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Transition from Student Designer to Career Designer

Paul Carew


Approach the On Ramp


Following are some things to consider before you put your hands on the wheel. During this step in the process, you’ll do some industry and market research to better inform your job search process.

1. Do your homework

Study the market you wish to live in. Determine whether you’d prefer to work for an agency or as part of an in-house group within a business. This thinking will help you to create a hit-list of companies you’ll contact.

2. Attend industry events and conferences

Meet industry folks and make important contacts. You will be able to learn about the industry and market through these events. Participate in local chapters of AIGA or the American Advertising Federation (or any other design groups in your market).

3. Find the right fit

Determine which organizations are a good fit for your creative talents, philosophy, or personality. This will ensure you know yourself and can narrow your search to a focused list of needs in your new careeer.

4. Treat your job search as a creative campaign

Consider the right approach for you. You may decide to invest your time on a promotional or direct mail piece. Or, you may choose to put your time into a website showcasing your work. Plan the steps that you will take to get to the interview stage, as the process doesn’t stop there.

5. Tailor your cover letter

Invest time in a cover letter for each position and organization you are interested in. Demonstrate your understanding of the company, their philosophy, type of work, and why you are a good fit. Write your cover letter to introduce yourself, not simply a recap of your resume.

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