Graduate designers will succeed if they start at the bottom of the ladder

Why is it that so many graduate designers whinge about not getting jobs because they don’t have enough experience? If an ad says two years experience, that’s what it means.

If, however an ad requires a recently graduated junior, then no experience is necessary. However, here we have the problem. Graduate designers think far too much of themselves to accept a “junior” position. They seem to think that they have all the knowledge and creative ability to walk straight into the top job.

My advice to them is quite simple – get real.

The majority of designers graduated at some time or other, and those that are now firmly established in the industry had to start somewhere – this is invariably at the bottom.

Having recently interviewed a number of designers for a junior position, one other point I would make is presentation. Some presented their work in a very professional manner, others, however, did not.

Many applicants who were not shortlisted even failed the CV test. If you claim to be a designer, then fail to present your CV in a professional manner, what hope do you have of progressing in an industry where presentation is paramount?

Finally, when I first started out, it took me seven months before I found a job as a designer, or more accurately a paste-up artist.

It was the first rung of the ladder, and, most importantly, it enabled me to climb to the next rung a year later.

Ultimately, I managed to reach the heady heights of Creative Director, but now assume the title of Senior Designer within an organisation that employs a small in-house marketing and publicity department.

It may not sound like much, but believe me, as a designer I have a lot of influence on virtually all the publicity and marketing material we produce.

Martyn Feather

Senior Designer

Bunzl Fine Paper

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