Before you even fill out an application, there are several things you must do to prepare yourself in searching for a job. Here is my list of the 5 most important items to prepare before you begin your job search:
1. Update your resume and portfolio
This is a definite no brainer, but I know young adults my age have a hard time with this kind of concept. I’ve already written the resume once, why do I have to keep changing it? You should also keep in mind that you must tailor your resume to the job you are seeking. This does NOT by ANY MEANS allow you to write an objective to your resume. NO no no…no.
A portfolio is very important for those seeking a job in the creative industry. While it is very important to keep an updated online portfolio of your work, it is still necessary to have visual samples of your work that you can bring in with you to a job interview. Constantly update your portfolio with your best work. And remember, portfolios don’t have to be chronological! Keep in mind that this is your first impression you get to make on a potential employer, so make sure your best work is first.
2. Research the position you want to hold
So you know you want to be a graphic designer, but what exactly is the job description of a graphic designer? You know you make cool stuff with Adobe software, create some logos, maybe do some web stuff. There are many different jobs with varying descriptions of a graphic designer. Read several different job descriptions, learn some similarities, and know that when you are applying at a job the description may be a little different depending on the company you are applying.
3. Research companies that offer this type of position – even if the position is already filled
In my case, I have scanned through almost every single ad agency’s website that is based in Reno. Every place is different, but it’s good to get a feel for how places operate. There will be some big differences from company to company, but there will also be some similarities that are helpful to note. Learning about your industry will better help you understand the area of work you are hoping to get in to.
4. Practice your interview skills
If you’re like me, you are an absolute nervous wreck right before you go into an interview. The key is to keep calm and remember you are a human being, simply having a conversation with another human being. Then, talking (bragging) about your accomplishments and qualifications will come naturally. It’s always good to practice day to day conversation techniques. For someone with an introverted personality type, this can be extremely difficult. Friendly conversation with people like your hairdresser, your mailman, or someone you sit next to on the bus will help you feel more comfortable in talking to other people (possible employers) about yourself.
5. Apply to places you would actually want to work
Make a list of the places you want to work. Even if they aren’t currently hiring, you could send an email to their hiring manager to introduce yourself and ask if any opportunities will arise in the near future. Remember, it never hurts to ask! Don’t apply to a job that is kind-of-sort-of related to what you want to do, especially if you couldn’t see yourself in that role. You will be much happier in the long run if you focus your energies on finding the perfect job instead of taking whatever is most available.
My summer internship at John Ascuaga’s Nugget is coming to an end, so wish me luck in the next steps of my professional career as I search for a job! If you have any tips to add, please leave them in the comments below!