Applying for your first jobs. Advice from Portfolio Recruitment.

2 years ago by

We know how hard it is to secure your first design job in the industry after Uni, you’re not alone in that. There are about 1000 design grads every year and not enough positions for everyone. At least not at all the same agencies.

You’re a talented fish, in a pool teeming with other talented fish! At Portfolio we only get very occasional opportunities for entry-level/graduates, but they do come up from time to time. In this situation, we would always advertise a role as Junior or Graduate opportunity and it would be fine to apply for these.

Portfolio Recruitment want to help you ‘put your best foot forward’ so they have prepared some advice and guidelines that will hopefully be of help.



  • Get involved in the Design Community. Do it while you’re studying. Join up with Design Assembly, Designers Institute events etc. Start creating connections.
  • Create a CV and Portfolio.
  • Design a website using Squarespace or similar platforms to show your work. In that portfolio/website make it clear what is student work and if there are group assignments it’s also a good idea to acknowledge those you worked with.
  • Put thought into your CV. Research. Use Google to find CV designs (but don’t copy them). You can find samples of CVs on our website here too.
  • Create a basic brand for yourself and run it through your CV and portfolio. Don’t go overboard. Remember, simple is often best.
  • Look at the Best Awards site, and studios you admire for inspiration. Remember, if you aspire to work for them, your portfolio needs to show that.




  • Put thought into each application you send.
  • Don’t copy and paste. Research each place you send your work to. Find out who the best person or people are to contact.
  • Here are some extra tips on applying for jobs.
  • Don’t forget, most CDs etc. see many applications every day…what is going to make yours any different?
  • Don’t just apply to the most popular agencies. They get hundreds of emails every week. So again, research. There are so many neat studios in Aotearoa quietly doing amazing work. You just might not have heard of them. Hunt them down, find out who they are.
  • If you can, get a mentor. Even if it is simply to help put your CV and portfolio together. That is where getting involved in the design community could help. By going to Design Assembly events etc. you’ll meet other designers and creatives who might be happy to impart wisdom!
  • You need to make an effort. You really do. Find a balance. Don’t go over the top but put in an effort and some persistence, to show your strengths and that you’ve been considered with your applications.


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