Getting a job/internship

Before you apply
Maintain an on-line portfolio. This can be on any platform, or use any service, and its form can even be somewhat generic. The most important thing is to make it easy for a potential employer to get a sense of your work in 10 seconds, and proof of what you can do in five minutes.

Increase your online presence. Having a greater-than-zero web presence. When your name crosses the desktop of your dream employer, the first thing they’re going to do is look you up on-line. If you haven’t already, search for yourself. What shows up? If the answer is nothing, and another candidate is habitually sharing thoughtful and relevant links and images, they’re suddenly a more attractive option, and all before the employer has even read your painstakingly created resume.

Create/update your LinkedIn Profile (steps to creating a better profile).

Start using your Instagram and Twitter to promote your good style, sense and interests. (make a professional instagram account and post your process, finished projects, design things that interest you.

Clean up your FB page (if you sitll use it)

Network. Practice talking to people about what you do. Meeting strangers one-on-one can be daunting. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. While you’re in school, visit other faculty on campus or professionals off-campus to discuss you projects. Ask for informational interviews. Pay attention. What are some of the questions people ask? How long can you talk before someone’s attention flags?

The application proces

Read the job description. Is it clearly written and realistic? Do you have the skills and experience listed under the qualifications? Do you know what you’ll show to demonstrate that you fit those qualifications? Finally, do you meet the non-design qualifications, such as immigration or visa status?

Read the instructions. This is a test. If the listing says to send a cover letter, resume, and portfolio link to an email address, do exactly that. There’s someone at the other end who’s managing this process, and who’ll appreciate your effort to make their job easier. If there’s an online application, use it and follow the instructions. When they meet to assess candidates, they’ll be looking at the list it generates, and if you’re not on that list, you won’t be considered. No random email or care package you’ve sent along will change that.

Only send/attach a pdf portfolio If they’ve asked for one, and watch the size. Do not attach any pdf that is over 10MB. PDF portfolio demonstrates that you have the skills and qualifications asked for in the job description. This should be specifically tailored to the company with a maximum of five projects, while your website can appeal to a broader number of people and demonstrate a wider range of skills.

Wait. Unless they need someone tomorrow, companies will wait until they have around five applications in hand before responding or scheduling interviews. If multiple people are reviewing the candidates, it may take even longer to find a time when they’re all available. You should follow up no more than twice by email (a week later and a month later) to ask where they are in the process, but only if you already have direct access to someone and you’re still interested. The
bigger the company, the more likely it is that you won’t get a response unless it’s a definite yes.

Before and during the intervi

READ: six-ways-to-bomb-an-interview
READ: three-steps-to-a-successful-job-interview

Be courteous and timely via email. Most companies expect employees to be good communicators both via email and in person. If someone asks you about setting up a meeting, be specific about when you’re available. If they suggest a time or range of times, confirm what’s best for you and what you can do if that time is no longer available. If you can’t make it then, suggest three times (or time spans) in the future when you’re available.

Feel free to ask them questions about the interivew: who you will be meeting with, how long do you have? Are there multiple meetings. Do your research. Ask if they’d like you to prepare anything before meeting.

Anticipate questions. The night before the interview, write down five questions you think you may be asked and answer them. You can have your notes with you. When people as you things about other people...NEVER say anything bad about anyone. Ever. Design world is very small.

Be on time.
Before you leave know where you are going. Give yourself some extra time. Do not be late. But also don't be too early. Small firms don't know what to do with you if you are too early. If you’re offered a glass of water, accept it. Generosity offered and accepted puts the giver at ease. Once you’re calm, focus on how your interviewer is feeling. *Sometimes interviews are over lunch or run into happy hour. Remember you are still on an interview. Be professional.

On-line. Test all your conections. Have everything already open. Click through everythign to make sure it works.

Relax and be yourself. All the interviewer wants is for you to be the one. They’re rooting for you. You are there because they have seen your work online and they liked your work.

Let the interviewer lead. If you’re showing work, ask if they’d like you to move through it, or if they’d prefer to “drive.” If you’re showing work digitally, show it on a tablet if you can, rather than a laptop.

Ask questions. Whether or not you can do a job is usually answered by your resume and your portfolio. The interview is about whether or not you want the job and whether or not you’ll fit into the company’s culture. Having no question about the company may signal that you don’t really care whether you work there or not, especially if there’s already been media coverage about their projects or operations.

Have a list of questions to ask them -- even if they answered a lot of them.
Keep a long list and then pick a few to ask.
_ What is a typical day like in the studio
_ How many projects are you currently working on
_ What has been your favorite project or Is your favorite thing about working here
_ Who will I be working with or Who will be answering to
_ if you are bold: what do you see in my portfolio that makes me not qualified for the job
_ where have junior designers failed in the past
_ What is your advice for success....

* Make your own list of questions you feel comfortable asking. Do your research first!
* At the first meeting do not ask about pay, vacation, benefits, family, politics...

Follow up with a thank you. Do this the next day at the latest. Thank them for their time. Say something specific about the interview.... you can send a note in the regular mail or email.

Be courteous, brief, name everyone you met with, and say something that shows that you appreciated the meeting. Even if you’re no longer interested, or it was clear from the meeting that you’re not what the company is looking for, you want the individuals you met to remember you for your courtesy and professionalism when they move on to other companies.

Wait. Again, it’s customary to follow up twice over email and ask where they are in the process if you don’t hear back, but no more. If they reply by saying they’ve hired someone else, respond with courtesy. Leaving a good impression is a ver small gesture that can lead to greater returns in the future.

Acepting a job

Be excited then always be HONEST. Always tell the person -- on the phone when possible – how excited you are about the job! And you can ask for a couple of days to get somet things figured out. You are allowed to have a few days to think about it, the weekend, to the end of the week.

If you have another offer you can let them know that some of the things you need to sort out is that you have another offer to think about.

If you have multiple offers you must tell the other firm that you have another offer. It is nice to be wanted but you have to try to put yourself in their shoes. 

If they have made you an offer they have thought long and hard about it – it wasn't a whim they want you. So you have to be professional.

IF the firm you really want to work for has not’t gotten back to you – you need to let them know you have an offer but that they are the firm you want to work for. This will make the make a decision on you. Yes or No. Then you will know. A lot of times the answer is yes they want you so you have to let them know!

Ask yourself some hard questions. Do you like the people who interviewed you? Did you meet the person you would report to? What would you learn from this position? Going back to the very first step of this process, ask yourself: wil I gain experience and skills in this position that will help qualify me for the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that?

Compare. You may not have a choice to make, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, judge wisely. Don’t stop at compensation. You won’t be happy unless you’re working with people you like on something that matters, and learning enough to keep growing as a designer. Work up a list of pros and cons. Any of your professors are happy to help talk you through some pros and cons.

Negotiate. Look at what other people are making in similar positions. (I have an idea or will find out for you.) Before turning down an offer, ask for what you think is fair, and be flexible. You may be able to raise the compensation for a job you would prefer, or, if money is tight, get more time off than what’s initially offered, or more flexibility in the workweek.

It is difficult to ask for more money. They most likely have made you a fair offer but you should try to ask for a little bit more so that when it is time to negotiate later in life you have a bit of experience. One thing to ask for could be a signing bonus to help you with your first months rent.