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how to… apply for a job with a design agency (part I)

January 29, 2014

written by
Bri Martinez

The 300FeetOut team often receives inquiries about job opportunities with our studio. We’re flattered by the interest in our company and we’re always happy to speak with individuals, whether the goal is to simply network, or to see if they might be a good fit for our team. Sometimes, however, there is a lack of understanding on the part of the applicant regarding best practices for interviewing with an agency. The 3FO team has set out to write a series of blog posts over the next few months to pass along tips that will make the process easier for all involved.

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how to… apply to a design agency

So you just graduated from design school? Congratulations! You’re looking to change jobs? We wish you the best! After having more than one experience where an applicant has committed a faux pas (or two), we wanted to do our part to pass along a few tips to the job seekers out there. Here are a couple of friendly hints regarding best practices when applying for a design job with a studio.

 

1. update your online profile.

It’s a good idea to always have your online profiles up-to-date, but it’s especially important to update them before you apply for jobs. Does your portfolio have your latest work? Does LinkedIn still show you as a sophomore in college? It’s likely that we’ll look to see if we have any common connections. If we do have mutual friends or common connections, it’s safe to say that we’re probably going to ask them about you before we even decide if we want to check you out up close.

 

2. ask for an informational interview.

If you’re finding it difficult to get an interview the traditional way, contact someone on the studio’s team for an informational interview. Offer to meet up and buy him or her a coffee or drink. Or ask if you can just pop over to the studio for 30 minutes of their time. You never know when an agency is looking for assistance and when the time does come for the studio to hire new talent, they typically ask everyone on staff for recommendations, so making a connection with the project manager or the accountant can work in your favor.

 

3. do your research.

Review their website, their current design projects, and be familiar with the marketplace. Do you like a specific project they recently finished? Did you see an announcement that they’re working with one of your favorite brands? Perhaps you saw that photo they posted on Facebook of the whole office in coordinating team costumes for Bay to Breakers last year and it made you laugh. Mention it in your email or cover letter. Be prepared to discuss your opinions related to the design field. Look at their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest profiles to see what they find relevant and research it so you can be prepared to have a conversation about it.

While basic and generally considered common sense, we find these are important details that applicants often forget. Check out part II in this series for tips on the actual interview!

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