Opportunities in the world of graphic design have never been so diverse and exciting, whether your direction of choice is working in-house, on behalf of an agency or going freelance. Methods of applying for these roles have shifted tremendously in a predominantly digital era, switching out physical CVs, print portfolios and even letters for their digital counterparts.
A creative application is all about projecting a balance of professionalism, personality and creative flair. These foundations can be applied to everything from your cover letter, to your CV itself and of course the embodiment of your creativity, your portfolio. Recent research shows that 80% of recruiters spend three minutes or less on a candidate’s portfolio, so let this platform be your time to shine and impact, to land yourself that dream job.
Drop the word doc
The freedom and benefit of pursuing a creative career is the ability to inject personality and a unique tone to items within your application. Conventionally speaking, a CV is still requested when applying for a role, but can more than often be submitted as a .pdf document, either through a job searching website or to a recruiter themselves. Consequently, this means it can be produced within the Adobe creative suite on your design software of choice, as opposed to a somewhat bland or generic Word document.
Implementing core values from graphic design in your CV, such as aesthetically pleasing fonts, alignment, visual hierarchy, colour theory and subtle visual elements will help the viewer see an extension of both your professionalism and imagination. You are not boring, and neither is the field you have found yourself within, so your CV should not be either!
Your portfolio is the online representation of you
Your graphic design portfolio. The digital culmination of your favourite and most striking works, and the representation of both you and your skills hosted in one place online. It goes without saying that every designer should have one, whether aspiring or professional, as it will prove to be greatly important for years to come. There are a series of free, professional portfolio builders, websites and templates in existence where no coding is required. Research how to best utilize one of these to broadcast your works to the world in a clean and concise manner, in a way you would be proud to show to a future employer.
The devil is in the details
Imagine a recruiter, hiring manager or potential client has searched for you online, whether out of curiosity or to discuss a future opportunity. They find your LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter profile and turn away before approaching another candidate. Why might this be? Something as simple as a grammatical error or typo can show a lack of attention to detail and might jeopardise an entire opportunity. You may also be able to inject attractive design flair into elements of these sites, as a header image on Twitter or LinkedIn can be a billboard for you, your style and services. See this as an opportunity to extend upon your creative output and be memorable amongst other potential applicants.
The human connection
As Rag'n'Bone man said, we’re only human after all. It is greatly beneficial to appeal to the human element of the hiring managers, recruiters, and other managerial figures viewing your application through the journey it goes on. When emailing or communicating via LinkedIn (for example), greet the correspondent by their name to avoid your application seeming generic, copied and pasted and impersonal. Thoroughly research the background of their work, highlight and praise aspects of what they do and feel a degree of passion for their narrative and how you could benefit them.
Confidence is key
Confidence is a timeless, universally attractive trait regardless of context, and this should be something that shines through with your creative applications. There is a thin line to be wary of before overstepping. With this in mind, channel the pride and joy of your skills and projects across the board and it will undoubtedly go far. Present your best and favourite works in your portfolio. Too often creative applications and CVs are riddled with terms projecting mediocrity, which unfortunately cheapens the great design work beside them. If you were to invest your time and money into something, would you want to hear about its doubts and flaws? Reverse this scenario and see your application from a different perspective, and it will go far.