Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby JenJaw » February 1st, 2017, 3:26 pm

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Hi Guys,

I've been looking for a new job for the last 3 months or so and had absolutely no luck - no interviews and very little responses from job applications. I work in retail design at the moment and whilst I get to work with interesting clients, I want to move in to the industrial design field so I get to do projects with more depth. I'm based in the U.K and looking to work in London for personal reasons.

This is the CV and portfolio I'm using for applications, just wondering if anyone has any advise as to why I may be having issues getting responses? I'm also very interested in hearing anyone else's experience job-hunting in London or generally - How to stand out? Best places to look? etc.

Portfolio (Unfortunately due to NDA's I can't show work from my current role):

Jennifer Watling CV - 2017.jpg


Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby mirk » February 1st, 2017, 7:06 pm

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Hey Jennifer,

I'm in London right now as well, and it's definitely a competitive market! I wouldn't get discouraged after only 3 months, but it's definitely worth shaking up your approach and seeing if there's anything you can do to increase your response rate.

What kinds of jobs are you looking for? In-house or consultancy? Any specific field?

I just moved here from Silicon Valley, which requires a pretty aggressive approach. I've had to adapt a bit for the way brits do things, but it can definitely give you a competitive advantage to stay aggressive and engaged, since most applicants won't.

My general approach when I see a posting I like is to immediately pull up the website of the recruiting firm. When you apply, it will give you the name of the recruiter who posted the ad. Call the recruiting firm and ask for them, tell them that you just applied to one of their positions and that you'd like more information about the role, and give one or two reasons why you align with the job posting to pique their interest. You've essentially got yourself an interview with the recruiter at this point, and if you do well, they'll remember you and get you an interview with the company.
Mike Coyle

Tonik Sound

Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby AndyMc » February 2nd, 2017, 5:11 am

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JenJaw wrote:I want to move in to the industrial design field so I get to do projects with more depth.

Are you interested in any particular area of industrial design? Your current portfolio is quite broad, and you're showing furniture, a mouse, a 3D printed watch and a dog monitor all in the one place. The best advice I've been given is to tailor some of your work to target the area/company that you want to work in.

JenJaw wrote:Portfolio (Unfortunately due to NDA's I can't show work from my current role)

Apply the skills that you've developed in the professional world to tailored personal projects. Another thing that I've seen mentioned a lot on these boards is that people often get noticed because of their personal work, done in their own time, and not just because of their professional accomplishments. The dog project feels much more personal than your other 3 projects to me and captured the most of my attention.

Your actual folio has a lot of good content, but the big blocks of text are distracting and to be honest, I'm not going to read it. I want you to show me how to you think. An image/sketch of a dog happily engaging with a tug toy with an icon or short+sharp caption conveying the core message ('physically and emotionally engaging dog is beneficial') is more easily understood than a sketch and a block of text explaining it, and much more likely to hold my attention.

Good luck with it!
Andy McIntyre
Folio | Instagram | | LinkedIn

Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby JenJaw » February 2nd, 2017, 1:58 pm

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Thanks for the responses, some really useful advice about being more forceful with the application process, I imagine it's easy for CV's and folio's to fall through the cracks when there's so many people applying to the same roles.

I'm pretty open to what area of I.D I get a job in, my ideal role would be with consumer electronics but ultimately I just want to get experience doing a more of the design process as really all I do at the moment is the initial creative (no development or design for manufacture). I have a few projects from uni I've been wanting to re-work for the portfolio but haven't had the time to do it yet, so that next on the list!

Also on reflection I agree with you Andy on the amount of text in the folio so I'll look to trim that down. I guess since the dog project especially was very in-depth I wanted to convey everything I did to explain how I got the the end result, though realistically people - especially creatives - will mainly look at the pictures.

Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby DesignNomad » February 9th, 2017, 7:11 pm

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Many times someone filters applications and resumes before they are shown to the hiring managers and design teams. If you're applying to larger companies, there is a chance that you're getting overlooked at a recruiting/HR level because of your resume. While I can personally appreciate the personality you've put into your resume, my HR personnel won't know the metric on a slightly more than half full thermometer of Cinema 4d skills. They don't know if that means you're a little more than half-way to total mastery of that program, or if you've been using it more than half of your career. If they're looking for someone with Cinema 4d skills, you'll most certainly be overlooked if other applicants are more clear about their skills and experience.

That being said, don't let a dry spell get you down. I've experienced months of unanswered applications, only to finally get multiple interviews all within the same week. Sometimes that's just random, but other times it coordinates with hiring budgets being approved each quarter/year.

Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby rukka » February 10th, 2017, 8:50 am

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I agree with DesignNomad RE toning down the CV. I think there's a couple of threads on here with people talking disparagingly about star/thermometer ratings for trying to highlight competency levels.
As for applying for jobs some good positions occasionally come up on Coroflot (although it's mainly US based) also try Dezeen and Adrem. Adrem will arrange a pre-interview meeting with you where they could give you advice if required.
There are also a number of places just outside of London that have designers over my ten years of living in London of worked outside London for around seven. As you're heading in the opposite direction to most people you'll get a seat on the train everyday and if you're working half an hour out of London you'll still be getting to the pub at around the same time as your mates who've had to travel across London after work.

Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby Jboogie941 » February 10th, 2017, 4:31 pm

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Hi Jenjaw,

I took a look at your resume and portfolio samples. First thing that jumped out at me that I would personally change are your thermometers and icons. Try to keep your resume as simple as possible. Let your work experience/folio fill in the thermometers so to speak.

Second, you have some good stuff in your portfolio. Your wording can be a bit overwhelming in some spots. I would focus on strengthening your
ideation (sketching) and problem solving sections. It seems you jump right into modeling and prototype making before thoroughly exploring your ideas.

I agree with DesignNomad as well pertaining to hearing a response. You may go months without a single call or email, then out of nowhere you can have multiple interviews... Keep it up, failures not an option. :D

Re: Job Hunting Problems - Advice Needed!

Postby Sketchgrad » February 16th, 2017, 4:46 pm

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Hi Jen,

As mentioned I'd get rid of the thermometers and also the infographics, try to keep your CV as simple as possible whilst still visually pleasing. I'd be tempted to argue that in our line of work a CV isn't all that important as other fields as realistically it's the portfolio which is the selling point. I'd also get rid of the blocks of orange, if you do get called into an interview then more than likely someone will print this out in B&W and it won't look as vibrant as it does on screen.

I've attached my actual CV and the one that is the front page of my portfolio (both sent out in the same application). This current iteration has worked quite well for me recently as from it I've had a fair amount of good interviews and also secured two jobs from it. I used Dezeen and leManoosh to look for jobs in the UK and it was quite helpful. You may also want to use recruiters such as Adrem, Designtalent or Blackdot. Blackdot is run by Wayne Euston-Moore and he is quite well known in the UK design community and very helpful.

I have some more experience than yourself as I'm probably more middle-weight and although I've unfortunately jumped jobs quite a lot due to various reasons, my current portfolio is working quite well so perhaps it can be a bit of inspiration for you?

Here is my entire portfolio:
Also my website:

Behance is a good tool to look at examples of work these days and get inspiration. It has helped me a lot over the years in making sure my skills are aligned with my peers. Finally, you say London for personal reasons but for me, I've got my experience by going to the work, otherwise I wouldn't have any so try be more open minded if at all possible (plus it will be cheaper to live elsewhere!!)



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