5 things I wish I would have known while breaking into the graphic design industry

Take advantage of opportunities
Some opportunities only present themselves once so take advantage of them. While I was working under contract at a advertising agency, I was presented with opportunities by other companies. With me being the loyal person that I am, I didn’t explore the offers that came to me. You have to look at jobs like a stair case, use one to get you to your next because the truth of the matter is that they are going to use you so why not use them in the process.

Don’t become complacent
It is important to stay vibrant and motivated as a designer breaking into the industry. There is always room for improvement! You should constantly update your portfolio and keep your information current. Case and point: Not long ago, I was asked to come in for a interview for the same day. I didn’t have a chance to update any of my information or to print out any of the awesome new resumes that I created. I was pressed for time and just had to sell what I had already.

Don’t just learn design
As my mom would drop me off to school as a kid, she would always say to me before I got out the car “Baby, learn all you can learn”. That statement has stuck with me to this day. It will NEVER hurt you in this industry to know more then just design. It is important to know DESIGN across the board. I landed my first job because my supervisor knew that I could design but wanted to see what else I could do. She wanted me to learn how to code emails so I had to go home, learn code, come back in two days and put a email together. Code is important and will make you more marketable.

Go to as many events as possible
From the time that started arts school until now, I have attended as many events as possible. Events as far as AIGA events, regular networking events and AAF events. I made sure that I was as visible as possible and available for hire.

Don’t sell yourself short
So many people look at job descriptions and automatically assume that because the description says that you must have 3-5 years of experience, then you can’t apply. What I have found out is that anything under 5 years of experience you can apply for, just as long as you have the required education if one is listed.

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