Students need a helping hand, not a kick in the teeth

At a time when hundreds of new graduates are competing for very few jobs, having a pop at Gerard Locke’s self-promotional mailer (Diary, DW 19 June) was insensitive. The last thing students need now is a kick in the teeth, especially when trying to be pro-active.

I know designers are busy, but if you do get a CV or promotion from a student, try to reply to them with a few words of encouragement. I still have the letter Hat-Trick’s Jim Sutherland sent me when he was at HGV – a letter from a designer you admire can lift the spirits. A few basic pointers that helped me are:

1. Don’t over-design your CV. Keep it simple. It’s hard to sell yourself on one page so do it over two, but don’t waffle. List a few college projects and briefly say what they involved. Spellcheck it. Have a page or two at the back with samples of your work. Send something creative with your CV to make it stand out that shows you can do direct mail; if you didn’t do a self-promotion project at college, do one now. The covering letter is vital. Briefly describe yourself, your personality and your approach to design.

2. Improve the projects you did at college. Brush up on your software skills. Try recruitment agencies and contact local groups.

3. Working for your favourite design group is unlikely to happen yet – it’s a goal to work toward. Be prepared for rejection letters, consider them character-building.

In an interview be yourself; enthusiastic and confident, but not cocky. Learn about the company via its website and ask questions.

Tom Ward

Graphic designer

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