Spending over 8 years in the field of UI and Interaction to shifting, with now 3 years of ID, with many items going to market. So a combined time of creating items for humans of 11 years. I am always at a loss as to applying for work. Some places want Juniors with 3 years of product work. I’m thinking “awesome” and hit the apply while getting to writing a nice cover letter. Most of the time I get a phone interview and get the classic line “you are one of our top picks” but yet get a denial as to my experience. Then I see senior spots and tpity type up the letter and send it off, but I might as well have thrown a letter into the dust bin, as I never hear a word.
Here is the thing I am ask you all, where would you lump me?
Truthfully, I would care less about the # on your resume and more about the body of work in your portfolio. When it comes to experience you have to ask questions like, Have products you designed hit market yet? What was your role? What was the team composition? Where did you begin and end your involvement? Now show me 5 more examples.
If stuff is still under NDA that can be very tough unfortunately. If you do have a body of work to share though that might provide more honest feedback. I’ve seen people at 3 years who have several released products with lots of involvement through the process, and I’ve seen some people who were clustered into a corner focusing on very specific areas only, which doesn’t really give them “senior” levels of experience.
To me Senior positions generally imply someone who can work autonomously without much intervention or ramp up time. Junior implies that there is more time for them to learn the ropes, tools, and processes which may be new to them.
Understandable - since you are showing a furniture project is most of your work furniture? One thing to also keep in mind with experience is depending on the field you’re in, jumping to another “niche” area can sometimes knock you down a notch depending on the job requirements.
IE if you had an awesome portfolio but it was all furniture, you might have a tough time getting a gig in structural packaging or consumer electronics in a senior role unless you can show how you’ve had experience with plastic molding, engineering, that sort of thing. Not saying that’s your case - but another thing to keep in mind.
All good points being made. I think I’d sum it up, that the level is a combo of the following factors- (not necessarily in order)
Skill. If you are good you could be Sr. quicker than someone else. If you suck, you could have 10 years and a Jr. forever
Knowledge. In addition to skill, there is often particular knowledge to an industry, process, etc. that just takes time to accumulate.
Management. Often, more senior roles expect management to more junior designers or a team. If you haven’t had management opportunity (direct reports, etc.) this could affect your potential to be more Sr.
Variety of Experience. A more Sr. designer might be expected to have a wider skill set, including sales presentations, graphics, etc. depending on the place
Personality. Sometimes it just comes down to personality. More Sr. designers should be able to command the respect, to manage both up and down, and interface at a certain level of professionalism with anyone from vendors to engineers, to clients.
Yeah, mainly furniture and lighting. I have done toys. The first generation Leapster I had a role in. I have even lectured on ID. I have done almost all that you named but for electronics (phones, computers) and that seems to be all that people want to make. More I-landfill but in reality this is all landfill. You can view my main folio site off my profile.
I think the knock down I was taking into consideration when applying to those electronics jobs as I’m not the guru of cellphones. I think were I was going with this thread too was that there really is a sliding scale of where you are at as a designer. A senior of electronics is going to have a hard time landing the senior lighting spot. I have been leaning to all out Creative Director as my skill set of Interaction and UI (graphic) are seeming to not be as applicable unless I got back to where I came but find ID my love.
Yeah, I slimmed it down to these as I got reviews saying too much along with user data. Look at Netscape browser to see my UI. 98-01 . You would have to work at Sun MicroSystems to see the internal business applications I am not allowed to show either. oh and ever have to deal with customer service auto bot? That was me on a team of 7 for Iplanet not allowed to show but you hate me everytime you have to push 4 to talk to a representative. The corp world is real straight forward if you read the contract and that you cant use the material for personal gain. Other then you worked there, who you worked with and what kinda projects.
I log all info on users that come and the time spent on my site. The average time has gone up since taking down the 20 to just show a few things. This stems back to the question as well, when showing the UI and interaction stuff along side the ID, and the line of who and what I am is blurred and detracts from the ID aspect of where I am most happy.
For a senior ID role, you aren’t necessarily showing shipping product except for maybe 1 or 2 examples in your furniture category, the rest of the projects (like the footwear for example) look below the level of what most Jr. level people are producing. I can appreciate that you did 3D, but the 3D isn’t that great and none of those projects show any ideation or thought process.
It’s fine to leave deep process for the portfolio, but to show none, and then show an end result which still looks unfinished is below the caliber of most out of school grads right now. I want to be immediately blown away by your presentation of thinking through at least 1 product, and none of that is shown.
There is a lot of process in there and with the amount of ideas I have seen stolen. Putting it all out there on how and why you did something is the fastest way to have someone just do it and patent something you felt not so great. Also at the bottom of every page there is a dl link. Your process is your proof of life and just showing the end product means you might have to dl something to get the back end. Most if not all employers ask for the main folio once the site (teaser) is shown. I hope to god what I see on these folio sites isnt all the process.
My experience to actually work is that you dont get a month or even two weeks solid time on one project. At any giving time while I am leading and mastering 6 projects and I wish, dreamt, I had more then two hours to sketch and finalize something between sourcing, client relationship, press, oh and actually building things, oh if there is any meeting for business. NOT SHIPPING MY FILES TO CHINA.
I would take a look at the portfolio guide that was posted - there’s lots of good information in there and a lot of it highly applies to your work.
Your resume is a good example of what things not to do as well (it’s harsh, but it’s true). Ditch the logos, give yourself some white space and a grid to align your elements to. Avoid the giant letters at the head of a paragraph, it makes them difficult to read and draws your eyes to area of little importance. Also, if your focus is ID lose the detailed web languages and stuff. These days no one in any position will care if you know Front page which hasn’t been relevant since the late 90’s. You can just as easily write “web development” and cover those bases. If they expect you to know DHTML they’ll ask you (but they won’t - I too came from a web 5 years of web background and I dropped almost all of it from my CV). Ditch the “Curriculum vitae” header too, if you don’t what it is when see it then theres an issue.
The good rule of thumb is no one expects you to be a great graphic designer if you’re not applying to be one. Simple, clean, and concise - while showing you observe the basic good rules of readability and usability (think of your resume, website, and portfolio as a product family) are key. Right now all of those rules are being broken, and if kids coming out of college have sharper resumes and portfolios then that you’re going to need to take that into account to get your foot in the door.
This market is competitive enough that with what you’ve shown, nothing stands out as exceptional or senior.
Here is another question; I owned and founded a record label when I was 17 and it ran successfully for 13 year when I left the music industry. Do I show all that stuff (fliers, album art, site designs) business? This is why I’m thinking of just changing the site to an all out creative director roll. As just showing ID seems to be just one piece of much larger picture of creating things for human successfully. Not just pretty sketching.