AIGA Austin: Finding Work

AIGA AustinI recently went to a great Q&A panel for tips on finding work, hosted by AIGA Austin. It was a nice environment to meet others who were either getting ready to start their careers, or wanting to switch jobs.

Some nuggets worth sharing:

  • Less is more. The same rule of simple design also applies to simplifying job-hunting. Fewer, greater pieces in your portfolio is better than 20 not-so-good pieces. Same goes for your resume and cover letter- the less superfluous information a recruiter has to read, the better.
  • A good cultural fit with an agency/shop is vital. Plan to visit all of the agencies you're interested in.
  • You'll advance in your career faster if you don't restrict yourself to staying at one agency for a long period of time. Hop around, learn from different agencies, and grow from the experience. Find out which place fits best with you for the long-term.
  • If you're dying to work at a specific agency, don't bombard them with applications/emails. Wait to reapply after 90 days.
  • College experience is not necessary. Initiative and motivation is what matters.
  • You can teach skills. You can't teach personality.
  • Speculative work never grows old in your book, but after 3 years into your career, you should have more client work than spec.
  • People value personal development.
  • There's nothing wrong with cold-calling. It should be done more often, actually.

The panelist lineup included Greg Carley (Creative Director at Chaotic Moon Studios), Matt Mowat (Creative Director at Hammer & Tongs), Stefani Zellmer (Creative Director at Zeehive Creative), Scott McAfee (Managing Partner at SandersWingo), and Jennette Lemley (Talent Agent at Vitamin T). There was time after the panel to meet them; they were all very nice and honest with their answers.

I hope you found these notes helpful. I'll be writing a post in the near future with my own tips on finding work.

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