If you are a designer graduating in 2018, there’s a few things you should be already thinking about. Read my latest contributing article to Prototypr.
Originally Posted on Medium:
It’s officially the second week of 2018. The holidays are over and reality is starting to kick in. You might be thinking, “I am graduating this year. Am I ready? Will I have work?”. It’s not too early to start thinking about your first industry job out of school. Take advantage of these upcoming months to prepare yourself for the day after your graduation.
Here are 5 things you should be thinking about in the upcoming months.
1. ROCK THE JUNIOR DESIGNER CARD
Being a junior designer is a precious opportunity. If you play your cards right, you can make some of your biggest steps towards becoming a successful player in your field of work.
Production companies and design studios are busy and deal with a lot of stress. Having someone young on board who is full of energy and eager to learn is a great addition to the hectic environment in the office. Embrace your title as a junior designer and proudly show your excitement about joining the industry. Chances are your enthusiasm will be thanked. Letting your coworkers know your interest in learning will make them more inclined to giving you a helping hand.
A positive attitude and a thirst for learning will encourage companies to keep you on their team longer. Longer contracts means more income, a reliable reputation and more work for your growing portfolio.
Spend these upcoming months working on your image. You’re new, fresh, and ready to join the big boys and girls. Market your junior designer powers.
2. DON’T BE GREEDY
Don’t ask for senior rates no matter how much your education cost. No matter your grades and school reputation, you are still new to the industry. You need to accumulate years of experience to really put theory to practice.
Don’t let greed limit you from great opportunities. Dealing with someone arrogant who asks for senior treatment but makes rookie mistakes is frustrating for a company. You run the chance of experiencing shorter contracts, loss of clients and a negative reputation.
Do your research and know the standard rates for junior designers in your geographical area. Use your temporary lower rate to cover for your beginner mistakes and buy yourself time to improve. Being honest when it comes to your ability will provide you with appropriate opportunities which will improve your skills as you move forward.
Spend the next few months getting to know your market and figuring out where you fit in. You don’t want to be underpaid but, you also don’t want to over promise. Your pay and reputation are in your hands so, do your research.
3. TAKE THAT INTERNSHIP
A lot of students frown upon the idea of taking another internship after graduation. Internships are great. They are like a school extension, except this time you’re getting paid to learn. Unlike a junior designer, an intern’s mistakes are forgiven, and staff will spend more time in helping you achieve success. It’s in the company’s own interest to shape you into a great designer. Internships often turn into staff positions, or long term freelance connections. An internship gives the company a chance to familiarize themselves with your work and personality at a low risk price, and invest time into you for a long-term growing professional relationship.
As you’re starting to scout for possible job opportunities after graduation, include internship opportunities in your list, they can take you further than you might think.
4. LIVE A LITTLE!
Don’t forget to live! When sitting at an interview and asked about what you’ve done in your life so far, you better have something more interesting than just school. Companies are looking for more than just technically savvy robots. Your personality and experience can make a significant difference in an office. What makes you different from the other hundreds of students that took the same coarse and got the same grade as you?
Go outside, have fun on weekends, and meet people outside the industry. You will be designing for the rest of the world, so get to know it.
5. YOUR BEST IS THE MOST YOU CAN DO
Don’t tear your hair out over a project. It’s never worth it. Always do your best, it’s what you are hired to do. If your best is not enough, there is nothing you can do. Accept the defeat and absorb the lesson for next time. There is always a next time.
Enjoy these upcoming months. This is an exciting time in your life which should be remembered with pride and joy. Think about the future, but don’t over think it. The future will be there for you whether you worry about it or not. Happy upcoming graduation.
Giorgia Romiti is a talented photographer and passionate world traveller. Our love for adventure and its necessity for our work is something we have in common. Giorgia writes a fascinating blog about her traveling experiences and inspirations. Her recent blog post features some of the work I have done and the integration of traveling in my professional thought process. If you speak Italian, read this insightful and inspiring article on her Love Live Wander blog. If Italian is not your forte, please do yourself a favor and check out her photography on her official website, giorgiaromiti.it. I promise you’ll be impressed!
Contributing blogger to Titá Bijoux, Simi Serianni wrote a wonderful blog post about one of my branding projects. Having grown up in Italy, a lot of my professional connections are still tied to Milan.
This past year has been a particularly tumultuous one. A lot is going on both politically and socially. People are upset, tired, and have strong opinions. Conversations have devolved into monologues. All this made me reflect on communication, and how essential it is for events to move forward in a productive manner. I use the cross-cultural communication skills I learned at ASM both in my professional, as well as personal life every day.
This short article, originally posted on Medium, is dedicated to the school that taught me how to live in a multicultural world.
Now that it has been more than a decade, since I graduated high school, I find myself looking back at my education at the American School of Milan more often than ever.
Being brought up in a multicultural environment will have a priceless effect on your life. You will strive to be more open minded. You will be more patient. More compassionate. Humble. Your fluency in cross-cultural communication will make you easily adaptable to the most unexpected situations in life.
When I was in school, my group of best friends was made up of kids from Italy, South Korea, Finland, Turkey, Paraguay, Japan, United States, India, France, Switzerland. My classmates consisted of even more nationalities. This obviously meant, great food at slumber parties. It also meant we were able to ask questions most can’t.
When I saw something on the news happening in a country I knew nothing about, I could turn to a classmate and ask them about it directly. Conversations were encouraged in class, and teachers helped monitor difficult discussions that let us make sense of things. Looking back at this, it was incredible; it was like being part of the UN summit everyday.
What I learned by being a part of an international community, is that everything can work while there is communication. All opinions are valid, and with enough conversation, there is always a solution. The minute we stop listening to each other, is when we let bigotry in.
Most of the hate in the world comes from ignorance. We all want the best for those we love. It’s easier to believe our opinions are correct and that we are fighting for the right side. It’s terrifying to question our certainties. In a country like the US, where everything is oceans away, and information is safely fed through media giants, it’s easy to get sucked into dangerous thoughts.
If you haven’t had the privilege of familiarizing yourself with other cultures in the past, it’s never too late to listen to a second opinion. Listen to what others have to say before you correct them by quoting your preferred newspaper. Embrace your international connections. While you can learn about the world through a screen, you need to meet it in person to understand it.
To students attending international schools all over the world: I wish you strength to keep speaking your mind and patience to keep listening even to the quietest of voices. Your ability to comfortably converse with any nationality is what keeps the world whole.
To the American School of Milan: Thank you for having taught me how to navigate peacefully through our stormy world.
A fun interview with the Huffington Post about travel and why it’s so important to my work!