Great question, and I’m sorry I don’t have much input to give. I was actually thinking about asking the same question myself, so I’d love to hear what other people have to say.
Is this a good time to make a job change? I would that that moving to or getting a new job at this time would be risky, because you would then become the low man on the totem pole and more likely to get laid off if times get tough for a company. Thoughts?
Or, are certain areas safter than others (consultancy vs. corporate vs freelance) or fields (consumer products, soft goods, medical, exhibit, etc).
I’m surprised by how many designer job postings I’m seeing and the amount of recruiters contacting me looking for people to fill positions. It makes sense I think. Companies are aware that to get out of an economic slowdown, they will have to sell more products. Launching new product lines is probably the most successful way to increase their market-share along with strategic acquisitions and mergers. To launch that new product line, you will need a talented, focused team of designers. Which is why people are hiring.
The flip side is, there is a lot of pressure on these designers to perform, so most of the postings are for experienced designers with track records of results oriented product design. This puts any student from a Co-op program at an advantage. The company gets the energy and positive attitude of a fresh graduate, along with someone who has some experience in a business environment.
I’m quite interested in this topic myself because I’m going to be moving to the US to look for work very soon (looking at San Francisco) and even though there seems to be frequent job postings I’ve been having a hard time applying from overseas. However I think this is purely because of a distance thing cause my level of experience is quite adequate I think (6 years and counting), my folio is quite solid and I have US citizenship… technically paperwork and skills should be covered.
I’ve had people in SF tell me the market is not too bad… is this true in general? I’ve done my degree and all my work experience here in Sydney with major consultancies but I’ve done heaps of work for many large US clients like Verifone and Energizer … so I’m guessing my lack of response from companies is more due to inability to interview rather than “hard times”. It’s just very confusing because there is very little feedback.
I’m sick of applying from here so now I’m looking at moving to SF and applying locally probably in the next 1-2 months. Is this crazy? I’m interested to know what people think given the current status of the industry. I don’t see much choice.
I am facing the same problem even though i am in the SF bay area…I moved from India almost a year back, leaving a very interesting job at an automotive company…thinking getting a job would not be difficult with a masters degree, 2 years of experience and a decent portfolio…but its been tough…
I have been freelancing a bit since then…
Does calling the design firm directly help? Not being from a design school here and not knowing anyone in the design circles in the US just brings everything to a dead end…!
Unfortunately, Yo’s experiences ring true. Nobody wants to hire any fresh graduates because they don’t want to pay to train them. Even with internship experiences, unless you have 3-5 years experience on a professional level, most companies won’t hire you, unless they want another intern. Has anyone else found this to be true?
I have once won a job over some beers at the local pub with the company Director after calling a consultancy looking for work. This is not normal but it does happen (maybe it’s an Aussie thing ). Timing and network (i.e knowing people in the area whose name can help you spark conversation) is essential in my experience.
Zoiee, have you been to any design conferences or exhibitions? To me they seem like a good place to meet industry people.
Fatkid, I’m hoping what you’re saying is true… otherwise it’s a bad sign for the industry.
It seems that experience(time wise) is the only thing they look… first. Your resume(prior job content), technical and critical thinking skills, portfolio, awards and publications, etc become secondary. Plus, needing a work visa sponsorship is almost like having a criminal history to the employers.
i came out of school thinking i was going to make it on my design prowess alone. not true and i learned that lesson the hard way. if you can do the same thing someone else can, you really need to market yourself in a way that makes you a more attractive candidate. of course, this doesn’t mean bullshit your way in, because if that works you will be soon ferreted out or find yourself working with a company that has no clue what your profession is about. if this is true you will soon be back to square one.
you would be really surprised to find out how many people are in positions or professions they really didn’t get degrees for.
One of the major ways a designer land a job is through referrals from his/her own network of friends.
Don’t forget to cultivate relationship with your fellows at school. One day they become your business partners, or the ones introducing you to a job.
Networking with other designers outside your school through professional associations (such as IDSA), informal groups (Core77, LinkedIn)
Choose an industry that you are most interested in entering after you graduate from school, then study that industry right now. IDSA has a mentoring program for design students to tap. Find your mentor in that industry, he or she may point you out the direction and insider information.