Career | Making a Change, Part 1

Well hello, my long-neglected blog! Not long after my last post, I embarked on the journey that is changing jobs, and now that I’m 30+ days into my new role, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on everything that went into that change.

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Back in October, I was invited to speak on a panel discussion at my alma mater, Marymount University, about how to transition from student designer to professional designer. I had a surprising amount of things I wanted to (and did) talk about, but thought I’d highlight a few of my more job search-centric items here.

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I’ve been on both sides of the interview table within the past year, and have been taking mental notes about what appeals to me as an interviewer, and what to incorporate as an interviewee. A lot of these will probably seem obvious to seasoned professionals, but might be useful to those of you who are rusty at interviewing or are just going into the job market.

  1. Have your portfolio and resume in front of you during phone interviews. Even if this means keeping a print copy with you and having a PDF of your portfolio on your phone that you can reference, you need to be prepared to know exactly what your interviewer is referring to without relying on your memory.
  2. Always be at least 10 minutes early for an on-site interview. Don’t expect to start the interview early, but it’s a good idea to give yourself time to get to the right place, get your bearings, and breathe.
  3. Ask for their business cards. Always get your interviewer’s business card(s) so you can send a follow up thank you email!
  4. Make yourself memorable. Before the interview ends, make sure you’ve left something memorable behind—your business card, your resume, or maybe a unique print piece. Send a thank you email to your interviewers—same day is best.
  5. Don’t be afraid to follow up. If it’s been 1-2 weeks since your in person interview and you haven’t heard a peep, it’s okay to follow up with your main point of contact. Keep it polite, use proper email etiquette, remind them who you are and what position you’re interested in, and spell check before you send.

For those of you job searching, if you’re a fan of spreadsheets like me and looking for a way to track your applications, feel free to make a copy of my Job Application Tracker.

Any other tips you’d include for job searching and interviewing?

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