Résumé Tips for Aspiring Graphic Designers

Sat, Mar 3, 2012

Internship Information

Ten years ago, students looking to pursue a career in graphic design were in high demand. It was a rapidly growing field with far too few skilled professionals for the amount of work available. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. With so many people answering the call the market became flooded with graphic designers both incredible and merely adequate. Plus, companies seeking services like website design, logo creation, and so on became choosier simply because they had so many options. But while the profession may not be as wide open as it once was, it is still a growth industry that can provide opportunities for the motivated individual. And if you want to get a head start on beefing up your résumé before you hit the job market, here are a few tips that will get you pointed in the right direction.

While you will graduate with the knowledge and skills you need to be successful in your first job, you are lacking one major boon that industry professionals have: experience. Sure you might have a couple of student projects in your portfolio, and your final projects may even provide a compelling enough reason for a company to hire you, but likely you’ll need a little something more. And there are ways that you can gain some experience and add to your portfolio even while you’re in school.

The obvious first step is to apply for internships, which will give you a chance to wet your beak in an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. But while this will definitely give you an entry on your résumé, as well as some experience working in an office environment, you might not truly get the opportunity to create something for your portfolio (some companies may increase your graphic design skillset, but you could also find yourself fetching coffee and filing paperwork). Still, it is valuable work experience and employers like to see it.

However, you might want something more concrete. So why not start working while you’re still in college? Okay, this is easier said than done. But you can do projects on spec for the experience, the references, and the addition to your portfolio (sans pay). You might try starting out by working on the layout and design for your uncle’s website or creating a logo and some original graphics for a friend’s blog. Perhaps you could contribute graphics to an ezine or online comic for another student on campus. Or you can even create profiles with online temp sites like ODesk, Elance, and TaskRabbit as a way to get paying gigs (even if they don’t pay much). Any work you do, paid or otherwise, adds to your résumé and your portfolio, which can only help you to get a job after graduation.

Once you’ve mastered photo editing, motion graphics, layout and design, and even clickable wireframe software, it’s time to find ways to use your knowledge and skills to your advantage. And it’s never too soon to start building a résumé, especially if you want to get a leg up on your collegiate competitors when you all hit the job market. So find ways to increase your experience and build a portfolio of your work and you’ll surely have less trouble reaching that brass ring.

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