I am a recent graduate in Industrial Design from Europe - beginning with my application process, now.
One question that I keep having trouble with is: What value do I add to a company? I keep reading about the importance to state this in my cover letter or in the interview and (eventhou I can come up with some values I think I have) I wonder which value would mean something to the HR department or Manager?
We all learned how to communicate by means of sketching (better or worse), we all know how to do image research, build models - but what would impress the employer enough to be worth mentioning?
What I am trying to say is - is my personal idea of design important enough to be called an added value or is it something that the people on the other side of the desk have heard a hundert times before and its just something that won’t make a difference?
I have to think about the scene in the movie ‘walk the line’ when johnny cash is auditing in this small record studio and the guy asks him for the one song he would play before he would die.
Does a graduate designer with 0 years of experience (other than a mandatory internship) have a groundbreaking value he adds to a world class design firm with some of the top designers? I don’t know.
If you don’t know what value you have nobody can tell you.
what a creative answer - thank you.
Maybe I asked my question in a wrong way. Can somebody who is in the business tell which values you should mention and which ones you should keep for yourself because they are standart skills.
I was thinking about it like the answers to the questions of strengh and weaknesses. I know there are certain things you can mention as a weakness and there are certain things that you should keep for yourself.
Example, if I say I feel like my sustainable approach in my projects in material and production techniques fit the approach of your company and I think I would be a positive addition to your team, would that be a strong value? Is this precise enough? Would I have to be more general? Is this a value?
I think something like you said at the end is good to mention, but ONLY if you actually have that in your portfolio. You shouldn’t just say random values you think you can bring, you should mention the ones that you can actually show through your work.
I still stand by my previous answer. Knowing which things are nice to hear won’t help, unless and tarngerine mentioned, you actually have those skills/experiences and can demonstrate it.
There are 1000 “right answers to the question” but they need to fit you. Some examples -
- commercialization of design to build profits
- innovation and problem solving, creating new solutions
- rapid visualization and exploring many different potential designs
- manufacturing knowledge and experience
- cost saving through smart design
Of course, I agree that I have to have the skills I advertise. I wasn’t looking for a list I can copy and paste.
I guess it is about reflecting every value you mention in your portfolio.
Still I think it is interesting to think about which values come across strong - being an entry-level designer without real experience. ‘cost saving through smart design’ and ‘commercialization of design to build profits’ are points which I think are tricky to be strong values when your right out of uni. no?
You’re entry level. You don’t bring anything yet. You need to get in, any way you can (portfolio showing what you’re capable of is a start…) and get to work. You need to soak up everything you learn at work, and start to see where you fit in and what you can improve upon. That’s how you determine the value you add to the company. There’s no reason why you should feel the need to differentiate yourself by providing some indiscernible “value” to the company. They look at your resume for 15 seconds, see you have no prior industry experience, look at your portfolio and are either impressed or not. It’s up to you to make yourself stand out. By filling your cover letter with adjectives that you never speak, you’re showing them that you’re just trying to feed them BS.
Thank you NURB. This is my feeling aswell. I felt intimidated reading about ‘adding value to the company’. I feel like I have something to offer but mainly it is to integrate myself in the company and start getting basic work done.
Thank you all for your answers.
Eze, I think it can be easy to overthink these things, which then leads to anxiety about saying the right thing! At this point in your career I recomend keeping it simple, stick to the facts, be honest.
For example, you might craft something like this,
I am responding to your open position for the role of xxxxx that was published on xxxxx.com
As a recent graduate of xxxxx I was excited to learn about this opportunity. Tell anecdote about why you give a shake about their company here…
Attached you will see my portfolio which highlights my skills in xxxxx, xxxxx, and xxxxx. Also attached is my resume.
I look forward to the possibility of discussing the opportunity further and finding out if I am a good fit for your team. Thank you for taking the time to review the materials attached. I can be reached at the above email or phone number if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you for your sample text. I did overthink this.
You’re welcom. Think of the design problem statement of your cover letter (or more likely email) like this:
The cover letter must demonstrate I am professional and qualified while getting my potential employer focused on my portfolio as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Personally I’m not a fan of the cute, clever, or memorable cover letter. Let your work be your differentiator not your cover letter!