Tips for breaking into Industry.

2 years ago by

There is no doubt landing your first design job can be difficult – no matter how rigorous your rationales, polished your portfolio and enthusiastic you are – there is a tonne of other design students vying for the same roles as you. A lot of advice design graduates receive is cliched ‘Believe in yourself’, ‘Think big’, good advice but not-so-easily actionable. At DA’s Auckland 2019 Speed Dating Portfolio Review we rounded up some of the best practical advice our industry experts delivered to students – to help you break into a competitive creative industry.

Consider where you want to be in ten years time and be strategic about developing your practice towards that goal – Nicola Devine, Tanker Creative 

Being able to explain your thinking behind a project is very important. If you can’t talk someone through a project in a couple of minutes, don’t include it in your portfolio. – Leah Surynt, Designworks

“Less is definitely more, but if possible show more than one specialisation in your portfolio as you aren’t a specialist just yet. Your portfolio is your biggest asset so treat it with the love and attention that it deserves – be passionate and proud of it!”  – Sean McGarry, Creative Director, VOICE

Identify what you love and are passionate about. Then identify your dream (what would you like to be/become). Then mix and shake those thoughts. Pitch your portfolio/work right there. Be single minded and on point, not generic. Let your portfolio speak to those strengths. – Raul Sarrot, Fresh Fish

Refine, refine, refine – if you think your work is finished take another close look over all the details and see if you can polish it even further. – Laura Cibilich, Run

Show more of the background/concept story as part of the visuals to show there’s strong strategic thinking. – Jodine Bell, Creative Director, Principals

Look at other practitioners’ portfolios and analyse what works and what doesn’t and apply those findings to your own portfolio. Without having the desire to have your own brand or alias, regardless, your portfolio will have its own voice and it’s up to you (as a designer) to be critical about what and how you want that voice to speak. – Abhi Topiwala, Motion Illustrator

Try to stand out from the crowd. Send out a DM. Don’t be afraid to expand your design school projects in your own time. – Sam Allan, Onfire Design

Start thinking about how you are going to approach your job search. Be prepared. Do your research. Understand the design and creative industry as best you can. – Annie McCulloch, Portfolio Recruitment

Select projects for your portfolio that you believe in so that you can present them confidently and knowledgably. – Tash Vranjes, Portfolio Recruitment

‘Less is more – edit your portfolio to your top three projects’ – Matt Grantham, Onfire Design


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