You’re about to graduate from some form of post-secondary school or you’ve already crossed that stage with cap in hand and you’re trying to get your foot in the door at your first web design job. Sure, there are a few web related jobs out there, but there are tons of people coming out of school with the same skills and qualifications you have.
We are getting to the point where having a really killer design portfolio just isn’t going to be enough, you are going to have to find other ways stand out in a sea of applicants. So, the question remains, what can you do to set yourself apart from your competitors?
Round Those Edges
It always pays to be a well-rounded person. Communications is an all-encompassing field. It can literally be about anything and everything. You may not think of being a web designer as being a communicator, but that is exactly what it is. While it pays to be up-to-date on the new trends in your chosen field, it will also pay off to broaden your horizons. It will also make you a more interesting person, which never hurts.
People may joke about eager beavers, but that eagerness to dive into the field is also one of the biggest strengths a recent grad possesses. Sure, you don’t want to be desperate, but showing a willingness to do (almost) anything a job or client can throw at you can put you over the top and land you a coveted position in the company of your choice.
Having a one-track mind and specializing in a specific aspect of the field is a luxury that is only-afforded to people who have been in the industry for years. If you want to get a job right out of the gate, you should get some coding knowledge in your arsenal. There are pretty simple online tutorials or classes that will teach you basic HTML, Javascipt, and CSS skills.
Coding may not be what drew you to the industry, but being a well-rounded generalist will allow you to get a foot in the door and prove your worth as a web designer. Put in your dues as a generalist and you will be able to pick your future positions.
Just Be Cool
Web design is a creative field, which means it also tends to be a highly collaborative field. No one wants a negative Nancy hanging around, even worse, someone who is possessive of a project and doesn’t see the field for what it is – highly collaborative. Prove your ability to be an upbeat team player and you will land yourself a sweet gig no problem!
When you chose the web design field you may not have considered that the need for public speaking would be an integral part of the job, but it is. You’re going to have to get comfortable talking at pitch meetings, to leadership teams, and to clients. While you’re waiting to land your dream job, try getting into a group like Toastmasters that will help you learn how to beef up your speaking skills.
Of course, none of these pointers would be useful without a truly killer portfolio. Not working? Try designing websites for your close friends and family or even cool product ideas you have. It will allow you to be creative, show off your mad skills and help you land a great web design job.