Graphic Design Portfolio

Introduction

By CRAIG KUNCE

This course will help you land your first job in graphic design. It will take you step-by-step through the job search process and help you prepare and create the necessary materials you will need when applying for jobs and beginning your careers.

Start Here! Choosing a Career Path

Which Job in The Graphic’s Field is Best for Me?

Begin by seriously assessing your own talents, skills, interests and desires for your career. Think about your favorite classes during college. Did you really like Web design? Prepress? Graphic Design? What projects did you like most? Designing brochures and print advertisements? Web pages? Animations? Pre-flighting and preparing files for printing?

Now, picture yourself walking into your first job… It’s 8:00 a.m., and you sit down at your desk/computer/work station and are about to begin an 8 hour work day. In which areas of the graphics field do you feel most comfortable working? Which areas best fit your skills and talents? Will you feel overwhelmed doing any of the jobs mentioned in figure 1? While it is okay to feel a little nervous on your first day, you shouldn’t feel like you can’t do the job—this will set you up for defeat before you start. So… think carefully about your abilities, skills, education, work experience, and desires, and choose a job that fits you.

Also keep in mind that you are a well-trained designer who has just completed several years of intensive training learning how to design and create professional marketing and advertising materials. One thing is certain: you are talented and have shown the devotion and commitment needed to make it this far—you are ready for your first job. Your instructors have helped you learn and watched you grow over the course of your education, trust that they also see that you are ready for your first job.

Be confident, choose a career path that is best for you, and go get that job!

Look through the table of job possibilities in the graphics field (figure 1, page 2). Where do you see yourself starting your career? Remember that you can begin anywhere on the table and always move into another area as your career progresses. Don’t feel locked in to any area.

If you are sincerely not sure what area you want to pursue (many graduating design students tell me this) we can design your portfolio to be a well-rounded graphic designer’s portfolio that you can use to apply for a variety of jobs. If you take this approach, I suggest you have several extra samples that allow you to “weight” your portfolio to the job you are applying for. For example: If you have a well-rounded graphic designer’s portfolio, but the job you want to apply for is primarily for a web designer, simply replace some of your samples with more web design samples. You will still have a well-rounded portfolio, but it is now “weighted” to the specific needs of that job.

How do I get Started?

Taking this course is a good first step, but only your first. This class will lead you through the job search process and show you what you should expect along the way. Ultimately, though, you are going to have to design a plan of attack to get the job you really want. I suggest a consistent two-prong approach which we will discuss in this class. I also strongly suggest that you start setting short-term and long term goals for yourself. Examples of good short-term goals could be to commit to searching for potential job leads 2–4 hours each week and then commit to sending out 10–20 resumes each week. Good long-term goals could be to choose a career path—pick a job that you want to have in 20 years—and set out to gain experience in the jobs necessary to qualify for that job in 20 years. I received this advise at the age of 19, and believe it of not, I followed it. I lost my way a couple of times, but I got back on track and found that I realized my dream job(s) in 10–15 years. I realize 10–15 years seems like a long time, but in the span of a 40–50 year career, it goes by quickly.

Finding a job is hard work! Selling your talents, skills and abilities is a draining, difficult and time-consuming process. But it can also be a path to one of the greatest rewards in your life—a job you love! Stick with it, it’s worth it.

This course is also about reducing your fears and anxiety during the job search process by preparing you for the average things you will encounter—and hopefully some of the unexpected. While you never know who you will be interviewing with, and you can never prepare for every situation, you can fine-tune how you present yourself, answer interview questions, and present your portfolio. These are the main areas we will focus on.

career options