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Old 08-20-2009, 09:47 PM   #1
Ronald
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Default Job Hunting Concerns

The other day, I called over 20 places looking for a job in the field of graphic design, page layout, and/or photography, and all but one business said they had no open positions. However, the one company needed someone who knows both Dreamweaver and Adobe Flash for web design; the latter I'm somewhat familiar with but the former I've never tried. He also needs someone for physical production work which I assume I could handle.

Is it just the poor economy, or do some businesses simply dismiss you when asked about open job positions? Many of them firmly spouted "NO" just as I finished the question. I remember my former instructor telling me I wasn't "hands-on" enough when calling about internships. Would my odds somehow be improved if in person I came to the businesses and asked? Most of the places I called are about 30-40 miles away, so it'd definitely be a day-long ordeal driving around to dozens of locations.

Also, does a physical mailed-in résumé have a greater impact than sending one via email?

I'm happy to be working freelance for a chamber of commerce and gradually gaining experience, portfolio credibility, and some money from it while I work at a warehouse, but it's been over a year since I finished college and I'd like to have an entry-level design position within the next year.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:06 AM   #2
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The usual way of seeking a creative job is to assemble a portfolio and then — when you know there is an opening somewhere — make an appointment to show it in person. (Never leave a portfolio; not only might it get damaged but leaving it without its primary spokesperson, i.e. you, negates its value.)

But these are not normal times, and many businesses cut creative jobs early, and re-fill them late. Or they contract with freelancers on a per-project basis. Or buy stock photos, clip art, and expect their existing employees to master Photoshop, InDesign, etc., and do the job in-house — regardless of skill and talent.

Are you willing/able to relocate? Do you really want a full-time job? Is there an active Craig’s List in your area? Do you see job offerings that appeal to you that are looking for people with your skills? Do you read any of the design magazines? Some of them have want ads. They may also have useful articles.

Meanwhile, keep developing your skills and building your portfolio. Look for opportunities to do pro bono work that will let you create good portfolio items. And keep your eye out for job openings.

No slow spell lasts forever.

   
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:19 AM   #3
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I wonder if you might have more luck, if, when you called places, you asked for the graphics department and then asked to speak to whomever is the head of the department, asking if they might have time to do what used to be called an "informational interview"--an interview to discuss the field you are interested in with someone who is currently working in the field.

What this can do is to help you get a feel for the area you want to work in, is flattering to the person you are interviewing, is less pressure filled on both sides and allows you to introduce yourself (and your portfolio) to someone who might be helpful in the future and who can give you real world advice and comments on your portfolio.

A friend of mine used this approach when she was thinking of moving onto a slightly different career path and she did an informational interview with a mid-level executive in a company in her field of work. She found it helped give her a better understanding of what she was looking for and a number of months later, this executive remembered her and called her asking her to interview for a job opening and she was later offered the job.

It's always useful to see if the companies you are interested in might have a website and you may be able to get the names (at least) for the departments you are interested in working with so that you are not calling blindly.

Hope that helps...

Terrie

Last edited by terrie; 08-21-2009 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:42 AM   #4
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I like that — good advice. Sneaky, but nice.

   
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:40 PM   #5
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kt: Sneaky, but nice.
LOL!!! It's not really meant to be sneaky and it can certainly backfire on you if you go in with the idea that this is a work around for an actual job interview. It really does need to be approached as an information gathering tool.

One other advantage to this approach is that if the informational interview goes well--if you make a good impression--and one's portfolio is relatively decent, the person you are interviewing may remember you when they hear of openings at other companies--assuming that person keeps up with news in the field--and will either pass your info on or contact you about the opening. Networking (ugh! gag!) at its best...

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Old 08-21-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Ronald:

Hasn't the USA one or two newspapers that carry national advertisements for staff?

   
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:52 PM   #7
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michael: Hasn't the USA one or two newspapers that carry national advertisements for staff?
Not really, no. Particularly when it's an entry level (or slightly above) position. One might see the same ad for very high level positions--generally high level management sorts of jobs--in multiple major newspapers (what's left of them) but the ads might not be shown on the newspapers' websites and getting the actual newspaper could be problematic.

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Old 08-21-2009, 03:09 PM   #8
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Terrie:
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Particularly when it's an entry level (or slightly above) position
I realize that university graduates are two a penny nowadays (my first job—advertised—was a month after I had graduated in 1955, and my second was obtained in answer to an advertisement in 1966 and lasted until I was pensioned). The Daily Telegraph was the best paper for jobs then, and possibly still is. It's the paper that Richard W. reads; I wonder if . . . (It's unlawful now to impose age limits.)

   
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Are you willing/able to relocate? Do you really want a full-time job? Is there an active Craig’s List in your area? Do you see job offerings that appeal to you that are looking for people with your skills? Do you read any of the design magazines?
I still live with my parents and feel I need to progress into a full-time/more steady design related position. Most of my friends are married, so I'd probably have the tricky task of living alone. I've only searched for jobs within a 40-mile radius. Local job websites only have big art director positions requiring a 4-year degree and years of experience. Some small internships pop up, but they're meant for students and probably not worth my trouble (a long drive with little-to-no pay). I registered with two job-finding agencies but they seem completely useless. I'm also registered to LinkedIn.com and Monster.com. I just checked Craigslist for the first time and it's pretty slim.

As for what I'd like to be involved in, I've enjoyed the work I've gotten from the chamber of commerce (visitors guide design & photography, website design & organization, etc). I enjoy graphic design, hand illustration, photography, and writing. I'd be willing to learn more about web design, video, and animation.

In school I got the impression that I'd most likely have to start working at a print shop, but I haven't found an open spot there either.
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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Sounds as if you are doing most of the right things. It may just be a matter of time.

Working for a printing company is an excellent way of learning production; the design training would likely be minimal, however. But though it may sound heretical for a graphic designer to say this, more jobs are ruined by production defects than by poor design, and mastering production can help you in your work.

   
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