There is much competition for online attention in a world where at least three hours a day on the internet is the norm. Since the ultimate task of digital product designers is to increase customer engagement and brand loyalty, the experts of the area are in high demand nowadays. Even so, finding an opportunity that will enable a mentorship environment can be challenging.
On the other side, the tech industry is thriving. As a result, companies are often on the lookout for interns. They indeed tend to fill out those positions for a certain amount of time. Still, if you're a fast learner and a good company culture match, there is a strong possibility of you becoming a permanent member of the team.
Have you already noticed that job post that piqued your interest? To stand out from the crowd with your application, here are some tips to follow.
Practice Makes Perfect
When you're fresh out of design school, you'll want to have as many real or fictional projects under your belt as possible. You should make sure to practice as much as you can, even if you're unable to get real projects.
Have you heard about the 10,000-hour rule? Popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's blockbuster book 'Outliers,' the rule suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills, like playing the violin or getting as good as Bill Gates at computer programming. So, the more you practice, the better you become, moving you closer to getting a dream job!
Update Your Portfolio
You need to put your skills and experience on display. When updating your portfolio, keep in mind that variety is key and follow the next three steps:
- Make sure you weed out the work you feel does not represent you well. It's better to have fewer projects of higher quality than a significant amount of amateur or hit-and-miss work. It will show your decision-making process and your editing skills. On the other hand, having too many projects of varying quality shows your inability to self-edit and possibly lousy judgment.
- When you have picked out the best of the best, make sure you present them well. Use a minimalistic template that will make your work stand out, or create your own. Don't just paste designs; use mockups and put the images into a realistic scenario.
- Don't hesitate to spice things up if you're into motion graphics, design transitions, or a cool animation. Be creative, authentic and professional.
Upskill by Learning Online
That flier or poster you designed two years ago should not be the main feature of your portfolio. Why? The industry is evolving and digital design is evolving even faster. You have a wide variety of courses to choose from online, from free to very affordable, to learn new software.
Yes, Photoshop is cool, but have you tried Figma? First, research the field of digital design and find the tools you will need to know how to use at your job. Then, build on your design style and aesthetics and transform it into something that will benefit you in designing digital products.
Specialize in What Inspires You
Use your inspiration and creativity to find where it's taking you. Are you enamored with cool motion graphics? Or are you more of an AI or VR enthusiast? When it comes to digital design skills, the possibilities are vast.
While a certain degree of general design knowledge will undoubtedly make you a competent designer, it is not enough. You will need an edge. Think about the direction first. Product, UX (User Experience), UI (User Interface)? Make sure you cover the basics, but dive deeper into the subject you're most passionate about, hone those skills to perfection, and go the extra mile. Your career will thank you.
Prep for Your Interview
Prepare well for your interview to make sure you don't come across as less competent than you are. Many visually creative people focus more on "their work speaking for them," but this is often insufficient to convince the interviewer. When doing your research, keep the following in mind:
- You show confidence in your work if you can explain it, speak about it and debate certain aspects of the project.
- Research the company you applied to and be sure you are honest about your level of skill and experience.
- Think about what you can offer and how you can contribute to the team and projects.
- Don't be shy. Ask questions and have a debate, you're not being interrogated. Treat the interview like a conversation. A date, if you will.
- Be yourself and see if your values align with the company's values. If not, nobody is the winner and it's better you find a company you will enjoy working for and vibe with.
Want to snag a cool job with us? You're in luck! We are currently accepting applications for a User Experience Design Internship. Click here for more information.