My husband decided to go to uni and last year he completed a degree in graphic design. He was lucky and won few competitions during his uni years and got good grades. So I believe his teachers, which happen to be well linked to the industry, saw some potential. So we believe his folio is not that bad.
He has been trying to find a job for the last 10 months and he can';t find anything permanent. We know the economy is not at its best…but somehow jobs keep popping up.
At this stage he is very depressed, taking some medication and won't leave the house. He doesnt know what else to try… I have been doing research and found this forum, so I just wonder if someone can give us some positive news.
At this stage we would like to hear that there is hope. That he did not waste yrs in Uni for nothing. We noticed the jobs in seek.com.au are quite specific, many ask you for a corporate images folio, another one about food, other people ask for studio experience of at least a year… whats with all these ads? Have people ever been hired after reading one of them? Do companies actually find people with all this criteria all the time?
My husband has done some volunteer work and that is fine, he got some experience from that…But when working for free at first is all good and once the project is finished you hardly hear back. No studios or recruit agencies bother to look at his work cos the lack of experience…and agencies only hire people with experience.
I suppose we just need to hear that we are not alone… Australia produces hundreds of graduate designers every year and I think the market is really saturated…
Apologies for the rant… but I don't know where to turn to. Please please let us hear successful stories in job finding…
From my experience the thing that they don't teach and what you need to have in design is determination.
Many designers that I know that have been in the industry for a long time may not have started out the most talented but they were the ones who battled on.
I also know a lot of very talented designers that don't even work in design as they kind of gave up on it after graduation and not landing a job.
Getting his first job in design and a foot in the door can be the hardest challenge he'll face as it just not easy and he may have to start out at the bottom of the ladder but once he does things can move onward and upward.
It's SO easy to feel defeated and have feelings of self doubt creep in as it happens to me and I've worked in design for over 20 years.
A lot of the jobs advertised IMO do ask for the moon on a stick and it's not uncommon to see ad's for a graduate with "heaps of experience, web, motion, print, 3D, illustration and coding skills" which I just think is bit idealistic, unrealistic and read like a kids Xmas list.
My best advise for him would be to carry on doing design work on personal or made up projects as design is like a muscle that needs exercise. This will improve his skills and his portfolio.
I left the design industry for quite a while and returned to it with few Mac skills and not much of a folio so what I did was bought a Mac, set myself projects and built up a folio and learned the software as I went.
I landed a job in a print shop and carried on learning and moved on from there.
You can't plan for landing a job and I know that one day you can be hitting your head against a wall and the next you're polishing your shoes to start a new job. They can be just around the corner.
It does sound like he's suffering from depression which is not an easy place to be when you need to push yourself and stay motivated.
I once found myself in a dark place and I found a very good book called "Feeling Good" by David D. Burns, MD.
It is hard for new designers at the moment. Uni's and private schools are pumping out students, and the accessible nature of design software means anyone can be a 'designer'. But like @Scotty says a lot of people give up, and only the determined and persistent prevail.
He needs to read books, blogs and tutorials.
Don't just rely on advertised jobs. Get some face time with a studio by contacting them directly. He may not have experience in design but if he's a bit older than a normal grad then hopefully he can make up a bit of nous with life experience.
Get him to get involved here, post up some of his work and ask for advice/comments/thoughts on his folio.
First thing before anything else, if you or your husband are feeling so depressed over this, I would recommend seeing a professional about this. Give these guys a call at least, they are great even if you just want to talk things out with someone a little: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Secondly, the industry is over saturated with graduates, has been for a few years now, and this will only get worse with the latest budget impact on education funding. Basically if young people want to study design then they will be offered courses in design, whether there's a demand for designers or not.
I would actually advise getting a job in something completely non-design related, something like a bar job or similar. Just get back to working regularly, regular income, interacting with people ...etc. You should be defined about who you are as a person, not what you do for a job, and giving some distance may help to provide some perspective on this.
And something to remember: 50% of graduates never work in a field related to their degree.
From my opinion, like @PETREE mentioned, get in touch with studios even just for a meet to go through the portfolio and get opinions, they might not be looking for someone but they might know someone who is. Network at design and art events, I've met some great contacts through events.
I struggled to get my first design job, I had to work another job whilst also continuing doing volunteer design projects and freelancing directly through people who I knew who wanted gig posters, flyers, logos etc. Also if he does this, he will also be getting "experience" even if its not directly from a studio he can claim he has experience working as a freelancer which trust me counts for something.
Also has he got opinions from people in the industry on how he presents his portfolio/resume etc as he might not be tackling this correctly and sometimes this is something that educational institutes can not deal with in the best manner. Also is he getting any interviews at all? My first full-time design job (junior to mid-weight designer), I got they specifically requested 2 years experience but I explained the scenario that I had been freelancing for a year and from that I'd learnt a lot about dealing directly with clients, printers, managing timelines etc so they took me on the basis that I'd actually developed a different array of skills that would suit the specific requirements of the job more than what the ad requested and the company agreed so sometimes its also how you go about applying for the job. Is he applying for many jobs? Has he contacted many studios? Has he gone to open portfolio nights (I think AGDA run some)? Is he getting interviews or not even making it to that stage?
Overall don't give up, if he keeps at it, the possibilities are endless and also a lot of 'design' skills are quite easily transferable so if in the future if he decides he's not sure he wants to do it.
I really wish him the best as I know how tough it can be like the rest of us do.
i arrived in australia, didn't know anyone, the lay of the land so i just took a job right at the bottom, in a print house, didn't get all oity toity about having a ba degree, i earn't less than a dish washer, and i should know for that's what i did first of all here
i have moved around a bit lately, recently to the countryside, i started doing work gratis for charities, community groups and really low paid work for other organisations, that gave me a base
i would also support dave's view, don't let the bastards grind you down and get some professional help
Scotty, thanks for the book, will get it, and will work on determination. Will encourage him on keep doing self initiated work and push harder.
Petree, will encourage him to follow your advice.
Dave, thanks for the link.
James B, yes my husband got a few interviews and was told somehow; they need someone less skilled… I reckon that because he is mature they feel he can outsmart them or something… Dunno, maybe studios just need kids in their early 20's. People that they can manage easily. Is not supposed to be all about talent? If you graduate in your 30's doesnt that mean that you are serious about the trade? I reckon that says you are serious about it. He feels that he is too old when he goes to network events and see all the kids. He sometimes think that there are no designers over 30!
Looney, thanks so much. Good to hear you story about determination. Just what Scotty said.
My husband already has a profile here, but to avoid stigma I think I would keep him under wraps at the moment.
I would love to listen more positive stories, to give him hope.
There must be a lot of members in this community that somehow landed a design job somehow. If you wish to keep it private I would kindly ask you to send me an email if you wish to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any positive story about working in the design industry will be welcomed , words of encouragement will really help us.