“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” -Henry Ford
India Clausen graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Graphic Communication course in 2015. In her talk she gave us an insight to the world of work following graduation and relayed some of her own experiences.
In the field of design, we have had it rather drilled into us that preparation and preliminary research are the foundation of our discipline. Clausen reinforced this when explaining her first experiences with job seeking. While real world work is always a good way to gain experience, it isn’t everything. Be ready to engage at any level but don’t worry if placements are hard to come by.
For the best chance of success, we were told, customize your CV to suit the potential client or employer, research the company prior to engaging them and use this to make your self as appealing an opportunity as possible. I compiled a list of all the points brought up that I felt were most helpful:
- You’re not expected to know everything straight away, you can ask for help
- Whatever your position within your group, be that work or university projects, give your opinion.
- Rise to the challenge – This was an anecdote I found very useful, we learnt about Clausen’s experience, when new in a position, being left to work entire projects as the only resident designer.
- Don’t merely follow the letter of the brief, attempt to over deliver. Suggest improvements beyond the remit of the brief.
- Learn all the relevant software you can. Having digital skills gaps will be to your detriment.
This is one of very few afterlife talks I have attended thus far and I found it really informative. In conferences such as the 4 Designers, I found that despite the obvious value of learning from high level professionals in the business, that I was further removed from them as and undergraduate. Hearing from those at the lower rungs of their career ladder, relatively fresh out of university is definitely a more relatable experience.
Although Clausen’s first steps into the Design career were not the norm (a job offer immediately after her third year exhibition after chatting to the manager of a design agency), that in itself is an eye opener to the nature of design as an industry. It’s all about getting to know people and networking. This is something I’ve started to do but hadn’t understood to such an extent the possible implications of doing.