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How to Make Your Design Job Application Stand Out

Author: Nathan Young
Design

Recruiters are often faced with ambitious, eager-to-learn design grads asking the same sort of questions: ‘what roles do you have at my level?’ or ‘who’s currently hiring?’ The truth is that even though the job market is booming at the moment, jobs for junior designers are few and far between. And any job that does surface is often snapped up by someone with more experience anyway.

So, what can you do to differentiate your design job application from the rest? What do employers and recruiters look for?

Portfolios

This is your main chance to impress and really demonstrate your creative ability, use it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked for 4 years in Manchester’s top creative agency or a leading in-house retail company, if your portfolio isn’t sexy, employers won’t be impressed. Help yourself by making your portfolio stand out.

What makes a good portfolio, then?

Diversity. Even if you’re a digital designer, showcase your experience across both digital mediums and traditional print-based ones. If you’ve designed for Web Banners, App, POS, packaging and logos, show them all on your portfolio. The wider your skillset, the greater the chance you have of getting a bite.

Explanation. we'd always suggest adding a short body of text to any project showcased on your portfolio. Without it, how can recruiters or hiring managers know what role you had in that project? I want to know your thought process, how many others worked on the brief, what you found hard, even if you enjoyed it. The natural assumption is that you haven’t actually contributed that much if you don’t add an explanation, so at least add a small description in.

CV’s

It is (almost) as important to have an attractive CV as it is a portfolio. Get rid of that template Word CV from your year 12 careers fair and start from scratch. Being a designer, you have way more scope than other professions to be creative with your approach. Use it. There’s loads of ways to be creative with your CV – take a risk. More often than not it will gain more attention than not. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t work and someone will point you in the right direction.

Quick CV Tips

* No pictures – despite what you look like, you want to be judged on your experience not how you look, right?

* Date of birth – another thing for people to be prejudice against, so why include it?

* Any graphics – should enhance it, not detract attention away from your experience; we’ve seen parrots, cats, owls, badgers and more on design CV’s which left us asking, why?

These are just a few ways to make yourself stand out from the design crowd. What have your experiences been like as a Junior? How did you differentiate yourself?

If you would like further advice or to chat about our latest design opportunities, get in touch with Senior Creative Consultant Nathan Young

Forward Role are the UK's leading marketing, digital and technology recruitment agency. check out all of our latest Design & UX roles

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