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04 Mar 13

I wear whites socks and drink lattes…

Irwin Hau | Web Agency Life

JobSearch

This was one of the 1st lines we read in one of the resumes we received for a web design role we had available. It definitely made us want to read more as it was different and somewhat interesting. Web design agencies are always looking for something different! So let’s be honest. As an employer, we received a truck load of job applications for website roles we post up. On a recent drive we got close to 100 applications within 2 weeks and they ranged from fantastic to “definitely has room for improvement”. So in honour of those we decided to put together a summary list of all the mistakes things candidates have made with our suggestions, hopefully to educate and assist those looking for a design job. Apologies if some of these sound like common sense but you’ll be surprised with how many applications failed based on these points: Make your cover letter stand out The candidate had me at hello. “I wear white socks …”. It wasn’t the usual “Hi my names <insert name> and I’m applying for the web designer role you posted on <insert job search directory>. I recently read in The Age an article of Matthew Ross who wrote a rather honest job application (http://www.theage.com.au/executive-style/management/banking-on-searing-honesty-20130116-2ctfd.html). I’m not saying that everyone should go down this route but it makes the point that if you write to stand out, you will stand out. Make sure your email address and phone number are correct (and work) Regardless if you’re application was stunning or horrible, we still want to contact you to let you know of the progress of your application. We had a surprising number of email bounce back notifications and even incomplete phone numbers. As my mum would say, make sure you double and triple check your work. Yes mum. Include a portfolio Our design job application specifically mentioned (in capitals I believe) “if you do not include a portfolio we will not consider your application”. It’s a design job so why wouldn’t you have a portfolio, honestly that’s all we really need to see. Read the job application, seriously A tenth of applications we received had nothing to do with what we were looking for. Because our job description was specific in what skills we wanted, with “nice to have” consideration bits, it meant that we would NOT be looking for software developers when we wrote specifically web designers. Big difference! Have a kick ass portfolio Put your best foot forward and show as much variety in your portfolio (types and industries). Do make sure it’s relevant of course. Those who did great had a PDF and/or web portfolio which was highly stylised and personalised. Do remember your portfolio itself is a design piece! It’s not imperative that you have a web portfolio but if you’re looking for a web design job, then it kind of makes sense to have one Keep it simple and say just enough A design portfolio should speak for itself. We obviously go through your cover letter and resume but ultimately those that had pages of text made it hard for us to read. A great idea which a few people did included an infographic style resume. It was clean, to the point and gave us a clear indication of skills and experience. Gold star right there. 5.clean-minimal-resume-designs Source – http://christamr.deviantart.com/art/Typographic-Resume-236315801 (example)   What time did you send it Personally for me, I actually looked at the time you sent your resume. It’s not that we discriminated against night owls and morning people but it kinda gave us an indication on the type of person you were. Those who applied at 9am gave the impression of being fresh go getters. Again not a big thing but was something to note (don’t get me wrong, I’m a night owl myself – go to sleep! yes mum lol) Seek experience if you need it I’ve just graduated so I don’t have much to show for. I don’t have big clients, I don’t have any work experience. Well, if you’re truly passionate about what you do, you can either create your own experience by working on a few personal projects yourself. Just be honest about it in your interview, all we need to see is that you have design potential and that your proactive, I can’t see why we wouldn’t consider you. And secondly try to get as much experience as you can. If you can’t find an agency with intern or graduate programs, you can also try non for profit organisations who would be more than happy to take you on for volunteer work. Why not try to find your own clients in the mean time, a few extra dollars and a bigger portfolio never hurt anyone. Thank you to all those who did follow “the process”. We know you’ll change the world one design at a time. P.S. I acknowledge that this post could have been more creative, but luckily for me it’s not a design job application.

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