School’s Out! So Now What?

Whether you just graduated or you’re just on summer break, it’s important to make the next few months count. Yes, we’ve heard the job market is terrible. But it doesn’t have to slow you down. Here are a few tips to help put your graphic design education to work, even if you’re not working:

1. Fine tune your resume. And email signature. And business cards.

Spend time packaging yourself as a cohesive brand, with streamlined interview materials. Your resume and cover letter are the first examples of your design prowess that a future employer will see, so show off your graphic design education from the start. Find a few ideas on self promotion here.

2. Polish up your interview skills.

This often gets overlooked, but veteran designer David Airey says a strong interview can make or break you. You have the time, so practice as much as you can.

3. If you aren’t interning, start working.

Have a favorite store or hangout? Offer to do some pro-bono design work for them. You might not get paid, but you can get work for your portfolio and experience as a “freelancer.”

4. Network.

Get tuned into the design scene where you live. Link up with design clubs or professional guilds. Attend design seminars and build a voice in the design community. You can meet potential employers and you might just learn something.

5.  Have an open mind.

If you don’t see your dream job on the horizon, think about different ways to reach your goals. Could learning the business side of things make you more marketable? Would a job at a small design firm offer more opportunity for growth? Is *gasp* going back for more specialized graphic design education an option? Be flexible and get all the experience you can, even if it’s not what you originally planned.

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