The demand for graphic designers and multimedia artists and animators is expected to continue to grow through the year 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, it is likely competition in the field will continue to grow as well.
Because of the competition a digital designer might face during the job hunting phase, you may wonder how applicants can make themselves standout in an interview. There are three keys, according to Jennifer Ayotte, the dean of Rasmussen College’s School of Design. She says to land a digital design job, an applicant needs to be prepared, show they are versatile and be flexible.
Before ever getting the job, you must secure an interview. In digital design you cannot do that without a great portfolio. Rasmussen College offers a course in Multimedia Portfolio Development to help students organize and highlight their best work. Experts suggest displaying three different skills or styles of art you are talented in to show your versatility. Ayotte also encourages digital design students to have several projects in their portfolios that are not school-related.
“Even if you have to do some work probono it will pay off,” says Ayotte. “Showing a potential employer you can deliver for a real client from beginning to end will earn you more respect and credibility.”
The preparation doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve secured the interview, you should be prepared to show them what you can do. Chances are you are one of hundreds applying for the same job. Ayotte says the first thing a potential employer will want to know is more about your formal education and software competency. Be ready to tell them what programs you would use for various projects like web design, video editing etc.
Second, Ayotte says to be prepared to answer questions about how you manage work flow. Be ready to explain everything from start to finish.
How did you come up with the idea? How would you research and select specific colors and fonts? Be ready to explain why you chose all the theory-based pre-software steps you did, all the way through to how you would present the project to a client.
If you can explain concept generation, software execution and presentation you are set. The success of design is dependent on the designer’s ability to emotionally connect to a project and relay that emotional connection to the audience, says Ayotte.
“An employer wants to see that you can think, act and talk, that you are capable and well-rounded. It is all about the theory of design,” she added.
Lastly, Ayotte says a potential employer will want to know what makes the applicant tick and what kind of projects get them going. She says to look at this as an opportunity to highlight your other skills, special interests and to show how diverse you can be. Let the interviewer know what other kinds of projects you like to do with the software you use.
“Employers expect to do some training, but they want to see your potential and what you can do with that software,” says Ayotte.
All employers, regardless of the industry, love to see applicants with passion, who are eager and willing to learn, who are multi-faceted and team players. Ayotte says it is also important in digital design to be able to adapt to the ever-changing technology. She says there are massive software changes and updates every few years and you need to be ready and willing to learn them to succeed in this field.
Ayotte’s personal advice to design students is to break out of your bubble, expand your job search and be open to relocating.
“My first job out of school was 2,000 miles away,” She says. “It was one of the best moves I ever made because it opened a lot of doors for me. Don’t close yourself off to opportunity and new locations. It could be the best career move you ever make.”