Studying design at University is no easy task. We’re told at induction that we would be pulling all-nighters, that we need serious money for the right tools, and that many of us won’t make it. Once you do graduate, you might be confused about what to do next. Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for that dream job.
“It’s not what you know, It’s who you know”
I’d heard it over and over again. I never believed it, but the random connections I’ve made over time have helped me immensely, and I don’t think I’d be where I am now without them. University is a competitive environment, but you’ll be doing yourself a favour if you can learn to build relationships with others – you never know what opportunities may arise.
We’re not in it for the money
An average design wage is not exorbitant, we do it because we love it. Even then, don’t expect to find a paying job straight after graduation. Unpaid internships are beneficial to both you and the employer, and in this saturated market – they are also necessary. Make the most of the time you spend in a professional environment, hopefully you’ll be surrounded by veterans who are willing to pass on their knowledge. Kudos to you if you can turn your internship into paid employment, but if not – it’s still a valuable experience and a good stepping stone.
You need a thick skin
As a designer, you need to learn to invite feedback (which can sometimes feel like criticism). You will experience this while studying, but it’s a bit tougher in the real world, especially when it comes from real clients or your seniors. Remember that every bit of feedback is useful. Take it, learn from it, apply it next time.
Practise makes perfect
Your education may be coming to an end, but you never really stop learning. The world around us is constantly changing and advancing, and it’s up to us to keep our skills sharp. Refining your craft in your own time shouldn’t feel like a chore. Creating a professional Instagram account or joining a creative community like Dribbble will help you in the long run.
Be confident when meeting employers, be prepared to show your work and explain your skill set. A clean, personal portfolio goes a long way. Don’t let your doubts get the better of you, and don’t let an opportunity pass you by.