Hey Unitards! Foot in the Door
Andy Says: Sure, luck plays a part in anything, but there’s no substitute for being very good at what you do. Regardless of your experience, it is hard for any good employer to ignore excellent results. And these don’t have to be examples of work for Nike or Netflix; well designed websites for your cousin’s wedding or for your mom’s real estate business work just fine.
The other side of this is that you’ve got to be able to communicate at the level of your skills, too. A brilliant designer that lacks the ability to speak well and deftly communicate won’t get past the first interview. Design is about communication and the best employers are as concerned with hiring excellent communicators as they are with hiring excellent craftsmen. So if you’re able to walk your talk and talk your walk, lack of experience tends to stop being a factor in your prospects.
Angela Says: A well-designed, unique portfolio can definitely help you stand out from the crowd, but along with basic skills, I think the right attitude can be your biggest asset and help offset a lack of experience. Being able to communicate confidence in the strengths you do have paired with a strong work ethic and an eagerness to learn says a lot about you as a potential employee.
Especially in the interactive world, I’d recommend keeping up with the latest trends and techniques in the industry through books, blogs, websites, and/or a mentor in your field.
Also, one of the best things I did during my college days was working as a design intern for a couple summers, which was a great way to get some on-the-job training and build up my portfolio.
Nathan Says: A friend of mine told me about how he rather bluntly critiqued a dude’s business card, and got a call back, but I am not sure I’d go so far. Mostly, be direct, be unique, and don’t be ignorant.
Target only places you know you could excel at (even if they seem like giants), engage them in some way they probably haven’t seen before (c’mon, you’re creative), and do your homework to know as much as you can about the company and if you’re right for the position. That should get you started.