Graduate interview advice for January job hunts – guest blog from Paul Mellor

A guest blog from Paul Mellor, creative director of consultancy Mellor & Scott.

Statistics show that more people hand in their resignations in January than in any month of the year, so the good news is that there are likely to be more designer vacancies in January. I’ve listed a few points that you might find helpful when trying to impress the creative director sat opposite you in your interview.

Paul Mellor
Paul Mellor

Take time to review current projects – Show that you have researched the projects the consultancy has recently completed. Check the press, have an opinion on the projects and don’t be afraid to say how you would improve it. Additional information can be slipped in when asked ‘Do you have any questions’, or you could compare work that you have done to a project they have listed. Equating your experience and skills to those that already exist in the company help the interviewee to picture you within the bosom of their business.

Show your sketchwork – Sketchwork is vital. I rate it so highly that if a CV doesn’t show sketchwork then that person will probably not be considered. You must be able to sketch and this must be demonstrated in your portfolio. The importance of sketchwork is in the ability to communicate early ideas to the client and other team members and without evidence that you can do this then your importance (and in my mind, employability) is reduced.

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas – You must show creativity and the ability to solve problems. Consultancies want people that can produce ideas that they can then sell, so you must, at all, costs demonstrate that you can produce new ideas – you must be an asset. The easiest way to demonstrate this is talk about your role in a project e.g. you suggested a different direction which was well received, or you instigated a different methodology.

Show relevant work – Relevance is paramount. Don’t show irrelvent positions such as Saturday jobs, paper rounds and summer jobs above any relevant design experience. Another important point is look at the services that the company provides and tailor your CV accordingly. If you lack experience in that area then it may be worth including any steps you’ve undertaken to fill the shortfall.

Put your best foot forward – Choose the best pieces of work you have and put those in your CV and portfolio, don’t flood people with reams of meaningless work. Chose your work carefully and tailor it to the specific interview, but above all make sure you showcase work that you can talk about – don’t be afraid to have an opinion!

Demonstrate aptitude, initiative and honesty

Aptitude – Nobody expects you to know everything but I am looking for people who show the potential to learn.

Initiative – Show you are prepared to work hard at developing your own ideas. Don’t be afraid of referring to any artistic differences you have experienced in the past just ensure you say how you overcame them or how they were used to the benefit of the project.

Honesty -Don’t lie – an employer will be taking a lot of time in order to commit to a new member of staff so will have analysed what you have presented.

Dress to impress – Adhere to the dress code, and where you can’t find one, dress up and not down.

Hide Comments (3)Show Comments (3)
  • Raymond D Murphy November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I enjoyed this blog. Most of it is solid information, but I found the honesty and openness that Paul suggests very rest-assuring. That said I found myself wondering how sketch work should be presented, especially in a folio which is worked to a point that it could represent a final piece of communication just like any other paid piece of creative work.


  • John November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I really appreciate this information, it’s very helpful. I’m happy I read this before I start applying for graduate jobs to build my career. Thought I’d share!

  • sarah hanna November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I want to learn I’m drawing and design, but I want to help so I can work something special.
    can you help me ?? 🙂

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