Step Six: Networking for Designers
Valerie Atkisson | ArtBistro
Careers are built on networks.
Your network consists of your classmates, teachers, family, friends, and mentors. These are people that support you and want you to succeed. Ask them if they know of any opportunities for you. Build your network.
Who is Doing What You Want to Do?
The best way to get a foot in the door is by making a connection with a designer in your field. Ask your designer friends, professors, and coworkers if there’s anyone in their network you could contact. Make use of social networking events, conferences, parties, and social media! Twitter is a great way for you to connect with design firms and individuals and start a conversation!
Spend time getting to know people and telling people about yourself. That’s the best way to get your work out there, especially if you’re just starting out!
You never know when the opportunity to make a new connection will present itself, so it’s a good idea to craft an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a brief statement summarizing yourself, and should take at most 30 seconds to say. It should sum up your career goals, vision as a designer, and basically sell your abilities. Memorize it so you can pitch it on the go to people you meet in any place, be it at a cafe down the street, or while you’re riding up the elevator.
Networking and Cards
Ask people how they got where they are by expressing an interest in their work and asking if you can see more. Keep in touch by asking them for their business card and return the gesture by sharing your contact information. Try inviting them for a studio visit or set up a time to show them your portfolio. It doesn’t hurt to follow up with an invitation via email too.