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Creative Director’s Job Tip: Don’t Make Me Work

January 3rd, 2013


We’re starting a new series on “Job Seeking” advice for young graphic designers on a mission to find a firm that is both hiring and interested in responding to your e-mail. Why? Because you are trying to learn how to respect the process and showcase your work in the best light. You may be applying into a creative industry, but like any other professional job, we want to know that you’ve taken the time to show us that you really, genuinely, want a job.

Our advice is going to be predominately for new graphic designers and recent college graduates, but our hope is that this may be helpful to designers, account managers and seasoned professionals as well. So, without further ado, I give you Job Tip #1: Don’t Make Me Work.

The Cliff Notes:
1 – Your first introductory e-mail to a firm should include all of the above:

a) Cover letter (This will be our next topic.)

b) Resume (Professionally designed in either InDesign or Illustrator. Not an infographic – keep it classy, not trendy. Saved as a .PDF)

c) A link to your online portfolio or a .PDF of your portfolio that is under 10MB.  (This is a must!)

d) Contact Information that is current. (Phone and E-mail)

2 – Make sure your e-mail is personalized and to the point. The e-mail does not count as a cover letter. It should only be a small paragraph in length.

Expanded Thoughts:
The average Account or Creative Director probably receives 50+ e-mails a day, while balancing their client work load so they’re probably going to quickly scan your e-mail. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to read and quickly review your work. In those precious 10 – 30 seconds, you want them to identify: what you are applying for, your experience, and your portfolio. If any of these elements are missing, your e-mail will most likely be trashed.

This probably sounds very basic as you read this blog post, but almost 2 out of 3 new designers that e-mail us are missing one of these elements. We hate to see young designers overlooked because they aren’t sure how to apply for jobs in this industry just yet.

For our concluding thought, take the time to do a personal address in your e-mail. If you’re applying for an account or office position, go to the firm’s website and see if you can figure out who the head of accounts is in the company. If you are applying for a design position, address your e-mail to the creative director (their full name). If their website doesn’t have this information available, it is perfectly okay and clever to pick up the phone and call the company to ask who to address your e-mail to. In our experience, the secretary or designer that answers the phone is happy to give you this information so you can send a personalized e-mail. Less happy to put you on the phone with that person – so I’d start with e-mail first.

Take the few seconds to figure out who you are e-mailing and you will definitely have a little more luck with receiving responses from time-to-time.

We hope this Job Tip #1 doesn’t come across too harsh. We’re trying to be honest with our experiences both in applying for jobs, and interviewing potential hires.