US economy and finding a ID job

I’m in my junior year studying industrial design and am worried about finding a internship this summer/job when I graduate school because of the current economic situation. Can someone tell me what our market looks like right now for hiring people?


Internships probably won’t be effected. If anything they’ll be boosted by the fact that companies will need work done and won’t have the cash to pay full time employees.

By the time you graduate this will probably have all blown over, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

Luckily college students are good at surviving on no money. :laughing:

I don’t think this will all just blow over like tumble weed. Internships are good but who wants to live off ramen noodles the rest of their life. Not me.

Design is getting FLOODED!!! These schools are giving too many people false hopes of being the next Thomas Edison and not helping people get real jobs upon graduation.

Even if you go to a well known school then you have to consider the star athelete syndrome. The days of good old fashioned talent are gone. The real designers are those who can survive in these times. Hats off to you guys and gals.

I predict maybe 5-8 years from now design job openings will be “BOOMING” like they were in the early 90’s.

It won’t be bad, it will just take you twice as long to find a good job. So, that being said, get yourself an “in the meantime” job while you look for a good one. I’d suggest big retail, Home Depot, that kind of place where there are almost always people shopping.

Also don’t be afraid to take small freelance projects too. These could be things like, CAD drawings, Illustrations, Renderings, Sketches, Graphic work, etc… This will keep your skills up, add to your portfolio, and keep you moving forward in the design world. They may not be what you want at the time but it will pay off in the end.

In times like these companies still hire. They typically gear up products… but they want experience and guaranteed best people. Intern/freelance as much as possible to build your skills, resume, and network.

I second this, HD saved my @$$ after graduation (Spring 2001), some of those retailers also have limited medical, or at least they did. Aside from that it should be mandatory that everyone work 6 months in that kind of environment, lots of lessons learned.

Also consider looking at the weaknesses in either your skillset or your current design school program and have a back up plan to go elsewhere to learn them post-graduation. I did this and the time/$$ was worth the experience.

I don’t think the economy is so different from earlier this year.

I graduated in '07 and after being laid off after a month and a half, I am still looking for an ID job. Only a few others I graduated with found jobs and some of them complain about having them! :unamused:

The fact of the matter is, finding an ID job is hard, even when the economy is great. I find it ironic that most of the people saying how great the job market still is/was have been employed for a while. If I sound a little irritated, it is because I am. It would be more beneficial to my mental state if we heard the stories about the individuals who couldn’t find work for years, (yes, for some of us it’s now years) and then finally made it.

Oh, and telling someone to “just do some freelance work” in the meantime is pretty lame. I would do freelance work if I could get some. The key word being “if”.

Whew, I’m done. Now I just have to put my soapbox away…

Arizona. Ouch. Thats why. You should move to NYC… or Chicago…

Didn’t matter. Couldn’t get an interview anywhere and now that I haven’t been working, nobody seems interested at all. It’s like if you don’t get hired right away companies figure that there is something wrong with you. At least it feels that way…

Some students I went to school with got “introduced” to the people who they are working for now. They were all very talented and deserved to work in ID. Some of us weren’t so lucky and are still unemployed in ID as a result. It still makes me wonder how so many people can do so well academically and still end up unemployed in their chosen field. As far as moving to NYC or Chicago, I have classmates who did move to those places and still can’t find work. You almost have to know someone on the inside to even get an interview.

I am about ready to give up on design. I LOVE the design process and the ability to problem solve to create a novel solution. I think about it day and night, and have been for years. but, it seems like only a select few will actually get to do what we all love and the rest of us are destined for the isles of Home Depot. But cheer up, there’s always freelance work!

(and yes, I know I sound irritated and sarcastic, that’s the whole point)

Yes- I had to work as a waiter for 6 months after I graduated on Sept 9 2001, till I got an internship. That 6 months allowed me to re-tool my portfolio until it was decent. I imagine that people are spooked right now. Definitely second the notion that this is the time to get hired as an intern. Less commitment needed on part of the hiring managers.

2 years, in that time I waited tables, delivered pizza, worked at Home Depot, repaired furniture, got unemployment, and verified home owners insurance for a huge lender. During this time I went back to school, worked on my own projects, resume, portfolio, and scoured for work. It SUCKED, and I was in your boat, but I got a small break, then some freelance, then a better break, and now work on all kinds of projects. Use your free time wisely, that’s all I can say.


