Design agencies are all different, and what works for Bobo may not work for others agencies. The below advice is not fixed, but a general guide for junior designers when applying for a job.
1: Applying for a job correctly.
Applying for a new job can seem daunting, but it’s often a simple and straight forward task if you follow the guidance given on the job adverts. This may seem obvious, but a surprising number of junior design applicants to Bobo fail at this first step.
When asked for a pdf of work, send that. Sending a link for your Behance website, LinkedIn page, or tumbler account was not what was asked for. It shows that you either didn’t properly read the job advert, or can’t fulfill a brief correctly – either way the agency they may be less receptive to giving you an interview.
At Bobo we ask applicants to read a link before applying. Typically the link will come to a page like this which along with these tips will also have a question on it : Asking the colour of your socks, or for you to give a film quote in your application. The point being that if you don’t answer the question in your email application, then you probably didn’t follow the link. Depending on the number of applicants and the role will may disregard those applications that dont answer the question. This is harsh – we know – but it can quickly weed out the people who don’t read applications properly, or don’t pay attention to detail – which is a skill you will need in the role.
2: Your C.V – get it right
Make sure your name and contact details are on the C.V!
Again this seems like an obvious thing to point out, but we have received many C.V’s with one or both of these items missing. Keep your C.V A4 and on a light background. Interviewers may print C.V’s out to hand round for others to look at, and a dark background with fine small print may fill in and not be legible. Or if looking at on a phone a dark overly designed CV may be harder to read.
3: Don’t over complicate the CV
Your C.V should be designed – but not over designed. As much as the content is important, the layout is a graphic portrayal of how you position information visually, and also how you represent yourself graphically to potential design employers.
4: Always bring a printed copy of your C.V. to an interview.
You’ll have emailed it over already, but it doesnt hurt to have a copy to hand. Your interviewer could’ve seen hundreds of C.V’s that week, and forgotten the details of yours. You handing it to them in the interview will mean they don’t leave empty handed, and have an instant reminder of you.
5: What format should your CV be in?
A designers C.V. should be a pdf – not a word file. You should probably have a word version of the C.V. as well, as some website applications only accept word documents. However when applying direct to a design agency you should always send a pdf of your C.V.
6: What to include and exclude on your CV
At Bobo we feel that with a junior designer, or graduate, any work experience outside of design is as important as your design experience. It tells us about you, your life experiences and work ethics, and are worth mentioning on your C.V. They dont have to have a lot of detail, but seeing an overview of your work history outside of design is not a bad thing.
7: Your portfolio – what format should it be?
Ideally you should always bring a printed folio with you to an interview. If you do only bring a digital version then don’t rely on the people you are seeing to supply the equipment to view your work. Bring your own laptop, and have the work local to the machine you are on. Never rely on your interview location for a viable internet connection.
8: What work to include?
The work you show shouldn’t just be a repeat of the samples you originally sent in when you applied for the role. The interviewer has soon that work, and you r folio should show additional / different designs that you can take the interviewer through. Where possible show the full range of what you can do in your portfolio. This includes alternate designs that didn’t make the final cut, or stage by stage designs to show development.
9: Leave an impression!
Impress your interviewer with what you can do – or have the potential to do. When applying for a junior designer role, no one expects you to be fully rounded and have all the skills yet. What we are looking for is the desire and drive that will make you a good future employee. Know the work of the company you are seeing. Ask them about specific projects. Research what agencies think about graduates and how they apply – posts like this one are all over the net with hundreds of application suggestions... these come from people who have interviewed hundreds (or thousands) of applicants, and they know what they are talking about and looking for, so use their knowledge to help gain an advantage!
10: Good Luck!
As a final suggestion – it can sometimes be helpful to have a small physical sample to leave behind. This could be a mini folio, a postcard, or just a business card – anything that is lasting reminder of you and your work. Good Luck.