Finding a job in the design industry can be challenging depending on how prepared you are and how clear you are on what you want. Of course, the most important aspect is experience and most companies are not willing to risk hiring someone without it. Start by getting very familiar with your industry from the inside and preparing yourself with the proper tools for getting employed.
It is vital to create a CV and cover letter that will entice potential employers and reflect your creativity. Keep in mind that it’s best to keep it relatively short and that the experience you have listed is relevant to the position that you are applying for. Design your CV so that it’s visual and reflects what you are offering the agency, while still keeping it clean and organized. Be sure to include a link to your personal website/portfolio so that everyone can have the opportunity to see your work.
Your portfolio should be a selective compilation of your best work, even if you don’t have much to show. It is a great opportunity to present some of your skills and techniques that will lead to discussions with your potential employer. Keep your best work first because people won’t usually look at everything. Websites such as Dribbble and Cargo Collective are good tools for gaining exposure, especially if you link them to your personal sites. It can be helpful to bring along a printed portfolio of your work to interviews. Even without extensive experience behind you, your portfolio can be a good showcase of your abilities and talents, and using the web for exposure through various different channels and social media platforms can be very useful.
There are plenty of job boards and websites that feature jobs in web design due to the large amounts of people from this field that visit them often. Here are a few great websites that are continuously updated with new listings: Coroflot, CrunchBoard, Web Designer Wall, Yahoo Hot Jobs, CenterNetworks Job Board, Authentic Jobs. If you are just starting out, you may want to consider internship opportunities and working for free to gain experience and add more work to your portfolio. Be on the lookout for new openings but also try using recruitment agencies for the most up-to-date vacancies.
The interview is a two-way process where you get the chance to see the environment where you could be working, and the employer can get to know you as a person, not just your work. Be mindful of how you present yourself and how you capture their attention. Come prepared with research on the position and company, but be open to asking questions so that you get a better understanding of what they are looking for. Be prepared to apply your creative skills whenever possible and keep relevant things such as university results, LinkedIn recommendations, and other positive feedback.
It’s up to you which direction you want to take in your career and how you want to pursue it but be aware of the vast amount of resources you have available on the internet that you can take advantage of to expand your knowledge, from design blogs to in-depth tutorials. Remember to utilize all the helpful tools available for networking and getting your work noticed.