to it for someone who's not aware of what you were doing or what the assignment was what the client really wanted they need to know these things so go ahead and just have some kind of brief description on alongside your pieces of work I talked about this in the portfolio videos but again only show your best work but also show the type of work that you want to do if you're going to a place that specializes in branding then maybe bringing in all these wonderful photo retouched pieces and photo manipulation work isn't what you need to be bringing you need to be bringing identity kits you need to be showing them logo designs you need to be showing them layouts and print work you know mock-ups if this was going to be used in billboards and out of home brochures tri-folds those kind of things are what you're going to need to do if you're working with somebody who's more in that b2b sector if you're going to be doing something that's more entertainment industry based then maybe you do need to do more of that type of work you need to do things like movie posters or album covers if you're waiting to graduate from college with your degree to have really set yourself up and to say that that's when you need to be looking for jobs and looking for opportunities it's too late by then you need to be getting clients as soon as you can so you can develop a body of work so that you can experiment establish your style have referrals that clients are and employers are going to care about if I'm hiring you to do something I don't want to be that first person that's just giving you an opportunity or a leg up per se if I have to worry about my business and making money and delivering for my clients I can't take risk I want to minimize risk so I can't be the first person who's ever hired you to do a legitimate project for money and I don't want to be that guy that's going out on lip you need to understand that put yourself in the employers shoes and give them every reason to hire you and part of that is going to be having a referral client list of freelance clients that you've done work for that they can talk to you and get a feel for how well you work with people how much you satisfy your clients and what you actually did and was the work in your portfolio legit or not so that's what you need to have you need to have real projects in there and that's why you need to have that work and not your classwork and your student work because we're not going to call your professor and ask them you know about you oh he's a joy to have in class oh she's a wonderful student straight A's Dean's List we don't care we don't care because at the end of the day we have to deliver for our clients so if we have to deliver for clients they're not interested in that they're interested in the work they're interested in the turnaround time they're interested in the ability to have good communication interaction so these are things that we would be looking for if we're going to hire you as a graphic designer to do something for our clients we need to know that you can meet deadlines we need to know that you can meet deadlines when there's money online we need to know that you're accountable we need to know that you're answerable for something we need to know that you can communicate well that you're just not going to disappear go mi a that no one's gonna be able to reach you we need to know that you're not temperamental or egotistical we need to know those things and it's very hard to gage that just in the interview so we need a list of references that we can see you know who you work for in addition to your body of work as your body of work might be fantastic but you may be too difficult to work with for us do you want to take that risk or you may not be a good fit for what the agency or the company needs so it's a matter of that personality and we can only go off of so much in the interview and we need to know what other people think and know that you know this isn't just how you're dealing with us we need to know you're consistent across the board and we can't do that if we have no point of reference so that's why we need those references you know we don't want to hear you for your friend or your cousin per se we're sure they're wonderful people but we really want to hear from clients who have worked with you and we want to see the type of work and results that you produced for them when you know there was something at stake now that being said you can go ahead and take this opportunity if your student to do the one thing that I absolutely tell designers never to really do which is do free work but if you're a student you have no body of work no one's taking a chance on you the opportunities are too hard to get then do your best work go all out do something for free do something for free so compelling that the person feels tremendously guilty about not being able to pay you and you know just build that relationship so that you can get a glowing recommendation and reference out of them and you know they're probably not going to bring up that you did the work for free but even if they did that's not going to really reflect badly on you it's going to reflect more on them and the fact that they couldn't afford to pay you for this amazing work and if we can see that okay for little or no money you produce these results we'll know that you're going to deliver on us and your worth every penny that we're spending so that's just something to keep in mind and again put yourself in an employer's shoes that's the thing that keeps designers from getting hired they can't see things from a client's perspective they can't see those things from the company or the employers perspective or the hiring managers perspective so you know that's part of what it is you are in design it's going to be very different than most career job fields you're ever going to enter into when you work as a graphic designer unless you're going to work as an in-house designer at a company that's not in the visual arts industry the creative services industry the deal is this you're going to be interviewed most likely by someone who's either a manager of an art department an art director a creative director or the president or CEO of the company they're going to be the person making the decision to hire you they're gonna be the person conducting your interview which means that it's one of the few careers where you'll be interviewed by someone who actually knows what the hell they're talking about they actually will be able to on some level understand what it is you do how you do it why you do it and you won't be able to talk over their head you won't have to explain or break things down for them you won't have to oversimplify things they actually get one of the things I want caution and prepare all of you graphic designers out there for is make sure that you're doing your research before you go into the interview understand who the company or the client is understand who their customer or their clients are understand what the type of work they do is and how they present so that you can of tailor yourself appropriately in terms of your game plan for presenting how you communicate what pieces to bring in your portfolio etc you shouldn't just necessarily have one generic portfolio you should have yes one Dre to go but you should be able to either swap out or use different portfolios or different pieces that align to the situation because as I talked about in my portfolio videos always present the type of work that you want to be doing you know push the work that you want to get also don't forget to let your personality shine through and to be enthusiastic it definitely goes a long way no matter who is interviewing you well I hope you guys learned a lot more from this video and that you have a better idea of things that you can do that will help you land that graphic design job that you're trying to get um you know if you have any specific questions you can feel free to message me or you know leave something in the comments below or inbox me if you're interested in doing a mock interview with me to try and get a feel for it and get some practice in I might be happy to do that for you just you know message or inbox me and we'll try and set up a Google hangout and we'll try and make that happen and you know we'll just see how you do and I'll give you any tips and advice that I think are relevant to your particular situation anyway like this video if you liked it don't forget to subscribe check out the other videos in my youtube series and as always thanks for watching

