Ten Do’s and Don’ts
Below is a list of ten do’s and don’ts learned from informational interviews over the past few months. They are not in any particular order and represent a sample of the advice the interactive design class received from design professionals.
- Always do more. After your class project is done, take it further. Design all the packaging, the brand, everything you can think of to complete the project.
- Analyze your own work. By analyzing your own work you become a better designer; you discover your style, what you like and don’t like, and learn what is good and bad.
- Have a good understanding of typography. Not many students truly understand typography and use it well. By understanding and using typography you set yourself apart from others who don’t use it as well.
- Always have your own questions ready when you are being interviewed. This shows that you are interested in the firm and the position for which you are applying. Research prior to the interview (and prior to applying) and know the company at which you are applying.
- Good companies hire people, not positions. Companies that are worth working for will look not only at your skills, but also at your personality. Your personality needs to match that of the company. If it does, they will be more likely to hire you even if your skillset doesn’t exactly match what they are looking for.
- Be excited about what you do. This excitement and passion will help you get jobs. It is important for firms that their designers love what they do.
- Be genuine. Again, your personality is important. Be who you are. If that particular firm doesn’t want to hire you because of who you are, find a firm that matches your personality.
- Remember your manners. Be humble and polite. Make sure to arrive on time and follow up with a thank-you note.
- Whatever you do, do it well. If you specialize in one area of design, do that well. If you are going to do multiple things, do each one well. Don’t settle for less.
- Network. Meeting people and making connections can help you get jobs. Many jobs are found because of networking. Ask for informational interviews; put your name out there in front of other designers and potential employers.
- Don’t put stuff into your portfolio that you don’t want to do. Your portfolio is advertising what you can do. If you won’t enjoy it, don’t advertise that you can do it, otherwise you might end up doing something you don’t like.
- Don’t rely on being present as your portfolio is reviewed. Your portfolio needs to be able to explain itself. At times you might send your portfolio to a firm or drop it off to be reviewed. You won’t be able to explain the details of a particular project in person.
- Don’t forget to express appreciation. This is part of being well-mannered. Show your appreciation for the time that your interviewer has spent with you. Send a thank-you note through the mail too. Not many people use the U.S. postal service to send thank you cards.
- Don’t procrastinate. Stay on top of your work, whether it is academic or in the professional workplace. Don’t procrastinate when looking for a job, either. Start early and do things well.
- Don’t be boring. You are not a boring person; show how interesting you are. Also, no one will want to hire a boring person. Firms look for people who are interesting and actually have a life.
- Don’t be unsure of your ability. Be confident, but not prideful. Know where your skills are and where they are not; own your work.
- Don’t let intimidation keep you from pursuing a job. Apply anyway. It will stretch you and you will grow. You will also make connections.
- Don’t get discouraged when creativity runs low. Keep going and it will come back. Everyone goes through phases of low creativity and passion. Don’t give up, but rather plow through it.
- Don’t forget your past work. It can be useful, either for ideas or for an actual project.
- Don’t be disorganized. Come prepared to the interview. Organize yourself so that what you need to find is easily accessible. In an interview, organization helps with the flow.