Career advice needed

Carmen Davies

New Member
Hello, I am after some much needed advice.

I have a BTEC and Ba(hons) in Graphic Design which I gained in 2006. when I left uni I fell into an Admin role (not the best choice I ever made but money was my motivation at the time) I am currently temping. :(

I have done a hand full of freelance logo designs for clients but not had any studio experience. I am currently putting all my strength into a portfolio which will consist of part freelance and part self directed work. Is this acceptable do you think? I am aiming the the self directed work to show off my variety of skills.

I was really after any advice on how to increase my chances of getting some work or experience, I know there is a hell of a lot of competition out there but I am bursting with ideas and know I have what it takes. I am prepared to work on a voluntary basis around my temping and to go in at junior level.

thank you in advance for your thoughts
Hey there, welcome to the forum.

Firstly you have the right idea. You need to put yourself a portfolio together. Whether they're self directed projects, studio pieces or freelance jobs really doesn't matter. As long as there's a well thought out solution with a good idea you're set.

When you're putting together a portfolio, don't jam it with every piece of work you've done. Put your best bits in. 7 or 8 usually works. To show what you can do you want to put a mixture of branding, print, and any other skill you have. Quality over quantity as they always say.

Remember, you may well have a degree, but so do thousands of other designers who've graduated since you did, so you need to stand out ahead of them. Once you have your portfolio, you need to show it to as many people as possible. This is where a lot of students or graduates become unstuck, because a lot are lazy.

I always suggest to design some sort of promotional mailer and send it to a bunch of creative agencies you'd like to work for. Don't just send an email or make a telephone call. You want to get in contact 3 or 4 times and end up leaving them something to keep and remind them of you. If you don't incorporate your work in some sort of fashion in the mailer, direct them to a website that will.

Definitely try for work placements. By doing those things suggested above, you're chances of landing a work placement, or even a junior design role will increase hugely.

Good luck!
Thank you for your advice. It has given me a real boost. I don't have to give up on my goal, even if I have been side tracked for a few years. I already have a great idea for an interactive direct mail piece to send to agencies to grab there attention. I will let you see my work as I go.

Would a blog we suitable for my online portfolio presence ie: or one with my name?

I will also be creating an a2 manual portfolio.
It really doesn't matter whether it's a blog, or a £1000 website with all sorts of bells and whistles. Your work is all it needs. Sure, if you can design and build your own website, it's another skill you can show off. If not, it really doesn't matter. My site is built in Flash, simply because I don't possess the HTML knowledge needed to do it properly. That never put agencies or prospective clients off. They saw what I could do and were happy.

When you have an idea or pics of something, feel free to post them on here. There's a cool critiquing part of the forum where other professionals will give you advice.
I am very pleased to update that I managed to get a role as a Design Assistant, this includes helping their in house designer and a bit of admin for the design manager too.

Along side this I am managing to build on my freelance work

Thank you all for your help and I look forward to sharing some of my work on here with you all.

Very Happy :icon_smile:
Cargo is probably a better option for a dedicated portfolio.


You have to request an invite (do that here) but it's free, and you can buy your own domain name (better to use your actual name, rather than a nickname) and just point it to your cargo portfolio.

Thank you for that link. I have made a note of it. I just have a blog at the moment, nowhere near ready for my own website.

I tried to change my name on her from Absorb to my real name but not been told if I can do that yet. I realised after I had put Absorb that it would be better as a freelancer to use my name.
:icon_Wall: typical eh?
I Still think the most effective way to get your foot in the door is to stick your foot in the door. Email, call and then go there! I got to have a sit down chat with a small agency in London by just being a pain in the arse.