Ask Esther // 53


Hi Esther,
I graduated with a Graphic Design degree about 3 years ago. I have enjoyed every challenging creative brief during my my uni days. I have had 2 long term full time jobs as a designer/artist doing very mediocre/un-challenging work, very much more technical than it is creative. In my spare time, I pick up design briefs online so I keep up to date with my portfolio. I have been trying hard to gain a creative/graphic designer role but have been unsuccessful.

I recently met with a recruiter that told me that I am more likely to get a job as a Finished Artist than a Graphic Designer. I am not comfortable going down that path as I don’t enjoy it and know that I am capable of being creative but just have not been given a chance.

What should I do?

Warm Regards,
Lost Little Girl

Dear Lost Little Girl,

By taking these of these unchallenging roles on long-term, this might indicate to your recruiter that this is the type of work that suits you, or that you’re happy doing. Your portfolio is your passport. If the only work you have to show for your three years’ experience is “mediocre”, you need to re-build your portfolio from scratch.

Begin by thinking of the positive skills attained in your job. It might be that you can handle fast turnaround, low budget, high volume. You might be terrific at client liaison, production management or estimating. Write up your bio highlighting these skills as though this experience has been a very solid base to grow creatively from.

Then the portfolio. Gather a ton of the work you have done and make a collage page or two of 300 small space retail ads (or whatever it is you do). Art direct your actual website to show your potential. Blow up small things that are quite good. Make the large, ugly jobs look small and cute.

Finally, produce some fresh thinking for your book. Make up some new work (after three years, you can’t show your college work). Refer back to earlier Ask Esther answers to work out how to create briefs and then answer them.

Don’t take no for an answer about what your capabilities are but you can’t expect a recruiter or employer to see what isn’t evident. You have to show them.

Good luck.

You can ask Esther Clerehan anything about putting your book together, getting a job, what salary to ask for or what to do when someone steals your ideas. Go on, Ask Esther. There is no other creative recruiter with more experience to educate us on the art of the job hunt. You can email her here at junior at (wtf null@null lifeatthebottom

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 20/02/2014
Category: Ask Esther
Tagged: .