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20 Steps to Get Prepared for a Career as a Graphic Designer

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A lack of preparation is a major reason why many design students struggle to transition from student to employee. Graphic design is a highly competitive industry. It’s crucial to stand out from your competition. Graphic design is an industry that is rapidly growing and requires many skills from its employees. Many students have difficulty with real graphic design jobs because they don’t know what to expect. We have put together a list that will help you prepare for your career, regardless of your stage in career progression.

1. Go to School

Few graphic designers are able to combine such an impressive set of skills with the awareness and knowledge necessary to succeed right away. A graphic design degree is an impressive achievement. Employers will be more impressed by the fact that you have a certificate than someone who doesn’t have one. While you still need to have a solid portfolio, having a graphic design degree will make you stand out.

2. Do not be afraid to work hard

It will take a lot of work to get your first job after graduating from graphic design school. There are many opportunities for work, but you must be proactive and look for it. It will be much easier to find people willing to give you a job in graphic design if you do your research and get to know the right people.

3. Figure Out Your Specialization

Graphic design can be done in many ways: logo design, business cards design, brochure design or identity and branding. Discover which channel you like the best and where you work best. A specialization can help you stand out in your graphic design career.

4. Plan Out Your Courses

You should plan your courses to fit your lifestyle and schedule. You can work with school counselors to accelerate your graphic design program and get started sooner. You can also incorporate this option into your program if you want to take more classes in design (which is always a good idea).

5. Be nice

You will be successful in the industry if you are nice. Remember that graphic designers are often very busy. If you are calling, emailing, or interviewing potential employers, be polite. They are taking time out of their busy schedule to speak with you. Respect others and you will be more likely to receive the same back.

6. Network

As a graphic designer student, networking is one of your most important skills. The sooner you get started the better. #5 and #6 can be connected. People will refer you to other people if they feel you are nice. Be friendly and keep in touch with your contacts.

7. Master Your Software

Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are all tools that you need to be comfortable using. These tools are expected to be familiar and comfortable by most employers once you graduate.

8. Make the most of resources

Many of these services are not available to college students. These services exist to assist you. Help with resumes, interview skills and other job search needs. They will be more than happy for you to assist.

9. Side projects or freelance

It is a great way to gain experience while you are still young. You can create your own projects and freelance. Students can also make extra money while studying graphic design. Side projects can be a great way to add work that is entirely yours to your portfolio. You can work with real clients on real-world projects by freelancing. These experiences can be used to improve and sharpen your skills.

10. Be open to criticism

No one’s plans are perfect. It’s a great way to improve your skills by asking for feedback from others. Sometimes it can be difficult to receive feedback because it can feel as though your work is being attacked. Keep in mind to distinguish yourself from your work, and to use feedback to improve.

11. Find Graphic Design Internships/Placements

Being an expert in your field is the best way to stand out. Graphic design agencies will look at your resume and consider you an expert. Call or email graphic design agencies if you are interested in gaining the best experience. Many agencies will accept interns without you advertising (and may even pay you).

12. Read

When you are preparing to become a graphic designer, reading is one of your most valuable skills. You will need to be able keep up with changes in the industry. Reading books and reading articles online will help you become a better designer.

13. Learn about Business

Your business knowledge will be a benefit later on in your career. You will need to be able to manage a business if you want to work full-time as a freelancer. You can benefit from taking classes in marketing, business communication, and economics.

14. Be original

A personal style is essential. You won’t get much from the thousands of graphic design students who might be applying for the exact same jobs as you. Branding yourself is a great way to stand out. Your portfolio, e-mails and resume, as well as your cover letter, cover letter, and social media presence, should be branded. All of them should be consistent.

15. Make a portfolio

A portfolio is not enough to get you far in the industry of graphic design. Portfolios can help you brand yourself and market your services. You don’t need many portfolio pieces. Side projects can be created for you, friends, family, or for clients.

16. Create a resume and cover letter

Although some people believe that the resume is dead in the design world, it’s still a good idea to have one. They won’t be able to review your portfolio if there are too many applications for a graphic designer job. They will instead look at your resume to determine if you meet the minimum requirements. Remember to include your name, the reason you are contacting this person and why you would like to work in graphic design.

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17. Follow people who inspire you

It is important to follow people you admire because it can provide inspiration. Twitter is a great place for graphic designers as you can follow all the “leaders” in the industry.

18. Create a list of places/people you want to work for

Do your research before you graduate if your goal is to work at a particular agency. Do they have designers on the horizon? What size is their company? How many employees does the company have? Is their work of the same quality as yours? Are you able to see yourself in the company’s environment?

19. Participate in Events

While being active online is great, it is also great to meet others offline and make connections with your community. Graphic design students can afford to attend many conferences, but it is worth the expense.

20. Do your research on job requirements

Graphic designers’ job requirements will vary from one company to another. This is a great way to prepare for your job. It lets you know what the job entails. It can be nerve-racking to transition from student to employee if you don’t know what you employers will expect of you.

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