How to Find a Graphic Design Job: 6 Tech-Savvy Tricks You've Been Missing
You’ve got that graphic design degree under your belt. Or maybe you’re still taking classes but well on your way to graduating. What’s the next step? Find yourself a killer design job.
Graduating is a tremendous accomplishment (so please don’t let this next statement minimize that), but what’s a graphic design degree without a killer graphic design job? The job market can be tough to navigate and often the hardest step is simply finding a job that could be the right fit. You’ve perfected your resume, portfolios and cover letter, but without a list of solid companies to submit to, the process can be frustrating and seem all for naught!
Even if you’ve just started your college journey, it’s never too soon to start strategizing your plan-of-attack for job hunting. Everybody knows about Monster and Career Builder, but what are some other ways to find these coveted design jobs?
We enlisted some graphic design gurus to create a list of some creative, tech-savvy tips you may not be aware of.
1. Optimize your portfolio website for SEO
48 percent of employers use Google or other search engines during the hiring process, according to a 2013 study conducted by CareerBuilder. So if you want to increase your odds of being discovered by potential employers, search engine optimization (SEO) is a must!
SEO helps improve the visibility of your website by incorporating relevant keywords and moving your website (or portfolio) to the top of the search results. You can optimize your website by following a few basic SEO tips. There are also many companies today who specialize in managing SEO for websites if you’d rather leave it to the pros.
“While you don’t need to be an expert in SEO, give consideration to the keywords potential employers might be searching for in the captions [of your website] and copy on your portfolio,” says Drew Elrick, a freelance graphic designer and graphic designer at University of Northwestern - St. Paul. Elrick says this will help your site rank higher within the search results, increasing the potential traffic to your website.
2. Get strategic with Pinterest
There are plenty of awesome ways that graphic designers can utilize the ever-popular social media platform, Pinterest. You might think this website is just for collecting recipes or interior decorating plans but there are several ways you could be leveraging this platform to strategically further your design career.
A good place to start is to create a Pinterest board that acts as a living, virtual portfolio. Pinning your designs is a great way to showcase your work and potentially gain new clients or catch the eye of an employer.
"Creating a featured work board will direct prospective employers straight to the pieces you want to highlight,” says Jillian Pedersen, social media manager at Leverage-PR and freelance graphic designer. She advises you to only place the very best of your work on this board in order to make a stunning first impression.
Follow the link for more ways to leverage Pinterest: “4 Ways You Should be Using Pinterest to Advance Your Graphic Design Career”
3. Set up a Google alert for graphic design jobs in your area
If you’ve never used Google Alerts before, you’ve been missing out—they’re fantastic!
A Google alert will notify you every time a specific term or phrase appears on the web, whether it’s within an article, on a company website or on an employment site. This is a handy tool that will bring the open graphic design positions right to your email inbox.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re looking for a position in Minneapolis. Simply visit the Google alerts web page, type in “hiring AND graphic designer AND minneapolis” and press enter. You will then receive routine emails with a list of any time these three terms were used together. You’ll find scores of positions you never would have encountered before!
4. Get a LinkedIn profile and fill it with recommendations
If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, you should be! LinkedIn is unique from other major social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This platform makes it easy to connect with business partners, former coworkers or supervisors and even potential employers.
One of the great perks of a LinkedIn profile is you can use it to request online recommendations from current or former employers or colleagues. These endorsements are then posted for all of the world to see on your profile—which can only mean good things for you in the career world.
Julie Rustad, a freelance graphic designer, suggests asking for recommendations from any clients for which you do freelance design work. Constructive and confident words from previous clients will be encouraging to others interested in hiring you.
5. Sign up at a creative staffing firm
“Signing up with a creative staffing firm like WunderLand gives you access to jobs that may not be advertised anywhere,” says Judi Wunderlich, co-founder of WunderLand. “Staffing firms can get your resume in front of the hiring manager…not buried inside a database with hundreds of thousands of others.”
Let them do the work for you! Once you submit your credentials, resume and connect with a recruiter, it’s only a matter of time before you’re contacted about an open position for which you might be perfect. The creative staffing firm is committed to find the best fit for both the client and designer, so the positions presented to you will be catered to your personal skills and interests, rather than simply settling for whatever you may encounter on a job board.
6. Stay active in the online design community
While you may prefer to go it alone, making connections with other graphic designers in your area can pay big dividends. You may hear about open graphic design positions while attending a design show or even through a simple chat over lunch with a fellow designer. The design field is often driven by word-of-mouth, which makes networking one of the most beneficial ways to open new doors.
There are many ways you can make your portfolio work widely available, according to Nick Grant, co-founder of Killer Infographics. He stresses that larger forums such as Behance, Dribbble, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Pinterest have incredible potential for getting your work out in front of new faces.
It’s like the age-old question: If you create a great design but nobody sees it—is it REALLY a great design?
Above all else, remember this …
Finding a job takes time. While it’s tempting to believe that graduates are hired before they even flip the tassel, the reality is that it can sometimes take a while to snag that dream career. You must have patience and persistence to make it happen.
Now you know how to find a graphic design job using a few handy tech tricks. But before taking your career search to the next step, it's time to make sure your portfolio is up to par. Check out these expert tips for creating an impressive graphic design portfolio!