Tips for applying for design jobs.

I have found that when applying for design jobs I never get told whether I've got to interview stage. I've lost count how many times, but to be fair it was through recruitment agencies. From my experience I would say contacting design agencies direct is better. It's easy to assume web companies don't need any more staff but I had more calls to interview by enquiring direct than going through any recruiter. Do your own research on local design agencies, rather than going through the usual job websites. I've found them generally to be a waste of time.
I don't know what your work situation is at the moment, but I have found in the past that offering yourself for free for a week might get your foot in the door if you really really really want to work there.

I think that often hiring and firing is more to do with personality, such as working well in a team, than talent!

Hi there,

Firstly thanks for the tips on applying for jobs. I was wondering if you have any tips on searching for jobs in the first place? I know the current climate is a little slow but I wondered if I have covered all bases. I have registered with several recruitment agencies, check online jobs boards Creativepool, Total jobs and, and appointments pages in Design week and Creative Review. Have I missed anything? Do you know of any other places I might find vacancies? I think my problem is that the kind of smaller, less corporate boutique agencies I would like to work for probably don't advertise in these places and have less vacancies. Any other suggestions?

Many thanks

what kind of agencies are you looking for?

I think it can take awhile to understand or appreciate the differences.

Which industry are you looking for work in:

design, advertising (above the line), marketing (below the line), magazine, publishing, digital... etc

If you are starting out you may want to think about this long and hard first as they are quite different industries and a few years down the line it might become harder than you think to move over to one or the other.

Once you have an idea of where you are going a good starting point is to do lots of industry research.

Find out about the industry bodies, directories and awards bodies - this can give you a big list of agencies to send speculative emails and CVs!

Fiind out who won best x agency of 2009.

Find out who the employees voted the best employer of 2009.

Find out what cients they have, recently lost and recently won - are these clients you want to do work for?

Do your research and be proactive, send speculative CVs and portfolios to the people that you want to work for, maybe offering unpaid work experience - even if it is making them tea.

All of this is hard work - finding work is often the hardest job!

Hope some of that helps,

Thanks for your reply Jason.

Well the answer is I'm not a hundred percent which agencies I'm looking for and probably wont know until I meet the team. I don't really want to pigeon-hole myself but if I'm honest my ideal agency would be a small-medium boutique creative agency which is probably the hardest to find! Therefore awards and ratings don't feature high on my list of criteria but I understand where your coming from when you say I need to research and be proactive. In which case sending my cv directly is probably the answer do you think? Are networking sites worth a try too? i.e. Linkedin, Twitter etc? or can you recommend any design specific sites where you can upload a portfolio etc.

Many thanks really appreciate your help.

I don't think that small boutique design companies are hard to find.

The problem is that they tend to be set up by several colleagues that worked at x y and z company and thought one day that they could do a better job than the agency they were working for.

If they are not looking for someone and you are sending out speculative CVs your biggest challenge is probably finding a boutique agency that has the physical space and computer for you to sit at. Because they are small they will be running a tight ship so to speak.

Your best bet is to follow uber cool design blogs such as Form Fifty Five which will mention cool new work every day - alot of which is UK based.

Not sure about twitter and linkedin, but try the directories of creative match as smaller agencies advertise there. Also try The Drum directory.