How to land your first design job!

– Today, I wanna give you some tips for landing your first design job. This video is sponsored by Squarespace. They are my favorite
website building platform. And they’re really good
for building portfolios. Which, spoiler alert, is something that you really need to
have to land your first job. I honestly think that landing
that first design job, is the hardest one. Because many places call for experience, and it’s really hard to get experience, when no one’s giving you experience. And so, there’s a few things you can do to really increase your chances
of landing that first job. And getting that first piece of official professional
experience on your CV. (upbeat music) The first piece of advice I have for you, for landing your first design job, is actually about which
roles you apply for. You wanna look for ones
that have perhaps Junior, or Internship in the title, and you could also go for
ones that have nothing, maybe it just says graphic designer. Definitely don’t go for
ones that say MidWeight, Middleweight, Senior, anything like that. Because you’re just not ready yet. You can set those ones aside
and apply to them later on after you’ve had a bit of experience. Read the job description really carefully and make sure that the task
that they’re talking about that you’d be working
on would really suit you and is something that
you’re actually interested in doing, as well. You should be able to fulfill most of the job requirements
listed in the job description. But don’t worry if you
don’t have all of them. You can definitely do
some learning on the job. So, if perhaps it say
is one piece of software in particular, that you don’t know yet, don’t let that put you off applying, if you already meet most
of the other requirements. One of the biggest factors, though, that goes into landing your first job, is your portfolio. Firstly, you need to have work in it that really demonstrates your skills. And what you’re capable of. For your very first
job, this first entrance into the world of professional design, I would say it’s probably
good to have more of a general portfolio, showing skills and different areas in that, you are a person of many talents. Later on down the line in your career, you’ll definitely want to specialize more and pick one sort of avenue of design to go down, because
that’s how you’re gonna be able to grow and get really strong, in that one specific thing. For me I chose web design. But to start off with
general is pretty good, because it shows that you’re gonna be able to dive in and help out
whichever area of design the company needs. Make sure every piece of work in there, is one that you’re really proud of. If you only have three projects, that you’re really proud of, that’s fine. Just put three projects in your portfolio. It’s much better to have
three super strong pieces, than to have three strong ones, and then perhaps three
you don’t like so much. And you think perhaps I’m that good, but you felt like you needed
more on your portfolio. Those weaker pieces are really gonna bring the quality of those
three strong ones down. And that’s not good. So it’s much better to have
them in there on their own. If you’re in design school, especially, I would really advise you not
to have all of your pieces in your portfolio be student work. They shouldn’t all be fake briefs. Student projects are great, because they do show your skills, and of course, if they’re
things that you’re proud of that you’ve learned by doing, then it’s awesome to include them, but having all student work is bad. Because those projects tend to have quite an unrealistic timeline in terms of the professional design world. For example, at design school you might get six weeks to
focus on designing a poster. That is never gonna happen on the job. A poster is more likely
gonna have to be designed within a couple of days,
or a couple of hours. So having your portfolio
filled with those pieces, might not give them the confidence, that you have the
experience that you need. So it’s good to get some outside of school projects in there as well. Now, even if you don’t have any paid work, surely there is a family member, who needs a logo for their
little side business, or perhaps an invitation design. Just anything where you can
work with another person. To then be able to talk about
the process of designing that thing in an interview. And speaking of process,
you should talk about it in your portfolio, as well. Don’t just put up images of your work. Talk about the rationale behind things. Talk about what the brief actually was that you were trying to design. Those things are really important and give context to your projects. When you apply for a job, you’ll likely have to