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21 Replies to “Graphic Design: How to Get Hired as a Graphic Designer”

  1. This is super helpful. I need to get better at getting freelance jobs. I worked as an in-house designer for a print company, which was great for the resume. Problem is I do not own the rights to the pieces I worked on so I have little recent work for my portfolio.

  2. Roberto, I graduated with a BFA in design and no one is responding to me via indeed or Glassdoor or LinkedIn I graduated December 2017 and I already feel like giving up

  3. Hi . im a graphic designer and animator. unfortunately now im live in iran and its not Comfortable at all ! because of government pressure and …
    moving to newyork is my ultimate dream and i want to ask you do i can get a job ? i think maybe people are not like me because i'm persian. is it true ??

  4. Great video Roberto, thanks for sharing with us. I'm in the process of finding a job out there. I have a couple of question: 1st question is about self-promo/leave behind, is there's any tips that you can give us about leaving a great leave behind? 2nd question: this is about portfolio, do companies look for digital portfolio or do they look for printed portfolio, like say if you go to an interview, do they want us to bring a digital portfolio or do they care about printed portfolio?

  5. Great video, but I'm very curious about something. Is it always important to ask clients of what they are looking for before you do work for them?

  6. When I first found this, I thought it was just gonna be another joe blow video. However after watching I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to create such a valuable resource for new designers. I will be recommending to all of my friends and graphics courses!!

  7. Hello Roberto! I'm you fan from Malaysia, i found your videos really helpful for me because i am a self taught designer with no proper graduation from any art school, I'm still feel nervous to apply as a full time designer, can you give me some advice? Thank You 🙂

  8. Roberto, I have lots of questions if you don't mind. I'm graduate as Bachelor of Science in Illustration but I'm trying to get the Entry level graphic design position because I wanted full time job and plus as international student, I have to get sponsored to change to H1 working visa. So I started building my graphic design portfolio a year ago because I realized illustrators are only freelance or goes by contract. My question is, I did most of the work myself or madeup works because like you said I cannot find clients, since than I was going all out. So I really want to know from your critique what I should be prepared or looking forward to do. Here's my portfolio if you wanted to see: www.soesanillustrations.com

    Please, I desperately needs help

  9. thnx brother for sharing your knowledge n experience n i'm hoping it will helpful to me tomorrow for a graphic design job……

  10. This is awesome Roberto. Thanks you for share your experience! It would be awesome if you can help me with mock interview, practising. I just graduated the end of 2016 and struggle with finding a job, moreover, english is not my first language. I'm so down now…

  11. i am 16 and i recently got an offer to design for firstblood. io my interview will be this Thursday over skype any tips ?

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