Archives for posts with tag: Entry Level and Internships

The interviewing process can be a daunting task. You’re putting your work out there to be judged and critiqued, and this can hit you right in the feels. So how best can you prepare yourself for an interview?

Let’s start off with the basics.

  • Know your work like the back of your hand. Everyone has a different way of doing this, but for me I usually know key bullet points that I want to touch on when it comes to discussing my work. Practice talking about each project and about your process. One of my professors has even recommended to videotape yourself just for a different point of view.
  • Look sharp. This is going to be the first impression they get of you. You don’t need to be in an Armani suit, but you do need to look professional. Of course this differs depending on the type of workplace you are trying to land a job. I would ask what their dress code is and either match that or go one step more formal (never wear a tux). Remember, dressing sharp may not land you the job, but dressing horribly can put you out of the running instantly.
  • Prepare a leave behind. What is this? For me, I put together my resume, business card, and three laid out examples of my projects. What this does is give a positive lasting impression even after you have left. It makes you look professional and on your game. More info about leave behinds can be found here http://freelanceswitch.com/designer/graphic-design-leave-behind/

The actual interview can differ in a lot of ways. But from my experience here are the top questions that you generally want to know and have prepared an answer beforehand.

  1. What do you know about us? Please look at their about page at least once and pick some key elements that you will want to regurgitate out.
  2. Tell us about yourself. No this does not mean tell us your life story, keep the information pertinent to the actual job. For me it’s where I went to school, and where I’ve worked since then.
  3. What were your responsibilities at your old job? I try to highlight key roles that are applicable to the job that i am applying for. If it’s a marketing role, I want to emphasize my active partaking in running websites and creating marketing pieces.
  4. What is your strength/How can you contribute? Usually this goes hand in hand, but really think about this one. Find a key aspect to your work that you’re prob of and can offer an employer. It can be that you have great ideas, you’re really quick and efficient, or that you’ve got a yearning for learning, etc.
  5. Do you have any questions? Yes you will be offered to ask questions, this is your chance to see if this is the right place for you. Some questions I like to ask: can you describe a day for this said position? How do you usually start off your design process? What is the workplace environment like?

Keep in mind an interview is a dialogue between you and another person. This is not an interrogation, be personable and be yourself and remember to send a thank you email or letter for taking their time.

Advertisements

As someone who’s looking for jobs as a newly graduated designer, you’re bound to be left frustrated. With each listing, you’re going to see requirements of 2-3+years of experience just to be a junior designer.

I know what you’re thinking, how do I get my foot in the door if I need experience to gain experience. The answer is internships. Every summer while you’re in school, you need to be doing internships. Period.

Internships are not a way to get ahead of everyone, it’s become quite the norm. Nowadays you NEED internships and the experience they provide to the necessary experience to employers.

For myself, I had to do it backwards and do an internship after I had graduated after realizing that no job will have me without any real experience. You see, working on school projects and working with real clients are different in so many ways. Internships show employers you can multitask and work with people around you.

My internship was with a local startup working in house doing design for production in branding schools. This was a paid internship, which is a must unless you want to offer others money for you to work under them. By doing an internship like this, you start to figure out some things. Office politics/drama is part of daily life in a small confine of a building for a startup. You also begin to see what kind of culture and environment you can see yourself in as part of your dream job.

Now that we’ve answered as to why you should get an internship, we will look at a few resources in how you can get that internship.

Getting an internship is very much like getting a job, you hunt on the same websites and you stalk all the firms for an opening.  Some websites I looked at when I was on the hunt were

http://www.creativehotlist.com/

http://www.indeed.com/

http://designjobs.aiga.org/

http://www.barefootstudent.com/

and of course, as a last resort http://www.craigslist.org

On an upcoming post, I will review how to prepare for an interview and how to make the right first impression.