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Beginners Design Guide: Preparing For The Interview

The past three months, I had a chance to work with two great interns. It was a pleasure walking them through the process of taking a project from the sketch/thumbnail stages to Photoshop mock-up, to print ready art/html/css.

Before their intership ended. I gave them a few tips on preparing for their interviews. I'm sharing the same tips here, in hopes, it may be helpful to other designers just starting out.

I would like to also thank Emily Lewis, owner of A Blog Not Limited, with additions to my list; Any Questions? and Thank You Letter, along with her suggestions.

+ Be Prepared For The Interview - Wear your best clothes: dress, dress shirt, tie, shoes, etc. Be confident, if not, act like you're. Do research on the company before the interview, Google (what they specialize in, what they are about).

+ Brand Yourself - Let employers see you as a brand/product, a total package. Everything should look similar: resume, business cards, leave behind and your portfolio pages.

+ Resume - Don't clutter your resume. It should be designed but not overly designed. Make sure it's simple and easy to access your information.

+ Any Questions? - In most, if not all interviews. You will be asked if you have any questions for them. Be prepared with a few thoughtful questions that show your interest in the job, but also your commitment to your career. Such as: "Can you give me an example of how the team/department works in terms of division of tasks?" Or: "What are the growth opportunities for this position in terms of either job growth, continuing education or both?"

+ Thank You Letter - Never forget to follow-up with a thank you letter (or email, though letter gives a personal touch). Make sure to, obviously, thank the interviewer for the opportunity. But also to reiterate how you can benefit the organization and, conversely, how the organization can benefit you

+ Portfolio - Your portfolio should have between 8-10 pieces of your best work, too many pieces will bore the interviewer. Don't put pieces in you don't like. Make sure you have nice quality printouts. Try to include a wide range of design projects in your portfolio. You can also tailor your portfolio to specific design positions like logo design or web design, only show those pieces.

+ Leave Behind - You may want to create a leave behind promotional piece; postcard or a folder with 3-4 samples of your work, resume and business card. This will keep you in their minds and give an impression that you're willing to take that extra step.

+ Website - Make sure you have a website or a place to display your work with all your information. Also make sure to have different file formats of your resume for potential employers, so they can download: pdf, Microsoft Word document, text file.

If you're not comfortable with building a website yourself. There are many free online web galleries you can upload to, below are a few.

+ Carbon Made
+ Design Related
+ Coroflot
+ Designer ID
+ Flickr
+ Veer
+ Design Hide
+ Behance
+ Logo Pond

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leaving a business card could be a nice touch never thought about that, it suddenly makes sense, good tips.

can someone show me some examples of well designed resume...not like the normal word type...

Great list. A few more tips that have helped me over the (many) years:

1) Be prepared with a few thoughtful questions that show your interest in the job, but also your commitment to your career. Such as: "Can you give me an example of how the team/department works in terms of division of tasks?" Or: "What are the growth opportunities for this position in terms of either job growth, continuing education or both?"

2) Never forget a follow-up thank you letter (or email, though letter gives a personal touch). Make sure to, obviously, thank the interviewer for the opportunity. But also to reiterate how you can benefit the organization and, conversely, how the organization can benefit you.

Nice list of virtual gallery resources, Calvin. THANKS!

Excellent post. I'd also add VisualCV (visualCV.com) to the list of options for free online resume/portfolio building.

The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.

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About me

  • Mayhem Studios is a small award-winning design firm located in Los Angeles, California, developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation. The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client's specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces, annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising and interactive web sites. Calvin Lee, Principal & Creative Director of Mayhem Studios is a graduate of Platt College and serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department, NO!SPEC Committee and on the Creative Latitude Management Team.
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