Ask DN: How did you get your job?

over 7 years ago from Jeff Everest, Freelance Mobile Designer

  • Dan SherrattDan Sherratt, over 7 years ago

    Combination of luck, knowing someone, and trying incredibly hard to impress.

    After working in a series of truly awful jobs in the midlands (Birmingham/Wolverhampton, UK) I went travelling on and off for 2 years.

    Upon my return I applied for around 200 jobs a week as a graphic designer, but my lack of hands on experience meant that from the 500 or so jobs I applied for in a month I got 2 interviews, one in London, one closer to home. I failed to get either (one stated they weren't sure I was committed not to go travelling again)

    A friend working for a mobile agency in London asked if I could put together some mobile banners for them as someone had let them down and they had to hit a deadline, I happily obliged and they were surprised at the speed and quality of my work (despite it being simple mobile banners) and continued to use me whenever the workload couldn't be handled by their in house team. Another friend was throwing me some print work at the same time so I could pay the bills.

    Eventually the work was coming in from the mobile agency so often I told them I'd need (like) to be put on a contract so I could secure a move to London without worrying the work would dry up. I took an absolutely huge pay cut for this, although now I can safely say it was the best choice for me at the time.

    I've been at the agency for 4 years now, moving from the advertising side of the business to the product development side. Moving from Designer, to Senior Designer, and more recently Art Director.

    Things I've learned:

    Research, research, research. Even now, in any meetings with clients, being able to reference a specific advert they had 5 years ago, or an app their biggest competitor has just released always takes them by surprise, the same can be said for interview situations.

    You have a right to your opinion, state it. Don't just moan, moan with purpose. People love honesty, as long as you can back up opinions with your research and knowledge, you're providing them and yourself with leverage in a situation.

    Recruiters don't have your best interests at heart, you're allowed to say no to things they suggest even if they think you'd be 'perfect' for it. If you absolutely have to work with one, make sure you go for a coffee with them and tell them exactly what it is you want.

    Having an online portfolio is important, what's more important is that it contains things that are up to date, and even better, something in it that is 'live'.

    0 points