submit your portfolio, a resume of some sort, and it’s okay if there’s not
much design work on there, if it’s a junior role. That’s probably what they’re gonna expect. And you’re probably gonna have to submit a cover letter of some sort, as well. This is your space to
talk about why you want to work specifically at that company. I know you might be feeling desperate, just to get any job at all and you’ll just be happy for whoever wants to take you, but you absolutely cannot let that come across in the cover letter. Companies want to feel
special and you’ll be a good fit for them in particular. So make sure you do some research into the company that you’re applying for. And note some specific things that make you excited at the thought of working there, in the cover letter. Talk about what special skills you have that might come in handy for them, or might make you stand
out from other candidates. For example, the first
design job that I ever got, I talked about my little t-shirt company that I was running on the side. Even though it wasn’t related
to what I’d been doing on the job, like I wouldn’t
be producing apparel at this design job at
the electronics company I was applying for, but the fact that I had this side project, and had the dedication and the motivation to figure it all out and do it on my own, was
really impressive to them. And that made them be more
interested in hiring me. So, if your portfolio
and your cover letter impresses them enough, the last final hurdle
that you have to get over is the interview stage. Now, in an interview
you really want to show yourself to be super passionate and keen to learn, at this
stage of your career, as well. They’re not expecting
you to know everything. You don’t have to go in
being completely confident and acting like you’re the
best designer in the world. What’s more important is that you show yourself to be really
interested in learning, and getting better,
being really passionate and proactive, as well. Talk about your process when
you talk about your work. So, they’re gonna wanna
hear the story behind it, which again is why it’s important not to just have student work, in your portfolio
because that doesn’t make for a very interesting story. When you’ve worked with an actual client, even if it is just a
friend or a family member, you’ve got some background and some context to give
them about the piece, and how you worked on it. Lastly, you just can’t let
yourself get too discouraged. I know it sucks to think
you’ve nailed an interview to have really enjoyed it and really love the idea
of working at that company. Only to have them turn you down. But that doesn’t mean you can never apply to that company again. Sometimes companies will
say that they’re open to people with less experience, but actually it turns
out that they’re not. And that is just, unfortunately, a fact of a design job hunting. They don’t quite realize
what they’re looking for sometimes, when they’re
writing those descriptions. So just keep applying, keep hunting, and stay passionate about it. And you’re gonna learn
something eventually that’ll be that first
start to your career. And I promise you, it will
all get easier from there. I hope that advice is useful and it gives you something to work on when you go about applying for jobs. If your portfolio is the thing that you’re worried about most, then perhaps check out my
Portfolio Review series. It’s where I take a look at
portfolios that are submitted to me and give my feedback on them. And I think you can learn a lot. And if you need to create a portfolio, then Squarespace is a great way to do it. They’re the sponsor of this video. They’re a supporter of my channel, and I really appreciate that. It’s an all-in-one platform, which means you never have to install or patch or upgrade or anything. Which is super handy. And your website is always
gonna look good on any device. Because all of their
themes are responsive. They’ve got lots to choose from, they’re all beautifully designed. And they’re really easy
to customize, as well. Which makes it ideal for us designers. They make it really easy
to get a custom domain which I think is really
important for a portfolio. It just makes you look
a lot more professional. And if you need any help they they’ve got 24/7 support. So, if you’re someone who
doesn’t have a portfolio yet, or perhaps needs to update it, then checkout
for a free trial. And then when you’re ready
to sign up and get your site live to the world. Head to and you’ll get 10% off
your first site or domain. Thanks for watching. Happy job hunting and I will
see you in my next video, bye. (upbeat music)


