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Considerations for Young Designers in College

Everyone, unless you are a high demand career, coming out of college finds out how hard it is to land a job in their field of study. Freshly graduated adolescents think "I got the degree, I got the job." But many find out it's not that easy. I would see people at my serving job graduate and then stay in the serving industry. I didn't think that would be me. "One more semester and I'm out of this place!" WRONG. Over a year later and I'm still here, granted its only to the weekends now, but still not fully supported by my college degree. Now I'm not trying to discourage anyone just stating reality that I seemed naive to believe. I would do college again and I'm not saying my degree doesn't help but there are some things you can do throughout your college career to make landing your job more achievable.

First thing is I thought I didn't need an internship. My skills throughout school were great and it would show and that's all I would need on my portfolio. That was the first mistake I learned while job hunting. It doesn't matter what you learned in college, unless you were Einstein of design and knew everything, but what mattered what how you implemented those skills and for how long. Experience. Entry level design jobs want 1-3 years of experience at least, so how do you get those years? INTERNSHIP. You learn so much physically being in a real world position and an internship is a low risk way to dip your toes in the water while building up your portfolio.

That brings me into the second preparation, a portfolio. Being a designer, and a creative in general, a portfolio is THE most important tool. Build it up with school work and your internship work but also take fake scenarios and fake clients and build a process. The final design is important but people want to see your developmental process, all the steps it took to get you there. If they need you for a similar project, but not the exact same thing they saw in your portfolio, knowing you know what you're doing helps them feel more confident you will get there. Then they know they can use you for various projects throughout time.

The last thing I can really stress to students is act like every project you get assign from class is one you are getting paid for with a deadline. Put your best effort into it and make it something you are passionate about. I would always slack off to get by, even though I still got straight A's, just to get through college and thinking I will save my energy for the real world. Well looking back it was basically the same process and I could have added even better things to my portfolio. Also I would have been more used to the real life process and deadlines. Nothing is overrated when it is something you are going to inevitably do for the rest of your life.

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