Tips For Graduates Finding Their First Design Job

By Jaychrist Teves

Looking for work in the design industry can be difficult and frustrating, especially if you’re fresh out from college and looking for your first professional job. I graduated from Cavite State University in 2015 at Silang, PH and lucky enough to face these challenges at the early stage. Since I’ve been into freelancing job since 2011 while studying, had a chance to step up in a corporate ladder easily.

But, I know the dilemma of starting up, and the challenge of not having a necessary experience.
With enough selfawareness, determination and hard work, I know graduates can prove themselves to land a job they needed.

These useful tips is based on my own experience (and notes from my recent articles) and hopefully get you that dream job you’ve been looking for.

Preparing yourself for the work environment

  • Get familiar with using a different machine like MAC. Nowadays, most of the companies in the Philippines used Window/MAC, ready yourself so when by chance that you need to use a different machine can minimized your learning curve and time in actual situation. (I’m a Windows user since then, when I was in training. the company gave as the opportunity to used MAC, so imagine how I’m uncomfortable at that time).
  • Take the time to maximized the advantages of social medias like Twitter and Facebook. Follow pages that will keep you in the loop when it comes to Digital Marketing and Design Process. Also, demonstrate your understanding how you used your social media. (Most of the recruiters will check your page and they do not like to see rants, this will also give you a plus points if you have a well-mannered personal page).
  • Write blog that you find interest, this will give you the chance to showcase your understanding and a chance to learn something new. Go work!

Learn and get a good grasp with Design Process and Tools

  • Learn basic web development tools / CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Having a basic knowledge on HTML5, CSS3 & Javascrpt is a good shot also.
  • Read and learn about design everyday so you keep yourself updated with the latest trends, I suggest to read 1 to 2 articles per day. This is very useful and fun.
  • Roll your sleeves up and start creating wireframe and sitemaps and apply design process that you already know.

Do some freelance work to gain experience

  • Make a personal project so you can build your portfolio. Doing case study and experimentation is a nice way to showcase what you have after studying your BS Degree (Note: BS means Bachelors Degree not Bullshits. LOL).
  • Manage to gain experience dealing with clients. Accepting small projects will give you the chance to understand the business of design.
  • Learn how to communicate with clients.
  • Some clients can be tricky, understand their behavior and observe what you can do.
  • Gain knowledge of the time-frame required for each project.
  • Be creative, if you can’t find clients. Work on some personal project, like giving a make-over on your favorite website from the internet.
  • Before taking on freelance work, get used of the most Online Useful Tools for Creative Professionals.

Keep your C.V. clean and Professional

  • Showcase your resume in one page.
  • Make it simple as possible. This will make your C.V. more easy to understand.
  • Research best practices of what makes a good C.V.
  • Be relevant, make sure to add experience based on the Job you like applying for.

Do not stop applying to every Job. Don’t give up easily

  • Don’t expect to get a job at your first Job Application.
  • Research about the company you are applying and know what value you can offer to them.
  • Take a good experience in interviews. This will practice you of Do’s and Don’ts in an interview phase.
  • Apply every job post even you are under qualified (Tons of requirements or qualification for a Job Positions by Recruitment Hubs is not true nor not even existing).

Personal Branding Matters. Your portfolio is everything

  • Be honest, make sure you showcase yourself at the best possible and professional way.
  • Show and tell your story, no other individual in this world can tell your story but you.
  • Digital version is nice but keep a print version in every interview that you might have.
  • Listen on every feedback whether positive or negative. Take the negative seriously and work your ass off to make it positive.
  • Document more than creating. If you are starting this will give you the impression on how much hungry you are to learn more.
  • Please don’t forget to always be kind, be Human and work hard as much as possible.
  • Read this article I wrote previously for more in depth discussion on Personal Branding.

Self-awareness and documentation is the key. Always keep in mind that you are awesome and you can do what others can do. It’s not the amount of experience but it’s always boils down on how willing you like to learn and how much you can give as a team member. Applying some of these tips and showing initiative can help you out making yourself stand along the way.

“Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do.”

Have a productive and an awesome week!

Stay awesome,


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