Background (feel free to skip)
I’m in my second post-grad job (graduated in 2015). I’m looking for a new role and having little luck getting through the door. The type of job I’m ideally after is in a consultancy, or in-house at somewhere consumer electronics based, but I’m not super picky, somewhere where I can learn and be creative will be a big improvement to where I am currently. My roles have been in retail and gifting/retail respectively, but I rarely work on the whole project which has limited the commercial projects I can put in my portfolio. The majority of the time I just make quick illustrator visuals of basic displays which is unfulfilling and has me questioning that if this is the only type of job I can get, do I even want to do this anymore? But I’m not one to give up that easily, so I’ve come here for help to get my portfolio to a level that I can get the type of job I really want.
This is an impressive portfolio, the amount of projects just to be expected applying for a Junior position.
I like the graphical style of presenting the projects as a story, and you are graphically very strong. What I am missing are some solid underpinnings for your design decisions. For example, did you test the PlayDoh machine or analyse it in terms of fit to the stakeholder’s requirements. The Tone Amp design I see you went for minimal but it turns out a bit basic, I would include it but most likely not as the ‘hero project’. Design-wise you will continue to develop refining your work, you are very much hiring material as I see it
In terms of the Play-doh project, that mainly decided by the client in terms of the route we went down for the final design direction, and we knew with background knowledge on retail that the mechanisms were simple enough to not be easily damaged in store and create an attraction - I’ll make sure I highlight that in the portfolio. I’ve also been thinking of revisiting parts of the amp project just to give it that bit of missing personality and a bit more robustness. Again thanks for your input, it’s helpful to get outside perspectives
Your folio is on point with some great quality work. Keep applying and you’ll get a foot through the door with this folio. Are you having trouble getting an interview, or not getting responses after the interview?
Are you looking specifically in London? Maybe there are some networking events that you could attend or reach out on LinkedIn, Instagram etc to connect to the right people?
I’m having trouble just getting interviews. I’m only looking in London at the moment due to just signing a new rental contract but unfortunately, it feels that there are very few jobs going at the moment around here (that I can find anyway). I am sending out emails to studios that aren’t specifically hiring but I either don’t hear back or they aren’t hiring. Networking events are a good idea, I’ll have a look for things going on.
Jenny, your portfolio looks good. You really just have to keep putting yourself out there and continue to show your passion through side projects. When you network, talk about those projects. I think it speaks volumes if you are designing and improving your skills during your free time because not everyone does that. Honestly, it is so competitive to get a job that many others are striving for, so do whatever you can and do not give in to discouragement.
Definitely network more. Networking events have absolutely been rewarding experiences for my career, especially studio tours and one-on-one meetings to talk design. They often leave me feeling energized, especially if there is lunch or coffee involved. Being in an unfulfilling job can be very draining, so having design resources (whether offline or online like core77) help you make the most of your situation. Also, while a full-time position is ideal, it can be helpful to try contracting. Sometimes studios only need someone in for a few days and they’re likely to contact those they already know. Those few days can be blissful for you because it’s a change in scenery in so many aspects. Always keep your portfolio up to date, and stay active online and offline so that companies think about you when a new project comes in and they need some more hands on deck. Good luck.
Thanks for your thoughtful response, some really helpful advice in there. I am strongly considering contracting for a while whilst working on personal projects up to the point I am free of rental contracts and can start looking further afield. Then hopefully I’ll have more good work for a portfolio and it won’t seem quite as hopeless!