How to Land Your First Job as a Graphic Designer

Review the guide with the best strategies on how to land your first job as a graphic designer and start your career in this field

By Claudio Pires
Updated on April 4, 2023
How to Land Your First Job as a Graphic Designer

If you have flair and design skills, a graphic designer job might suit you well. In that case, you’ve probably tried online courses, like a free design course, but you need to take things to the next level to make that change and launch your career in this field. Review the guide with the best strategies on how to land your first job as a graphic designer and start your career.

First Job as a Graphic Designer

1 Before You Start

Consider the following things before finding a job. It’s better to write these things down while preparing yourself for employment:

  • Understand yourself by knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Know the nature of the graphic design job.
  • Research about the job market. Know which companies and businesses need graphic designers.

2 Create a Portfolio

Take advantage of courses that help in creating your portfolio and presenting yourself well. Here are some tips to keep in mind. Review the guide with the best strategies on how to land your first job as a graphic designer and start your career in this field

  • Choose only your best works that showcase your skills, those you can proudly discuss to other people.
  • Show your portfolio to others by going to portfolio reviews.
  • Openly listen to feedback that others leave for your work.
  • Know the characteristics or special interests that you can bring to any job.
  • Determine what you would want to learn in your first job.
  • Ensure that you demonstrate your interest to learn more throughout your career.

3 Design Your Résumé

In creating your résumé, ensure that you carefully showcase your skills in design for a job as designer.

On your résumé, write the facts that employers want to know, including your address and telephone number.

Create and print your own business cards and stationery. These can also give you a chance to show your design statement.

4 Identify Where You Want to Work

After preparing your portfolio and résumé, it’s finally time to choose companies, people or offices where you’d like to be interviewed. Here are some places to find work opportunities.

  • Design and trade magazines in the school library may present viable employment positions.
  • Your school’s placement offices may also have job listings. They usually cover many organizations in need of design positions.
  • If you plan to work in a specific location, you might want to look at wanted listings for that place.
  • Review your school’s list of recent graduates in a location you’re interested in. Give them a call to discuss your interests; they might point you to the right job.
  • Freelance platforms (here’s a list of graphic design jobs sites)

5 Land an Interview

Potential employers will only commit to a job designer interview after receiving your cover letter and résumé. Write a cover letter to demonstrate your interest in a job position or the company’s expertise. Craft your letter so that the reader will get a grasp of your personality.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a call after sending your application as the person in charge may always be busy. You can also try calling the organization to arrange an appointment.

Sometimes, a company may still schedule an interview even if they don’t have an opening. It’s still a good idea to take this interview as it can serve as an excellent practice or help in making other connections. Check the guide with the best strategies on how to land your first job as a graphic designer and start your career in this field

6 Ace the Interview for a Job as Designer

If it’s going to be your first interview, you may feel slightly uncomfortable. Practice by arranging mock interviews with your friends and getting feedback. During the real interview, relax by taking deep breaths before the interview starts.

  • Show interest in the organization and its projects by asking questions.
  • Explain the ways you plan to help the organization’s needs.
  • Don’t just focus on yourself; be sensitive to the interviewer’s body language and verbal responses.
  • After each interview you attend, reflect on your impressions. Send a note of thanks as a courtesy.

7 When You Get Your First Job Offer as Graphic Designer

While you may be swept away with surprise when you get a job offer, take your time in thinking about the employment conditions set before you. This is your chance to establish your career as a designer.

  • Know how much it costs to live decently in your city of employment and consider your educational loans.
  • Check out your location’s average entry-level design salaries and your strength as a professional designer.
  • Consider benefits and incentives, and don’t just focus on the salary. so check out the health benefits, unpaid leave days, and paid vacations. Working hours, and flexibility, starting date, and the possibility of a raise.
  • Ensure that everything is clear about the offer and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have any.

8. Gain the ability to explain the design to non-members of the design profession

Design can involve a variety of terminology and requirements that a small business owner may not understand.

They probably won’t know the most effective DPI for a logo, nor will the knowledge affect how it appears on their website, business cards, or social media profiles.

Instead of focusing on the number of pixels, it’s more important to consider how making a logo “look good” can hinder your relationship with a client or make a proposal less appealing to someone who isn’t artistic.

One significant trait I look for in a designer is that they can communicate with me, said Bill Angelos, the owner of C&R Family Pets. I’m not artistic, and I don’t comprehend all of the terminology associated with the industry.

As a result, I’m seeking someone who can learn my outlandish vocabulary and translate it into a design. This is by far the most challenging attribute to find in an artist. If we don’t have effective communication, the project will drag on and require revisions. It’s bothersome for both parties.”

The influence of graphic design on different fields

Graphic design is a broad field that encompasses a variety of styles. With a little training in graphic design and experience, you may have the opportunity to work in various industries as an entry-level professional.

For instance, as of January 2023, Glassdoor has entry-level graphic designer jobs in IT, media and communication, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, real estate, entertainment and recreation, restaurants and food service, manufacturing, human resources, and retailing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that by 2031, the number of jobs in the graphic design profession will reach 271,800.

Here are a few insights from the global survey of over 1,000 graphic designers in 2020. This survey was conducted to determine the impact of graphic design on different industries.

  • Human resources departments typically utilize graphic design in presentations, videos, and reports. 41% of HR departments have their graphic designs’ created internally.
  • Healthcare professionals typically utilize graphic design in its most common form for social media graphics, presentations, leaflets, and posters. 62 percent of surveyed said visual techniques help customers better comprehend products and services.
  • Retail employees typically utilize graphic design in presentations, posters, and social media. 57% of retailers said that visual designs increased the awareness of brands in 2021.

First Job Graphic Designer Final Thoughts

In conclusion, achieving your first job as a graphic designer is matching your skills and creativity with a company’s real needs.

The first job you get will also serve as an essential learning experience. While searching for a job, you also learn how design is used. So, in each process step, ensure you remain courteous and honest while communicating well with the people around you. Hope this guide with the best strategies on how to land your first job as a graphic designer and start your career in this field

Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.