How I Landed My First Graphic Design Job?

How I Landed My First Graphic Design Job

Camille Clores is a graphic designer based in Vancouver, Canada. I will illustrate how i landed a Graphic Design Job. She used to work for a biotech company and had volunteered in various non-profit organizations. Her passion for arts started when she was young. She explored various arts and design techniques during high school and decided to pursue graphic design in college. Currently, she is studying design and marketing to expand her knowledge of other multimedia and promote her design work.

So where did I get all the motivation to pursue this hopeless dream?

When I started, all I cared about is money and not passion at all. As a daughter of immigrant parents, I am supposed to get a stable job that pays well. I cannot follow my dream as an artist because I need money to live. I am originally from the Philippines, a country that does not value arts at all. Arts, music, and PE classes are combined in one class because they are undervalued. When I moved to Canada, I learned how to draw, paint, do pottery and explore different arts. Yes, I love what I am doing, but I think arts have always been stereotyped as a poor man’s job. Hence, I did not even bother trying to do it as a career. Looking back to my teen years, I remember learning Photoshop and figuring out codes on my own. I spent countless hours following tutorials online. I started creating fan arts and fanfic covers for my K-pop idols. I also tried creating video trailers for fanfics. I learned photoshop, video editing, and web design through fandom without knowing I will become a graphic designer.

How was your University time?

It has been a long ride, and I did not get to university easily. I started wanting to become a nurse because I follow the stereotypical career path of Filipinos. I wanted to make my parents proud of me. After all, every Filipino parents’ dream is to have their children complete education in nursing, accountancy, and other academic programs. After failing all my classes in college, I suffered from depression. I felt like this is the end of my dream. I felt stupid, hopeless, and unconfident. For months, I cried and lay down on my bed. Without any other options I can think of, I decided to pursue graphic design. During those times, my only reason for doing the program is because I love to draw. I did not know anything about adobe creative tools besides photoshop. Despite many doubts about getting a job, I finished my diploma program. After a long time, I was finally finished school and found a job. Through my first job, I learned so much about the importance of marketing in design. Therefore, I am currently studying for my degree in graphic design for marketing.

What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?

After sending out more than 70 resumes, I finally landed my first job within 6 months. It was a biotech company with a great mission. When I first browse their site, it was very messy with many blocks of text and few images. It doesn’t look legit at all. I thought it was a scam. However, when I went to their office. It was the best office I have seen from all the interviews I had. The lesson is don’t judge the company based on their website. The poor-looking website is the actual job.

How did you prepare for the interview?

I have been in 7 interviews before I got my first job. The seventh interview is my worst interview. The interview lasted only 10 minutes, and the interviewer yelled at me. She asked what I will do with their website. What will I do with their collaterals and their branding? Thinking their products are perfume, I got their products wrong. As a new person in the industry, I am clueless about marketing and color branding. All I know is I know how to use the Adobe Creative software. But I do not understand the reasons why I make my design choices. That was the worst interview I ever had. After that interview, I attended a portfolio review where designers from agencies give feedback to students’ works. For one hour, I practice presenting my work to many designers. After that workshop, I feel more confident talking about my portfolio. My friend also gave feedback to design custom work for the interview presentation. A week after the workshop, I got an interview with the biotech company. Not only did I presented my work well, but I also pointed what my work is lacking. I also pointed out which of my work is the closest to their products. Even more, I went out and made a rebranding of their product.

Jeff Bezos Career Advice
Jeff Bezos Career Advice

Advice for someone looking for a graphic design job?

I wish I learned earlier that it is better to tailor your resume to the job posting. Do not send the same resume and cover letter to different job postings. Otherwise, you will get rejected right away because your application is generic. Also, simplify your resume but include keywords so the ATS machine can detect them. If a person reads your resume, it is probably an HR who will read it and has no clue about design. It is better to send in a non-design resume with a concise and clear copy. If you do not have any experience, do volunteer work as a designer, so you have the experience to discuss during the interview.

Lessons from jobs that you couldn’t get.

  • You will do less creative work than your student work.

Working as an in-house designer, you are more likely to do cookie-cutter work. Most of your designs don’t need to be pretty but need to be done fast and efficiently.

  • Working with different types of people will be more interesting than your design job.

In a corporate setting, you are likely to work with different departments. You will get more non-design-related feedbacks which is more on marketing and data analytics.

  • It is okay to say no.

If your plate is full, it is okay to say no. If they ask you last minute and want it right away, please refuse their request. Always ask them how urgent their requests are.

View my work at camilleclores.ca and follow me on Instagram at @camillecloresdesign.

Also read How I beat 140+ job seekers and landed a top-tier blockchain startup job without a degree — in 18 minutes.

How I Landed My First Graphic Design Job?

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