What can count as work experience to help get a full time job as a Graphic Designer?



I need to gain more experience in graphic design to help me get a full time job as one. I have experience of working with real clients as a freelance GD and I have included the work I did for them in my portfolio. I have also produced made up pieces of illustrations and graphic design work with made up names which I have included in my portfolio. Can the made up pieces of work be classed as experience towards getting a full time job as gd? I am looking for a junior position.

Thanks in advance :)
Working freelance isnt an acceptable form of experience to most employers. Recruitment agents wont even consider your application.

Once upon a time the words 'STUDIO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED' were to be found on every job advert meaning that you'd have to have worked within a company as a designer. Now those words have changed and say 'AGENCY EXPERIENCE REQUIRED' meaning that unless youve worked for a recognised design agency they wont consider you a suitable applicant.

I think its expected that you work for free either through an internship or part time within a design agency until they offer you a paid position. The only other way is to get offered a job at your end of degree exhibition.
I'd say that a good portfolio is the key regardless of experience. You may be a closet genius and yet never worked for anyone other than designing for the odd person here and there.
A body of good work is generally created from having actually worked for a company for some time, but not always.
The right employer or recruitment agency should be able to see such 'creativity' but this does mean that your CV needs to really 'shout' visually so that your lack of '5 years at Fitch' will be shown through the use of interesting examples of work. Your positive tone of voice/confidence is also really important.

You are in the classic 'chicken and egg' status - how to get a job without experience.
Unpaid placements are the way to go if you're really serious, unfortunately. Thanks to Blair and his cronies, colleges are turning out about twice as many 'designers' as they were when I left.
Sorry for the late response! Thanks for all the tips.
Ugh, I feel like I will never get a job now :(
I will need to get my portfolio into tip top shape and sell myself.
If its work experience youre after then your preference should be towards Agency rather than in-house.
Getting yourself known

Hi Spiral,

I would suggest you put a pdf portfolio together (not more than 8 to 10 pieces) and a 'Creative CV'
meaning a piece of work that gets over who you are, your skills and your eagerness to work.

Research studios you have identified as 'your' kind of work, find out who the Creative Director is (Phone,
don't be shy, as we say in the North, Shy Bairns Get Nowt" get email addresses then send out your presentation with a request to go and meet, express the fact that you admire their work
(as you do, you chose them) and be honest about your wants and needs.

Never knock your own work, or say you are not happy with an outcome in your portfolio (in that case
why is it there?).

If your serious, set yourself deadlines to get things done, if you get a meeting, ask if they can suggest anyone else you could contact, if they do, use them as a point of reference ie. 'Paul at XXX suggested I come to see you' and this gets you into the loop.

Good luck. Be positive and don't let the negatives get you.
Dont give in yet

:icon_Wall:dont be dishearted there is an old saying 'your have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince"

What do I mean..

Basically you just got to find (create/cajol whatever) an opportunity to work for some agency.
Early doors emailing cv's etc is a lazy way to get a response. Many folks are looking to do the same. Think creatively - place yourself where you and you work can be seen.

Example a local pizza business close to my home is struggling to get enough biz due to recession. Their premises are not high profile and down a side street with little traffic. They are not allowed to put up any signage elsewhere and folks dont know where they are at.
Simple solution; they gave 1 of their staff a 6ft sign told him to stand at local traffic lights & wiggle it about. I know it sounds daft but guess what it works. How do I know? I know they exist now yet 2 weeks ago I couldnt have given their name or known where they were...
Moral get noticed. Dont hide :icon_hide: Think outsite the box (cliche - think as if there is no box/boundary).

:icon_clapping:Just keep at it. Dont take the 'no responses or no thank comments ' as personal. Being rejcted is for a number of reasons and none are related to you. If I could give you the magic number for rejections you would know how many frogs to kiss.

I have primarily recruited folks that a found a way to me directly (initiative), had something to say when we met (Visual cv/portfolio) and yet remained pleasant even on initial rejection (good character trait for design industry). I was probably busy or distracted with me own concerns at that point in time.

When I recommend someone to a coleague or if I'm recruiting for someone else, I always keep in mind the ones that came close to the remit. I can take them on later or refer to a trusted competitor. We are not all cynics that can't share.

Think like a salesperson: what have you got:
or whatever

and just apply that to the process of getting noticed to get picked up by an agency.

Opportunities don't come along YOU create them!!:icon_smile:
Sound advice

Hi Spiral,

Seems good advice.
One thing I would mention and I do to all putting a portfolio (Book or digital) together.
If you see 20 different studios with the same portfolio of work, you will get around 20
different responses. Design is subjective, that's why we all choose different clothing, shoes and everything designed.

The person to impress with your portfolio is YOU, be positive about the reasons for your design outcomes,
as I said don't put anything in that YOU are not happy with. Sound interested in them, research before you visit, nothing worse than praising a client of theirs to find they have just lost them??

Synergy is a great thing, if you like a studio ask yourself why? and see where you could fit in the mix and
what you can offer them. Again be positive and hang in there good things will come.

Thanks to you all for all the valuable advise. I really appreciate it :)