Discouraging... what now?

I apologize for the depressing subject line, but I need some advice on what to do next.

I graduated four years ago in an industrial design program here in Canada. For the first year I was applying to companies that were hiring or offering internships (I didn’t intern during university, big mistake), talking to professionals in the industry, and getting feedback on my portfolio. I took up any job to pay back student loans, and essentially took a break from design in the next year. My father passed away in the following year unexpectedly and it completely devastated me.

Since then I’ve tried to get my life together by taking courses to upgrade certain skillsets i.e. CAD and sketching, and applying to companies that specialize in those skillsets that I would like to improve upon (prototyping, etc.) and I did score a few interviews but they usually blamed the bad economy, the sudden decrease in their company workload, or the fact that I don’t have enough years of experience. Some gave some encouraging advice, but generally I’m having no luck.

At the moment I’m without a job, and the financial stress is starting to creep in. Luckily I have a place to stay and I’m continuing to apply to more places. I don’t have the financial means to relocate, so I’m basically stuck where I am.

Any advice on what I should be doing next?

Thank you very much.

Without knowing more about your professional background, it is really hard to give you any meaningful advice.

We are a community in the ID world and every single designer knows struggle one way or another. There is a lot of support here. So people will tell you to not give up and keep going and to work on your portfolio and skillset. And they are right, you should.
But without seeing your work or knowing within what field of ID you’d like to work, it is really difficult to give you anything but a pat on the back and a generic pep talk.

So here is my tip, post your portfolio here and state clearly where you’d like to work. Portfolios geared towards an in-house kitchen tools company will be different than one for a CE consultancy.

Thanks for the tip!

I’ve posted my portfolio in the portfolio section, but I’ll add a link here http://fongdesign.wordpress.com/
and the Core77 portfolio link: Some feedback please

Thanks again!

Send your CV to everyone and follow up intensely. I was just talking to our sales director and he was telling me that is all sales really is. You would be surprised at how many people DON’T do that.

Seeing as your website is down, where are you located?

I’m building a new site, it’s going to take a while. I’ll target more diverse companies instead of the private design firms, maybe 3d printing or drafting companies in the area. In the mean time I’m taking a survival job to pay the bills, I’m in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Are you building your own site? Or are you using a template?

Getting your work online should really not take very long, as long as you have the content ready to go.
Personally, I am using Squarespace. All the themes have their limitations but genrally, it really is easy as pie to get your work up and to maintain it.

Unless you have very specific ideas around the web experience you want the user to have or you want to show your coding skills, I would definitely discourage from building your own site. Especially now when you seem eager to show your work.
As mentioned, Squarespace is a good one but I have also seen cool sites provided by Wix and Cargo Collective. I would have a look there. I checked out Wordpress which I think you are using but I really didn’t connect with it very well.

I would second what bepster just said about not spending too much time on the “building” process focus on the content creation. I also strongly suggest you look at Behance ProSite to host your work for two reasons:

  1. The back end is extremely easy, drag and drop, plus gives you enough features to do some cool things. http://mnml.com/ is hosted through Behance Pro. Ton more examples here https://www.behance.net/prosite/examples

  2. There is no point having an amazing site if no one is finding your work. Why limit your audience to only people you send a link to. It’s important to be a part of a networked community where potential hiring managers, and recruiters might be looking. Plus this a great way to be potentially be cold contacted for freelance or other opportunities that you might otherwise miss out on. Behance has definitely eclipsed Coroflot in terms of the go to place for ID work, and well worth the premium for the ProSite if you’re actively job hunting.

Best of luck

Ah yes, I heard good things about Behance Pro-site as well.

I went with Squarespace as they support my favorite podcasts :wink: