There’s no way around it: the job hunt can be tough. You might get lucky and find the right fit early in your search, but for the majority of job seekers this is a long and strenuous process of applications and interviews.
Do Your Research
Before sending your application for a new and exciting role, make sure to do your research on the company. Delve into their website, taking time to learn about each of their products, their current clients, and their team.
If the company already has a graphic designer or a full design team, take stock of their specific role(s) and specialities. Note how you could fit into their team and complement their current capacity in this department. For example, if their graphic designer specializes in web design and UX, perhaps you can highlight your strong skill set in print or illustration.
If the company has a blog or a news section, be sure to spend some time there as well. If you see any blog topics that pique your interest or perhaps the company has made headlines with a big announcement recently, these are great anecdotes to include in your cover letter. Highlighting details like this shows an employer that you care about working for them specifically, not just any company.
Customize Your Outreach
One of the biggest blunders you can commit on your job hunt is to send out impersonal, boilerplate cover letters and resumes en masse. While you may think sending out more applications will mean you get more responses, this could actually have the opposite effect.
With high competition for designer roles, it’s essential that your outreach be personalized and show a true understanding of what the company is looking for and how you can deliver on each element of the job description.
In each cover letter and resume, try to find a hook that shows why you have a genuine interest in this position specifically. For example, if the position is with a tech startup that provides software for the trades industry, draw a personal connection with your cover letter. Perhaps you have a close friend or family member that works in the trades and struggles with the issues this software helps solve—include this as an opening anecdote.
If you can’t find a connection that’s quite this direct, find another way to personally relate to the subject matter and include this in your cover letter. Showing a genuine interest and connection with the company’s pursuit and passions will help you move to the top of the candidate list.
Demonstrate Your Skills
Make every aspect of your application a demonstration of your skills. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, put extra effort into creating a unique original presentation for your cover letter and resume. Whenever possible, include examples of your work with your application to show the company what you’re capable of and how they could put your skills to work as part of their team.
As a graphic designer, employers are going to expect you to get creative. To set yourself apart, take time to think of different ways you can present your cover letter and resume information using your creativity.
This includes making sure your online portfolio is updated with your best work, but you can also take it a step further. Think of your cover letter and resume like a project you would be creating if you got the job: what kind of new, fresh ideas would you bring to their marketing collateral? Bring it to life with your application and they’ll have no choice but to get you working for their team.
If you have applied to a position and have not heard back within a week or two, picking up the phone and making a call to check on the status of your application is completely within reason. In fact, many employers will be impressed that you took the initiative to follow-up with them directly. However, make sure the company did not detail “No phone calls” on their job description. In this case, a polite follow-up email is perfectly acceptable.
You may also consider looking through your network to find a connection that could provide a more personalized introduction. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for this research. Search the company to find the most appropriate employees such as the HR team members and the director or manager you would be reporting to directly.
If you have any “Mutual Connections” that you think would be willing and able to provide you with a sparkling reference, ask for an introduction. As long as you’re polite and humble in your approach, the worst they’ll say is that they are no longer in contact with that person.
In the job hunt, positivity is key
No matter how many rejections you may receive, remain steadfast on your search. While the job hunt can be difficult and stressful at times, it is equally rewarding when you finally secure a dream role.
Remain persistent and open to new opportunities as they present themselves. You never know where your job search could lead you.
Looking for your next design gig? We’ve got lots of those at Authentic Jobs.