What companies will want to hire me?

I graduated, ID, during the market dump of 2008 when hiring was like trying to land a bowling ball into a golf ball cup. My options came down to being a CAD Jockey or Goofey at Disney World. Like any responsible young adult I took the CAD job ( I know you were wishing I had said Goofey) and started working in the field of Engineering Systems Integration for military rotary aircraft. In short I design ways for electronic equipment to be installed in military aircraft and develop engineering drawings from part to install. None of my work can be seen since it is proprietary to the US Government and most of it wouldn’t be all that impressive in a portfolio unless you had a fetish for bent sheet metal.

After reading Now Discover Your Strengths, I did realize that my best attributes are ones of conceptual ideas. At work I am quick on my feet to come up with solutions to difficult problems but shite at starting an install drawing (very tedious). I love to learn new things all the time but have never really wanted to master anything (That is why my sketching never goes beyond mediocre and it is hard for me to know, by heart, ASME Y 14.100).

I constantly see jobs that require Commercial experience in “blank”. Which I obviously have not had but I do want to escape the military contract world and develop in other fields. I feel like the only response I will get is, “Keep sketching and work on stuff on the side”, but can any off my Core77 peeps say that you work in a field or know of a field that likes to see designers with my background? Or is my only hope plenty of afternoons of “Keep sketching and work on stuff on the side”?

Many thanks

59 views and no opinion… Awesome.

You love learning, but dont get better at sketching because you dont want to master it? i hope i am misunderstanding.

Do this. you need to show a potential employer that you are capable of doing the job they are hiring for. the only way you will find work doing anything other than what you are currently doing is to take initiative. Im looking for a job in my own field, but am not allowed to show the majority of my work done professionally, so i still have to “Keep sketching and work on stuff on the side”.

Its hard to work a full-time job and work on your portfolio on the side, but you have to do it. luckily if you enjoy design this can be liberating to sketch with out a boss.

Good luck

PS: 59 views with out a response isnt very many. Keep in mind many people reading are at work and it can be difficult to give a quick thoughtful response.

Damn…I really wanted to hear about Goofey. The above is right on target. Most of us have been in your position. Normally your first job is never really the one that you are going to stick with forever. You have a distinct situation in that you are working on classified information. This makes things difficult in the fact that you cannot show your work, but is great in the fact that I am assuming you are working on some highly detailed a sensitive work. This could be a phenomenal cover letter, and you can use this to your advantage.

Now how do you show work in your portfolio. First off you need to sketch. Do at least two hours a day. This is no different than any other skills you have. if you stop doing it you will start to loose it. Sketch, Sketch, Sketch…by doing this you will start to build a sketch book you can take to interviews. Next you need to build a current portfolio. I was in a similar situation early in my career and I started to redo old school projects. I am not say redo them all. Some maybe fine. I am say that there has to be a couple projects that you look at and say “damn I could have brought more to that”. Well…now’s your time. Take what you have learned and apply it to these projects.

Hope this helps. Post some work as you go so we can give you feedback.

You might have better chances going to a medical device type company, I worked at one and there were a lot of engineers from aircraft. I know what you mean though, it was hard for me to break into consumer products from that, but you have to do some side projects to show you can do a mass-market type design, unfortunately ID is a “show-me” type profession, so show them you can do professional quality ID stuff, maybe 2-3 projects of things your into that you could see at retail. Also try other industries that use design engineers and IDers. Chances are ID is under engineering at those companies and the engineering director will respect your “heavy on the engineering” experience and see it as the plus that it is, just make sure you have some nice “show-me” pieces for the mass market stuff you want to do.

You love learning, but dont get better at sketching because you dont want to master it? i hope i am misunderstanding.

I might have written that for misinterpretation. My constant need for learning and idea concept makes personal projects difficult so they never go into a finished look stage until I have a new idea or internet search for something new. I was really able to Relate to Adam Savage on TED when he talked about his bookmarks on his computer to be littered with folders of ideas, of projects that he will probably never start or finish.

Thanks for the words of encouragement and the slap of reality.

If I can’t see you complete something that you assign yourself based on your personal passion and commitment, how can I trust you to to complete something that is assigned to you at a high level? You have to demonstrate your ability to follow through at least to a point where the idea is more complete and visually communicated to a level that would compel and nspire others to help to develop it… Ideas are cheap, implementation is expensive.

Well said Yo.

I think there is a blurry line between “passion” and “work”, but the end goal is what should be driving you, whether its next week, next year, or on a three-year goal time frame.

Chip away.

Where I might not exceed in developing my own projects. I excel in meeting the needs of people who count on me to get a project finished with engineering excellence and customer service. I don’t think I would still have a job, let alone be considered highly as a top designer ( in my company), if I wasn’t able to implement design and projects and see it through until it is installed on an aircraft. I am just not able to show this work due to its sensitive nature and I seem to be more successful in my design process if I know that someone else will be effected by the work that I do.
For example, at my local art center there is a community garden that was starting to degrade. With the help from some other volunteers, I designed a new layout and now coordinate work in the garden. It has become a big success since I started work in January. Here is some before and present photos:

Most recent

I think this speaks a lot but should it belong in a portfolio?

Alerick: The garden project is great for the hobbies section of your resume.

Without seeing your portfolio and everything, I think you are quite a bit further ahead than you think. Any employee that is capable of showing up to work day-after-day is already better experience than 75% of new grads. Moreover, you have products in production, right? I know they might not be impressive compared to the iPhone, but all of your tech drawings, follow ups, quality control, office communication is worth a lot for anyone looking for a designer. All that experience tells me that I don’t need to take your hand and walk you through every little project. Again, this is more than 99% of new grads have.

I would try to leverage your technical skills to get into an office. Consultancies always need CAD jockeys and this could be a way of getting some experience closer to where you want to be. Also, industries that are more technically oriented, or use bent sheet metal (there are a lot).

Mind you, be prepared for the long slog. As yo! has said, your career is a marathon, not a sprint. The good thing is that you have started running and that’s an accomplishment in times like these. Just keep moving forward!

Thanks Mr-914. I received approval to show some of my work in my portfolio. I will gather up a Technical section of my portfolio and display it for criticism.

Thanks to everyone’s thoughts