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Tips for Graduate and Junior Designers

I have had a lot of candidates reach out to me recently to discuss opportunities in the market for someone who is just starting out as a UX Designer. Most of these discussions were had with graduates from Academy XI and General Assembly so I decided to dedicate today’s article to those who are going to graduate or who recently graduated from these short term immersive Design courses. I will be sharing some thoughts on what you can do to make the job searching process easier as a junior designer.


Make yourself stand out

What motivates you to become a designer? Answering this question may help narrow down the industries or types of organisations that you want to work for. From there, you could make a list of companies that are of your interest and start reaching out to people who work there. 

LinkedIn has made things so much easier for us to connect with people professionally nowadays. You could connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn to express your interest in the company and why you want to work for them. Some may even be open to grabbing a coffee with you to walk you through the company values and may refer you onwards.

I know this sounds like something anyone would know. But trust me, not everyone is doing this and you are already making a great impression by reaching out to people. If that manager is hiring, you will definitely stand out from a pool of hundred applicants who just submitted their resume. And if not, it’s likely that they will remember you when they start hiring. 



Agency or Client side?

From my observation, I’ve seen a lot of people start their career in an agency before going to an in-house team. In my opinion, if you don’t already know what industry you want to be in, agency sounds like a great option as you will get to work on different types of projects for clients from different sectors. And from there, you will be able to decide what you are interested in. That’s the pros. And the cons to it is that you don’t get to solve the problem on an in-depth level as you jump from one project to another. 

Getting a job in a digital agency for a junior designer can also be quite tricky depending on the size of the agency as you need to be billable. For example, if you have a background in visual design or research psychology, you can be using that in projects while upskilling in UX. That’s why it’s important that you understand your strength and what you can bring to the table. 

I feel like I need a separate article on this just to talk about this ‘Agency Vs. Client side’ topic because there are so many factors to consider when deciding which space you want to be in. So watch this space! 

Networking and Events

I think it’s fair to say that Sydney designers are quite lucky in the sense that they have a really big and engaging community here. There are a lot of free UX Design Meet-up Groups that you can join to meet with people and make yourself known. It’s usually a free event where you get to meet and mingle with people. (I am in a few of those and highly recommend ‘Sydney Creative Customer Experience’). You will be surprised by how many opportunities you could get by participating in these communities! 

With what’s happened recently with COVID-19, the job market is more competitive than ever. I really hope my advice is helpful for your job search.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to drop me an email and I will be more than happy to help. 


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