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Design jobs in the North East

Hi guys and girls

I'm getting a little bit frustrated with the lack of design opportunities in the North East and thought maybe you guys could maybe offer me a bit of advice and inspiration that might help me.

Basically I have an HNC in Graphic Design at Newcastle College and used to work as a designer for Auto Trader in Gateshead but unfortunately we were all made redundant due to a relocation. I've ended up working in a totally different field for the last year and a half due to needing money for my family and mortgage etc. There just doesn't seem to be much out there at the minute and I'm starting to think I'll never get back into the design business even though I worked really hard to get into it and loved my job.

Anyone got any advice on how to make myself stand out more when I'm applying for jobs? I've sent off tons of spec emails to companies and applied for anything I can. When I do actually get an interview I tend to get called back to the second but can't seem to get that final place. I actually did get offered a job but it was for £6.20 an hour when I first left Auto Trader and I asked for more as I was on much more before that. They took someone else on! Oops.

I've got an online portfolio called Logan Designs which admittedly could do with a makeover but it's just finding time as I'm working between 8am and 10pm.

Thanks for any advice
Welcome Mark...it's tough getting back in the design industry after being made redundant.
I've been there twice now. Once in the North East and once whilst working doon south.
It ain't no fun man.
All I can say is to keep trying and don't let our skills drop. Keep learning. There's a million of those young wippersnappers on your heals with their fancy codes and websites.
If I hear anything or can be of any help (being local) I'll get in touch.

Enjoy the forum and look forward to seeing some of your work.
Looks like you're in a no win situation, (i've been there myself - it's not nice).

Firstly your qualification, a HNC from a college isn't as impressive as a degree from a University, do you have any other relevant qualifications that a potential employee think relevant? If not could you do a top up one year course at a university?

Secondly your past history, working in-house for one company doesn't show a width of experience, have you worked anywhere else? Full time, part time? Placements? Work Experience? Is your current job in the design industry?

If you freelance, good. If you don't you should, otherwise you may 'drift out' of the industry. Stick up a portfolio site, do some spec work, free work etc, keep designing.

Advice and tips on standing out? For that, well lets see what you currently present to potential employers (CV, portfolio, covering letter, 'spec email' etc), bit unfair to offer ideas if we don't know what you're offering at this moment.

And if you turned down a job offer because they offered an initially poor salary, in some eyes that could be a silly mistake, a job isn't for ever, nor is the salary that goes with it. There's loads of design students, graduates, and out of work designers offering their services for free in the form of placements to get back into design jobs - not everyones cup of tea, but thats how they get noticed and back in the industry. Some might argue if you're in the industry complaining about money, well then you're in the wrong industry.

Have you joined any specialist recruitment agencies? There's three or four excellent ones up here, all of which have designer jobs listed now. If you're not with all of these, then you should be.

That's it from me. If you want a job in the industry i'd do something about it now, a job ain't gonna come looking for you, you gotta go for the job.

Oh and stick your links up, for some better more detailed advice.


I think that Ross covered mostly everything.. as for the qualification, I have an HND from many years ago and its not really done anything for me at all.. people want experience, qualifications don't mean much in the real design world unfortunately.
chrismitchell said:
I think that Ross covered mostly everything.. as for the qualification, I have an HND from many years ago and its not really done anything for me at all.. people want experience, qualifications don't mean much in the real design world unfortunately.

Experience can outweigh qualifications - but if you get two similar canditates one with a degree and one without, which one you gonna choose?

And some agencies expect a degree as standard. A degree can be the key to unlocking the experience.


Its odd really... it would depend on the experience I suppose also it would depend on the position being applied for, degree experience will only help so far with theory... I've never found it to be any use after about 8 years in the industry. Now they just want to know who i've worked for more than anything else....
Thanks for the feedback.

I tried to post a link to my portfolio but I haven't made enough posts on the forum yet.
EDIT by Greg: http://www.logandesigns.co.uk/

I've ended up working in a bookmakers which I had to take to keep the roof over my head. The problem with that is that the hours are terrible. Work until 10pm most nights and sometimes in from 8.30am. I have to admit recently I haven't been developing my skills much simply because I'm struggling to fit in a family life and keep my skills up to date around those hours. I'm in a catch 22 I think. I have done a few bits and pieces for a few companies in my own time but not enough really.

Just to clarify the situation where I knocked back the job for £6.20 an hour. It was literally as I was made redundant and I was naive in thinking I could just walk back into a better paid job straight away. I'd just graduated and thought wrongly that that would help get me even more money than I was on previously. If I was offered that now even though I'd be taking a drop in wages I'd snap their hand off just to get back into that kind of work.

I do appreciate all your comments though and I'm going to make some time every week to do a few pieces of work. I'm even thinking of contacting some local design agencies to see if I can go in an do some work experience on my days off from work. It can't do any harm

Thanks again
Hi Guys

I know I haven't posted for a while but it was just to update my situation. I finally got employed in a design related role. Well it's more promoting a companies website and doing lots of SEO but there are design elements like updating the newsletter and updating the website. Just for anyone else who has been struggling to get a job, it's good to know that persistance pays off.