So you want to stand out in the crowd of other Designers?
Maybe you’re simply dead tired of your current graphic design job and ready for a new challenge. You don’t respect your so called ‘supervisors’.
Or maybe you’re a recent graduate looking for your first gig as a Creative Professional, you’re looking for something that will pay the rent and fund your pop-tart addiction.
Or perhaps you’re not quite ready to move jobs today. You anticipate spreading your wings in the near future.
First, the Basics:
Know what the Hell you want.
Knowing exactly who you are, your skills, and what brings you the most fulfillment is key. More importantly, articulating HOW you can benefit your new employer comes from realizing what you bring to the table. Reduce their pain by knowing how you can help make their lives better.
Be Willing to Grow & take Risks.
A willingness to learn and grow is so important, and yes a killer portfolio helps too. But displaying the desire to learn new shit cannot be underestimated. You’ll never know how far you can go without taking some risks.
Show Passion & Energy.
If you can demonstrate your inner passion about some specific area of the creative process, it will help get you noticed. Is it the early concept development phase that gets your motor running? Do you get off on hearing the client squeal with delight over your design comps? Or is it the final results – clicking through the final website, holding the stationery, or thumbing through the printed brochure you’ve created? Pick something and rave about it. Show some passion dammit.
Speak like a Human.
In your pitch – your cover letter and the presentation of your work. Use conversational words to describe who you are, do not use the same jargon monoxide. everyone else uses or you’ll blend into the background and fade away quietly into the night.
For instance, on my design services website, see my footer – If you need brain surgery, I’m not your man… and also on the top slider messaging I speak the truth in real terms, not in boring jargon.
Don’t be an Asshole.
You must remember prima-donnas are frowned upon in the creative industry. Ok, any industry. A positive attitude and some freaking humility goes a long way. People hire people they like, and want to hang out with. So be likable, and be humble. Yes BE CONFIDENT, but leave the attitude at home. Nobody wants to work with a self absorbed asshole.
Q: So HOW do you Stand Out among other Graphic Designers going for the same job?
A: You simply offer to submit some concepts for a open project their studio is working on. That’s it.
This is the #1 Technique to Land a Graphic Design Job that will give you an edge. It’s quite simple, actually. It requires a little work, and a little imagination. It means you need to put yourself out there, and sweat a little to make an impression. Reduce their pain by helping solve a creative problem they have on their plate today.
How to Ask:
1. “Can I design a compelling homepage interface on a website project you have in-house?”
2. “Can I develop some conceptual sketches for one of your logo projects?”
3. “Allow me to create a cover design or sample spread layout for a brochure project of yours.”
4. “Perhaps you need some icons or spot illustrations for one of your clients. Let me take a stab at some concepts and show you how I think.”
Then wrap it up with “This is my way of showing you how motivated I am to impress you.”
How to Execute:
Think Big ideas. Small deliverables.
Ask for a basic Creative Brief on the project, then do your best to show the BIGGEST idea you can in the smallest deliverable. What I mean: Spend the least amount of time to present concepts.
Sketch it out.
Go to your Sketchbook and sketch out a concept to help solve the creative problem instead of delivering a tight finished polished PSD or Jpeg.
Spend no more than 48 hrs before you deliver ideas. It will show that you can work fast, and dig deep. Show them you can kick creative challenges in the ass at the speed of light.
The Benefits of taking the initiative:
1. Even if they do not take you up on it, you’ve made an positive impression on them.
2. You’ve removed the ‘prima donna’ factor, and you’ve become instantly more interesting and likable.
3. Being proactive will position you on the top of their minds for future design assistance.
4. You may even land a contract project with them because you took the initiative to offer help, and very often this is the first step toward landing a full time position.
Keep in mind, this is much different than spec work. This is an opportunity to share the way you think with a potential employer. And remember I advise to not present FINAL polished work, these are concept sketches. It’s an opportunity to stand up and say, let me help, I am willing to spend time to impress you so we can hopefully work together in the future.
GIVE until it hurts.
Give, give, give, then ask.. wonderful things will start to happen. This is doing what others are not willing to do. Be disruptive, make them stop and take notice of you. And you’ll stand out among the rest, I guarantee it.
Share the Love.
Please share your experience with me in the comments below. What techniques have you tried, or approaches you’ve heard that have proven to be most effective? Share the love with the Creative Junkie tribe.