20 ways to prepare for a career in graphic design

Many design students find it difficult to switch from student to employee due to a lack of preparation. Because the graphic design industry is so competitive, it is important to stand out from your competition. Graphic design is a rapidly growing industry that requires a lot of skills from employees. Many students have problems with a real graphic design job because they don't know what to expect and are overwhelmed. Regardless of the stage of your career, we've put together a list to help you prepare for your career.

1. Go to school

There are very few young graphic designers who have such a good combination of skills and awareness to be successful from the start. A graphic design degree is a great achievement, and many employers will be more stressful than someone else that you have a certificate. You still need a strong portfolio, but a degree in graphic design will be impressive.

2. Work hard

Getting your first job out of graphic design school will be hard work. There is a lot to do, but you need to proactively shape and look for your future. If you do the right research and get in touch with the right people in the industry, it will be easier for you to hunt people who are able to offer you a graphic design job.

3. Find out your specialization

Graphic design has many options – logo design, business card design, brochure design, identity and branding, magazine and book design and advertising. Find out which channel you enjoy most and work best. A specialization will help you stand out from the rest as you prepare for your career as a graphic designer.

4. Plan your courses

Plan your courses the way that best suits your schedule and lifestyle. If you want to start working earlier, work with school advisors to speed up your graphic design program so you can start working earlier. If you want to get more classes to expand your design knowledge (which doesn't hurt anyone), you can also incorporate this into your program.

5. Be nice

If you are nice, you can go far in the industry. When preparing for your career as a graphic designer, keep in mind that many employers are very busy. When calling, emailing and asking potential employers, remember to be polite as they take the time to speak to you. Treat people with respect and you are more likely to get the same.

6. Network

Networking is one of the most important things you can do as a graphic design student. The earlier you start, the better. # 5 and # 6 are connected – if you are nice to people, they are more likely to refer you to someone for a job. Stay in touch with your contact network and be genuinely friendly.

7. Master your software

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are tools you should be familiar with. Most employers expect you to know these tools after you graduate.

8. Use the resources

Many of these types of services are not used in college. The services are there for a reason – to help you. If you are looking for a job, help with a resume, interview skills, etc. They will be happy to help you.

9. Carry out side projects or work as a freelancer

The best way to gain experience when you are young is to create your own personal projects or to work as a freelancer. This is also a great way for students to earn extra money while attending graphic design school. Side projects are a great way to add work to your portfolio that is entirely yours. Freelancing is a great way to work with real customers on real design projects. Use this experience to refine and sharpen your skills.

10. Look for criticism

Nobody's designs are perfect. So it's a great way to find other people to look for your mistakes to develop your skills. It can be difficult to get feedback at first because your work may feel personally attacked. Remember to stand out from your work and use it to improve.

11. Find internships / internships in the area of ​​graphic design

Experience is one of the best ways to stand out. Experience is what puts you first in graphic design agencies. Send an email or call graphic design agencies that want the best experience. Many agencies accept (and may even pay for) interns without advertising for them.

12. Read

Reading is one of the best skills you can inherit as you prepare for your career as a graphic designer. Many elements of the design industry are changing so quickly that you have to keep up with the latest standards. When you read books and internet articles, you become a smarter designer professionally.

13. Learn business

General business knowledge will prove valuable later in your career. If you ever want to work as a freelancer, you need to know how to run a business. Attending courses such as business, marketing, advertising and business communication is an advantage for you.

14. Be original

You have to have a personal style. Without you, you can get a lot of hundreds of graphic design students who may be applying for the same jobs you are! A good way to differentiate yourself is to brand yourself. Highlight your portfolio, your emails, your resume and cover letter as well as your social media presence. Be consistent in all of them.

15. Have a portfolio

If you don't have a portfolio, you won't get far in the graphic design industry. Portfolios are a way to brand yourself and promote your services. If you don't have many portfolio parts, create side projects for yourself, work for friends and family, or work freelance with real clients.

16. Have a resume and cover letter

Even though some say the resume in the design industry is now dead, it's still good to have one. When a graphic design job crosses a number of applications, they don't have time to look at your design portfolio. Rather, they just look at your resume to see if you have the minimum requirements for the position. In your cover letter, remember to state who you are, why you are contacting one way or another, and why you want to work on this graphic design


17. Follow people that inspire you

It is important to follow people you admire as this can be a constant source of inspiration. Twitter is a great community for graphic designers because you can easily follow all the "market leaders" in the graphic design industry.

18. Make a list of the places / people you want to work for

If one of your goals is to work for a particular agency, do some research before you even graduate. Are you looking for designers? How big is your company? How many employees do you have? What kind of work do they usually produce and is it your style? Is the business environment somewhere you can fit in?

19. Participate in events

Being online is great, but meeting others and attending offline events is a great way to connect with the community. Although many of these conferences are quite expensive for graphic design students, you should take advantage of them if you can attend one.

20. Research for job requirements

The job requirements for graphic designers will change slightly from company to company. This is a great way to prepare for your career because you know what to expect in the job. If you don't know what your employers are asking you to do, this can be a nerve-wracking experience when moving from student to employee.


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