Make the most of your opportunities to find a job

I saw Dean Usher’s comments about persistence and passion leading him to a job in graphic design (DW 8 January) and can relate to his comments.

I saw Dean Usher’s comments about persistence and passion leading him to a job in graphic design (DW 8 January) and can relate to his comments.

After graduating in 2002, finding my first job as a graphic designer was extremely difficult. Although I have more ‘working’ experience than most of my other friends at university, it did not help me find a job.

Registering with recruitment consultancies was a waste of time. It isn’t until after they persuade you to register that they tell you that you don’t have enough experience. It appears that consultancies only exist for designers with two or more years’ experience and even then you do not stay on their database for long.

Six months later, after lots of rejection letters and phone calls, I finally managed to find my first job in design, for a small publishing/ marketing company.

Although it has taught me a lot, finding my ‘ideal’ job is still proving to be difficult and a year and a half on, I am still working towards my dream – to work for a large publishing company on magazines. Hopefully, one day, my hard work and perseverence will pay off and someone who is willing to give me a chance will see what I can really do.

If you are serious about finding a job in graphic design, my advice to other graduates is to knock on every door and persevere. Unfortunately, it’s a tough world out there and you will get lots of rejection, so be prepared.

Don’t let university/ art college fool you into thinking that finding a job is easy – it’s not and once you have a job, the transition from university work to ‘real’ work is huge. Unfortunately, university doesn’t really teach you all you need to know and it is very much like driving a car: just as you learn most about driving after you pass you test, you will do most of your real learning – the important stuff that has a practical purpose – when you find a job.

In this life, it’s not what you know, but who you know that makes things easier. Some graduates are lucky and find jobs straight away – through contacts. Others struggle and fail to find something after years of looking and fall into a job they dislike, while some persevere on the slow path, gradually moving towards something they’ve always wanted to do.

I know people (mostly working in sales) who pretend to be graphic designers and preach to us about how to do our job, even though they have no real idea about the restrictions of print and design; this will be something that most graduates will learn about in their first job.

Remember, life is full of opportunities and it’s your call on how you use it for your benefit. Good luck to all those graduate designers out there.

Melisa Lee


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