Job Search

Additional Resource Links:

COOP 188: Career Search Essentials. This course meets once a week.

The Career Resource Center staff will hold office hours in WPC Annex, students can contact the CRC to schedule an appointment or drop in hours are:

Mock interviews “Meet Your Future” event takes place in February

The Career Fair Prep Night is in March

The Career and Internship Fair  takes place in March

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The search for a job in Graphic Design typically begins by building a portfolio showcasing the best examples of your work coupled with evidence of practical work experience outside the classroom/studio. There are four main portfolio resources you should be familiar with:

  1. Portfolio Basics
  2. Portfolio Contents
  3. Extend Your Portfolio
  4. ARTS 175 Senior Portfolio

A series of practicums and internships are extremely valuable in that they give you a chance to “try out” a small sampling of the thousands of different design environments that exist out there. Many actually lead to a first job offer. All provide you with the opportunity to supplement your portfolio with examples of work that have gone through the entire process from initial concept, client approval and production stages. The links above and the information below are meant to aid you in gaining the absolute utmost from these experiences and supply you with tips on how to organize your portfolio work and self-promotional material in the best ways to get you “in the door” of your dream design office.


Your Job Search requires that you prepare a series of self-promotional pieces whose purpose is to advertise, inform and promote you to a perspective employer. Each of these separate pieces has a specific function or purpose but must also be viewed as an integral part of the whole group and as such, they all need to visually “connect”. It is your personal Visual Identity. This self-promotional series is typically made up of the following;

  • business card (to remind and provide contact info)
  • résumé (to inform and list skills and experience, close companion to the cover letter)
  • cover letter (introduction to yourself, highlight an example skill and/or experience in a narrative fashion, gain an interview)
  • self-promotional piece (creative, memorable and useable, reminder, contact info)
  • portfolio (presentation, samples of top quality personal work, both digital and physical versions)
  • website (provides access to all of the above information)
  • business social network site (such as Linkedin, target contacts and references)


  • Design = Consistency and Clarity = Organization
  • Extension of your self-identity brand, design yourself
  • Grouping and Hierarchy
  • Get your Book through the Door
  • Take advantage of Portfolio Review opportunities such as the annual Portfolio Review Day sponsored by AIGA

Networkingsocial media

Send a letter and a well-designed résumé in advance. Your résumé is a simple typographic design problem, displaying vital information about who you are, where you’ve been and what you’ve done in an organized and structured fashion. Follow up with a phone call and make an appointment. Call the day before to confirm that you still have an interview or a drop off, who to see and when. Brush up on the firm’s work. It helps to know something about the studio and what they do and have done before you can expect them to be interested in your work.

An overall first impression is what makes a huge difference in getting to the next step in the process. If your first impression doesn’t communicate visually, you probably will be viewed as choosing the wrong profession.

Don’t think for a minute that more attention is paid to your e-mail than to a letter or phone call. It is much easier to ignore or delete your e-mail than it is to print it out and keep it on record.

Present in person whenever possible. The live person is what an employer is interested in. They want to hear and see you present your work. Your intelligence, enthusiasm, energy and passion are more important than your whole portfolio.

Criticism of your work is always meant to be constructive. It also shows  whether you can take criticism. This is an important factor in evaluating your potential to learn. Actually, criticism is often directed at the faculty who taught you.

dress for success dress for success 2

Dress presentable. Speak up and narrate your work. Don’t just sit there and wait for questions or comments. Be self-critical. It is one of the most useful traits to be able to evaluate your own work in as an objective way as humanly possible. When asked, tell what you think is good and what is not so good. This will distinguish whether you know the difference.

Most of all show that you love and live this profession with a passion.

Steff Geissbuhler, Principal—Chermayeff & Geismar Inc.

Networking 2

Linkedin—professional networking site
Join Professors Lee and DeBoer on LinkedIn

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