  • taha

    > Me, not a designer
    > Also me, now looking at design job openings for some reason

  • Latrice S.

    Can you go over different careers in designing since you said there are different paths if design?

  • Erica Rodriguez

    Thanks for making this video, you're definitely making my attempt into the Graphic Design field a lot easier. Also, I'm thinking about moving from WordPress to Squarespace just because it's so much easier to create a website with a great design and layout. WordPress has more features, but SquareSpace has everything I need to get started including adding e-commerce and a section for my portfolio and design packages with very little effort. So, thanks for sharing.

  • Obscura x

    yes!!! thank you so much for creating this video! i've been struggling with figuring out what to put in my portfolio when i don't have clients or that great of school work, so thanks for this! love the advice on not getting your hopes too high when interviewing, i find i do that a LOT.

  • Constanza Morales

    This video is sooo helpful for me right now, I just graduated from uni literally 2 days ago and although I'll take a couple of weeks off, I need to look into job offers soon. Thank you <3

  • dominique007

    For some reason the interviews dont scare me at all. Submitting my application scares me

  • Melissa Gattoni

    awww your are so sweet to give advice ^_^ cheers!

  • Trent Nakamura

    Great video! I just finished my first semester of studying graphic design in college and I am eager to continue learning! Your videos are very helpful and inspirational! Keep it up 🙂

  • tvraven

    Hiya, I’ve been out of uni for 5 years now and haven’t been working in a design related job. However I have been designing and making things on the side but I still feel really low in confidence in applying for design jobs. It also doesn’t help that I’m not sure what design job I would fit well in. So all in all feeling a bit lost at the moment. :/

  • Stas Lukiv

    Thank you, Charlie!

  • Ralphunreal

    Great advice. I only have luck with internships so far, I did one great one last year and one ok one this year. I hope next year I finally get a full time job as a ui/ux designer.

  • Edmundo studios

    I’ve had about 10 interviews this year but the feedback is always lack of experience but nothing negative. Tricky situation I’m just focusing on freelance projects and personal projects till I can land something.

    Thanks for the video really helpful btw

  • Jela kennedy

    Thanks Charli! This is exactly what I needed. God Bless.

  • Matt Ragland

    Great video and advice Charli, I think that’s spot on! One thing I’ve seen be really useful too is creating a mini-project even based on the company you’re applying at. Can talk about what you’d redesign, the process, and why you made the choices you did. I haven’t done this specifically for design, but have for other roles and it played a part in getting a job once!

  • bodjie bermundo

    Merry Christmas Charli! 🙂

  • Twinkle Jumani

    Loving the lettering titles… cant wait for your font…
    Merry Christmas Charli! Hope you get nice things…
    I landed a job on my grad project internship… i was lucky but this is such a great video for people to get their stuff sorted…
    Kudos Gurl!

  • XPL0RR

    Solid tips

  • epitomeOFblueberries

    aaah i got so excited when i saw the title <3

  • Katie Wompus

    I’ve been in my first “design” job for about a year, but it’s only been about 20% design and 80% data entry/analysis and basic office tasks. What tips do you have for getting your second design job? (Ideally I would like to work at an agency) I’ve been out of college for a year and a half and there are only two student projects that I like enough to use in my portfolio anymore. Also my current job has very strict rules about putting anything we create here into a portfolio :/

  • nazanine parivar

    Thanks for another great video tutorial! I have a portfolio and I would appreciate if I could get your feedback on it. Is it something you can help me with? Thank you.

  • Ellie

    Love these videos, Charli; this is very helpful!!

  • HannaCreative

    I’m not looking for a job right bow but I love the tipps u gave and I’m sure they’ll come in handy at some points 😉
    well done!

  • yo yo honey singh

    Do employer expect to bring a physical portfolio to the interview. and if yes should it be different than the online portfolio.

  • Raymond

    I wish there was information about how to land that second design job. I got laid off after 11 months at my first one. Over 18 months and 1,500 job applications later…no luck. So much for companies wanting someone with experience.

  • kmmk292929

    How did you get squarespace to support your channel? I've always wondered how YouTubers make these kinds of things happen

  • Mangochuy Mangochuy

    And it helps to have a liquor shelf such as the one at upper right of the frame.

  • Musicman The FAM

    Great advices Charlie! One thing that I wanna add is to network with people at a company or studio, it might increase a chance on getting to know the creative director or the recruiter.

  • Joyee S

    Hi Charlie, I need a piece of advise and guidance at this stage as i am totally in confused and messed up as to how to continue with my career….I was working as a Web Graphic Designer 10 years ago and had a family break now i want to enter the work force and happen to get a experience of six months as a digital marketing executive but now i dont know should i continue looking aorund for job with similar platform or still not stop hoping for a job as a Web Graphic Designer as this interests me alot as compared to Digital Marketing job and if so how can i study and make my skills strong with a dummy website to practise, I would want to design and develop website on wordpress and also want to know to do it in any other way so how do i learn it step by step….Please advise …..Thanks Jo

  • Rebecca Vanderhorst

    Hi Charli! I do not have any formal education in design. I do have a successful photography business and am beginning to show interest in logo design. What's the likelihood that I would be able to land something without formal education?

