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 applying for a job in a creative industry.
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 some basic rules.
• Do what is asked on the advert
• Write a short cover note or email that says why you want to work there.
Was any guidance given on the job advert for how to apply? . . if so – do this. This may seem obvious, but a surprising number of junior design applicants to Bobo fail at this first step by not reading an advert properly.
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. If for whatever reason you can not fulfil exactly what was asked on the job advert, then you should reference why you are sending something different, as this then shows you have read the role carefully.
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 don’t 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.
• Sending an email application – what to write? the title of your email should in some way reflect the position you are applying for – “Junior designer role application at Bobo” . . . or something similar. Just writing “C.V” or “Job” as the email title is not going to make you stand out or leave a very strong impression on the person reading the email.
With what to include in the email. . . Personally we do not like long emails explaining your loves, likes, and history – an overview of all this should be covered in your CV anyway. We may have dozens, or even hundreds of applications to go through, so keep the intro brief. A short note to say hello, state what role you are applying for, a line on why you would want to work with us, and then sign off. We have received too many applications with no note, no mention that the person is even applying for a job, and no information about the person at all – just the cv and portfolio links. You are trying to make the company want to hire you, but doing the bare minimum like this may lead to them not even looking at your C.V.
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.