I know how you feel but it can get better. I was in a similar situation when I graduated from school. I graduated in 2002. I did not get a job right away. It took me about 4 months to find my first job which was a contractor for a major cosmetic firm. The kicker to that was 8 months after I took the job they cut 50% of their contractor and I was out the door. From there I struggled for a year to find work. This was the hardest year of my career. I was drawing unemployment applying for any job out there and taking any freelance work I could find and I do mean anything. This worked ranged from creating flyers for a local hardware store to helping out I start-up ID firm that went belly up. Like you I almost gave up on design. I started to doubt my skills and was about to go back to school and get a degree in business or marketing. (I know I almost converted to the dark side) Then all of a sudden the hard work paid off. I was picked up by the company I am with now and I have been here for the past 4 year.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the old saying is true, “You can do anything if you put your mind to it”. I refused to give up and I finally found something. Am I working for some fancy agency that does all kinds of blue sky stuff…No. I work for a major candy manufacturer doing conceptual, and seasonal Pkg. But at the moment it is a job and I am getting the experience needed to get to that great agency. You can do the same. We have seen your work and you are talented so keep pushing and you will get there!

yep. It was six months after graduating and relocated to Chicago for me (fall 2002).

At first I thought “OH, there are all these awesome design firms in Chicago, I’ll get my dream job!” That didn’t happen…so I thought, “Ok, anything creative will do.” That was hard as well. Then I thought “Shit, I just need to pay the rent, I’ll get a job at a bookstore or coffee shop.” Nothing (the job market was flooded with out of work professionals).
One week before my lease was up on my apt with my then GF (now wifey) I got an opportunity out of left field. A couple of months after that I was presenting my work to our client’s high level executives of some huge fortune 100 companies.

It sucked, but like the others say, stick to it and work your ass off finding any angle you can. Life rarely takes any sort of normal or expected or planed path, get used to it now.

and good luck. :slight_smile:

I would recommend a CAD monkey gig if you can find one. I did it for a while. It was boring as hell but I was making $35 an hour modeling faucet parts. There are several headhunting firms that can place you if you know what you’re doing in Pro/E or Solidworks

Why don’t you take matters into your own hands? Come up with a product and produce it. If you’re smart &/or lucky, you won’t need to find a job. But even if it doesn’t make any money, you now have valuable experience that nobody else coming out of school can match. It also helps fill timeline holes in your resume, because you can say you were working on developing your own products, even if you were actually spending 40 hours a week telling people where the teflon tape is at Home Depot.

Everyone always thinks it’s so hard and takes massive amounts of money. It doesn’t, if you do it right. Look for things that can be sold at fairly high margins (~50%), are expensive enough that they don’t require huge volume to generate significant revenue, don’t have high tooling costs, don’t require a lot of labor, and don’t require you to carry big inventories. Most designers who try to self-produce product ignore most or all of these factors, so they end up selling little labor intensive tchotchkes on Etsy and making the equivalent of $2/hour.

This is much easier said than done, especially for someone just out of school. cdaisy’s suggestion is a good one.

man up, sally. :wink:

i graduated in '99. i left my first job to work at a firm. on my 51st week there, i was laid off (in 01). last one in, first one out. it took me 7 months to get a job. i jumped at a POP job with a company local to me at a lower salary. lousy company, lousy manager, great coworkers. i toughed it out there, sharpening my skills, reminded myself constantly of the low i had come from before this job, and really made a huge effort to improve myself. i made the best of it.

i finally found a position back at a firm in the industry i loved, in a part of the country i wanted to move to. loved the job, loved the owners, did a lot of good work, learned a LOT. by this time it was '04,'05.

fate struck again and after a few years, the firm was in a cash crisis and i was laid off.

i had a LOT of doubt about my career, my skill, my choices after my first layoff, but the second one was more stressful because i was now married with a mortgage payment.

luckily, the day i considered looking outside the region, i found a job out here in california (a coast to coast move). my wife’s company has just merged with another company with allowed her to seek employment in the same area internally. it turned out i was EXACTLY what this company was looking for. they had been looking to fill this position for about 6 months. i took it, my wife transferred and both of our careers have accelerated beyond our expectations.

you just have to tough it out. swallow your pride, keep your skills sharp. these hards times will make you appreciate the successes so much more. you can always use them as a reference when you get your design job and have ‘a bad day’ to keep things in perspective.

my wife and i still marvel at what has happened to us in just 5 years. if you would have told me then where i would be living and working and what i would have accomplished, i would have told you to GTFO.

persevere, never forget these times you survived, they will benefit you many years from now.

Design engine gets quite a few people helping out with over a year out of design. Maybe you can find someone that has one leg into design and offer help. Work history is what you need. And thousands of sketches… Maybe you can locate a design group or contract job so you can fill the gap between designers and engineers for a year. I know of one contract company in Peoria that thinks designers are non degree engineers. They don’t have a clue about design nor a design process.

Industrial Designers who know surfacing are in big demand and pay is out of the world. Got to focus and not give up.

I hate to recomend you to tristar because they… well no name calling. They are located there (for some reason) in Phoenix. Il f you learn Pro/ENGINEER you will be in the mix with engineers (who often) control the budgets and find your nitch. Tristar can teach you surfacing but I doubt they would know the difference between a designer and a non degreed engineer. “wow your an artist” attitude from a value added reseller.

Where you work Ninja Jesus dude? I lauged when I read your post. GTFO and move to a big city!