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.