5 Things to Avoid When Applying for a Design Job

business tips drawing how-tos freelance life photoshop how-tos Jan 25, 2024

Before we kick this post off, we gotta say, that there's a lot of competition for design jobs - of all kinds - and it pays to stand out. If you're not confident your portfolio has cut through, do a short, industry-based course. Even very small ones like Watercolour Florals and Floral Illustration could make a big impact on your work and therefore, the opportunities available to you.


Tired of constant job rejections? Feel like your applications go unnoticed? Creative Director Bec at Longina Phillips Designs receives hundreds of job applications a month (and that's when she is not hiring!) and has seen countless mistakes that lead to missed opportunities. Read on to break down some of the most common hiring barriers, and nail that dream job you've been aiming for. 

1. A chaotic curriculum vitae

Your CV is your most important piece of self-advertising, and the first impression you create. And if it’s unpolished or unimpressive, it very well may be the last. "Even though we aren’t graphic designers, we look for good presentation in a CV,” says Bec. It should be laid out in a logical, scannable way and represent you in style. Bonus points if you can create a visual connection to your portfolio. 


2. Too much or too little information

Keep your work history and job skills succinct, but not too bare. If you haven't been in the workforce too long, don't exclude that old waitressing or sales assistant job. It helps us get a better feel for your overall experience. It's also a good idea to put a big button on your CV to link us straight to your folio. 


3. Offering your CV and portfolio on request

You have but two seconds to make a good impression. If you don’t include a CV and portfolio on first contact then it won’t ever get a look in.  The recruiter will skip past you, and straight to the next applicant (who has included their work and a summary of their work history). If you’re worried about the potential size of the file, compress them or email the link to your portfolio.


4. Showing only school work in your folio

It’s okay to include some of the projects you completed in school. But mix it up with designs you did in your downtime.“We want to see what you do when you have complete creative freedom,” Bec says. “It says a lot more about you and your skills."

5. Getting company details wrong

Double-check all spelling, address information, and contact names before shooting your application across. Research the company history, what service it provides and its key clients before entering an interview. Are you pronouncing the company name correctly?  Ours is easy to trip up on. It’s pronounced “Long-gee-na Phillips.” ‘Gee’ as in geese. These mistakes are so easy to make but unfortunately, they can stand out to a recruiter. Do your best to be accurate but if you happen to trip up, just smile and forgive yourself. A sweet apology will be even more memorable!


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