So the company I was working for, Maestro Sports, didn’t do as well as they were hoping in their first full year of business. Personally I think that was due to some poor management decicions on what it was they were selling. If you are selling a product then pick a name, price, and start selling. Don’t faff around with versions, names, prices, and get the legal paperwork sorted before you start selling! But anyway I got made redundant so had to start looking for a new job.
Im my line of work, a portfolio is the first thing any employer is going to look at. You can have an amazingly well written CV, which will help make you stand out, but if your portfolio doesn’t showcase your work well, then you just won’t get an interview. So the first thing I had to do was get a portfolio up and running. There are a number of online portfolio sites available for people to showcase their work, so I used one of those first while I sorted out what kind of portfolio I was going to have on my website. I used Behance and started by getting screen shots of sites and writing briefs about what was involved and the technologies I had used. I then set up each site as a project on Behance and poublished them. This meant I had a folder on my PC with screen shots and descriptions all ready for my website portfolio.
For my website portfolio I set up a simple responsive 1 page design which show cases my recent projects and gives a brief intro into who I am, as well as providing links to my CV and PDF Portfolio. I set up a database table where I could add new projects easily and they would automatically be pulled out onto my portfolio using PHP and MySQL. Making the site reponsive showed my knowledge of using media queries and also how to make it compatable with older browsers. I made an offline portfolio too just in case I needed to show my work where there was no internet connection. This is a handy thing to bring with you to interviews.
Speaking of interviews, that was the next step in finding a job. I will admit the first one I went to went kind of like a slow mo car crash. I was way too under prepared with answers to silly questions like “name a time when you went above and beyond a brief” or the classic “what are your flaws”, but these are the type of questions you will get in some interviews so you need to be prepared. Once I had written out some questions and answers I felt a lot more confident so the next ones went much better.
Having only ever worked in design agencies, I was originally only looking for a job in another, but my experience of working on an in-house application like Maestro Sports had given me a taste of what it would be like to work on one project constantly. So this opened up my job search a bit and I ended up going to some pretty interesting interviews. But in the end, there are a number of positives that come from working for a design agency and I chose that role again.
So my tips for getting a new job are –
- Get a portfolio sorted first, and make sure its made using the skills you are trying to showcase!
- Well structured CV. Easy to see your skill set.
- Prepare for interviews with thought about answers.
- Get on LinkedIn.
- Follow design studio’s on Twitter to see who is hiring.
- Profiles on job sites are good but don’t trust recruiters too much!
- Don’t loose faith. Sometimes the job market can be really quiet for weeks but it will pick up again.
- Keep working while you search. Code/draw/read and if you have a blog, write.