What am I missing?

I’ve been looking for work for a few months and I’ve only had two interviews. I have my own website and I’m starting to wonder if there’s something that should be in there that I don’t have. Can anybody tell me what I’m missing?


Please be as brutal as possible. I just want to work.


First of all the economy is terrible. I’ve been looking for a graphic position since June. I’ve been on many interviews… only 1 rejection but made the top 3. (Actually I was a bit under qualified for the job so I was just flattered they were really considering me.) The other companies are still on hold… just not hiring yet.

Second, you need to test your website on a bunch of different browsers, machines (PC, Mac) Makes sure that your site works on them. I checked on my PC using Mozilla and IE. The larger images didn’t seem to load. When I get a chance I’ll try on the Mac where I intern.

Finally, what are you doing to contact companies. Are you searching on line? I find that a waste of time. Networking has been the most productive use of my time. I’ve had friends of friends get my resume in front of hiring managers… that did lead to interviews.

2 months really isn’t a long time. Keep at it and you will find something.

A couple of months isn’t very long the way the economy is now (although it is long when you have rent to pay). Sometimes you just have to catch places at the right time, like at the beginning of their new fiscal year when they have budgets to bring in more people, when someone just left, etc… A lot of the timing is just plain luck if you don’t have any insider tips on a place. Just keep sending out the promo materials, like every 3 months in cycles, then you’re bound to catch places at the right time. Good luck, don’t give up, there are folks right out of school that aren’t getting work for the first 1-2 yrs from what I hear.

Typically, it has taken me 8 months to find a new job. I was unemployed in 1992 and 2001.

Tiffany…your resume loads as a jumbled mess on my PC. You may want to check that and make sure it loads properly no matter what system someone is using. The alternate portfolio takes just a little too long to load and I have a fast connection. I actually wandered off to look at other stuff and came back.

It does seems like its been an uphill battle for a lot of recent graduates trying jobs. Some people really are lucky and are hired right when they graduate. The rest of us have to wait longer. I would suggest you show your diversity of skills but also make sure that whatever your greatest strength is comes across in a clear and compelling manner. Also research the companies you are interested in. What kind of person are they looking for? If you believe you are a good fit, make sure your cover letter, resume and portfolio show that. Contacts in the industry help a lot but we cant know everyone everywhere so for those places where you are going in cold, your resume and portfolio are all you’ve got to get your foot in the door. Those two items are the first impression you make. Dont just make an “ok” impression. The competition is stiff and so you have to be outstanding.

My advice:

  1. Diversify your work

  2. Use discretion (One photo of a lesbian kiss? Cool, she’s bold. Multiple pictures and cover artwork of vibrators? Yeah, you might be scaring some business people or recruiters off at this point.)

  3. Add “case study” detail to each of your portfolio pieces.

When people hire designers, they typically want a “safe bet.” Someone they know can understand their business and bring out it’s best through design. It ALWAYS helps when you can relate how your design made an impact to the bottom line.

Also be sure to target your work for specific companies and/or industries for the same reason. I swap out work in my portfolio depending on who I’m showing it to, and it’s always worked well.

Hope that helps–good luck!

What do you mean by diversify? Is the work too similar in content (ie. too much sexuality)?Or too many of the same things(ie.posters, book covers etc.)? . As far as case studies go, I’m going to start drafting them as soon as I can. Thanks for the help.

I took all of your advice regarding reserch and specific targeting, tried it today and now I have an interview. I’m not there yet, but at least I have a foot in the door. Thanks so much for all of your comments. I’ve tried to simplify my site for PCs but I have no way of checking it now. Let me know if you see any more problems.

Design with this in mind: the typical website visitor will probably only click a handful of times before moving on. (Check your logs to prove it.)

Yes, show more capability in terms of different visual styles, subject matter etc. Right now it all comes across as being in the same genre. Also show more in terms of project diversity: corporate identities, packaging, magazine ads, fashion vs. editorial photography etc.

One specific piece of advice has to do with how you’re categorizing your portfolio: try organizing by project rather than discipline and piece. Chunk like pieces together and create a story around it.

For instance, right now you’re showing all of the ads you designed on separate pages. Instead composite the best in the series together on one page with some background on the project. If you show the past ads next to yours, you can give the viewer even more insight into how you solved a problem for the client (ie. made them more targeted, less expensive to produce, improved the quality, or whatever.)

Photographing your work is another great way to help add context and credibility to your graphic design work. This is also a great way to communicate a sense of scale and the overall quality of the piece.

i liked what i saw in the personal section best. the pink illustration with the licking tongue. kewl. i didn’t like the illustration in the graphic part where the grrl was kicking the record in the air. that just looked badly drawn, and not “purposefully” badly drawn.but just. well…like that is the best you can do on perspective kinda feeling. and to be honest- you don’t want anyone to doubt your illustration skills for a graphic position. just drop it. i liked the black grrl illustration cropped though, but i didn’t care for the type. - she didn’t look frustrated… at all…more smiling malevolently. maybe don’t show everything you have- you want your best work to almost speak for itself. maybe lose all type unless absolutely necessary. you are going for a graphic position not a writing job, right? and you want a potential client to think they are getting a gem, if even in the rough. try hittin up some ad agencies or exhibit companies for an internship or entry level job…good luck. you definitely got the goods. just a bad time for designers everywhere. shit. i just got my first job recently and about three weeks ago i was moving furniture. (sad to say i think i even made more money then.) ugh.so you’re not alone… ps. also, i agree. lose the lesbians kissing.