  • Dominic W

    guy in my previous class got one pretty fast after graduating.

  • Raj Praveen

    Its very helpful ,Thanks 2 you .

  • Sahil Guleria

    Really nice ?

  • vivian A

    Ive been trying to find work for two years. And have tried everything from writing cover letters, editing my resume, and joining recruitment companies to help me find work. Is there any way you can critique or help me figure out what I can do? I now have experience in the medical field since I've struggled to find a design job.

  • Deleted Account

    This is so helpful after graduating I was a little stuck on what to do. I needed a job ASAP after moving to Australia from NZ so I just got into working at the supermarket but now I'm really hoping to get back into design even though it has been a few years.

    Do you have any advice on trying to get back into Design after a few years with no experience?

  • Jay McD

    How can I get experience if I can't get experience?….this seriously needs to be addressed its so not funny everyone needs and deserves a chance, even if something like a government initiated scheme needs to be put in place to have Agencies give you a mandatory 1-3 months or even a few weeks. The Design College I went to didn't even have a work experience program it was a joke. Even Designers down the road who never get a break deserve help.

  • Gino Caron

    I've been freelancing for about 7 years. I missed working with a team so I decided to applied for a job. I nailed the interview and am qualified for the position. Thing is… I've been my own boss for so many years, now that I am starting a new in-house full-time job in a couple of days I am really stressed out. Last time I work as a graphic designer as an employee was probably 8 years ago. Any tips for people like me who now find a job?

  • Naveen Kumar

    Too realistic! Could relate to everything. Really helpful! Thanks 🙂

  • Rye Bread Reid

    I'm a newbie grad, but I would recommend that everyone not only brings a physical portfolio with you to an interview, but also a process book for your BEST project. You'll walk through your portfolio, going over the intentions of each project etc. Then after that, you ask if they would like to see the full process of one of your projects. I think this catches some interviewers off guard and shows that you're really prepared. Process is everything when it comes to design. GOOD LUCK DESIGNERS, WE GOT THIS!! 🙂

  • heat flux

    can you make a career as a graphic designer without having a handrawing skills ?

  • THC408

    I've applied at over 50 design jobs with no interviews. A lot of them with the words Internship, Junior, and just Graphic Designer but still nothing. I have a Bachelor's degree in Design but no professional experience. How am I supposed to get professional experience if no one wants to fucking hire me!

  • Jeff Reuther

    Is there ageism in the design world? I'm pushing 30 and I'm self-taught in … everything I know. I'm considering settling down and I'm not sure I can pull all-nighters and stay super-late at the office.

  • Umesh Gupta

    Number plesce

  • Sk Rezwan

    your face is well designed by God ….:)

  • jlynn8934

    Thank you SO much for this video. I have finally realized this is my passion and the direction my life is leading me, but it's definitely a huge leap after so many years in a different field. I feel so encouraged by this, and I so appreciate you. You first inspired me about a year ago with your video on how to make screens and put custom designs on t-shirts, and you continue to now as I reach for this new goal. THANK YOU! ?

  • jai trilles

    Thanks for this precious video T.T I feel more confident and ready. Thanks for the information keep making videos charli I love them all~

  • PeachyPink

    I have a graphic design interview next week but I never studied graphic design I studied illustration and I'm self taught in graphic design so I don't have any student projects just project I made on my own

  • Latinbosstreet

    very good video, thanks a lot!

  • Wilfredo Arteaga Martinez

    Ohh!! I see, portfolio is key. The more realistic the better. Quality over quantity. Great tips!! Thank you so much Charli ! Let's hope to find my first job design or at least an intership soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *