Reignite Your Career as a Designer with These Top Tips
There is no better time to consider getting back into a career in design and content creation than right now. The market is filled with opportunities, especially with companies taking a more active stance in producing great content, utilising good design for various purposes, and appreciating the creative people working for them even more.
Of course, you cannot jump right into the job market and expect to find a great position as a designer or an illustrator immediately. To really reignite your career as a designer, there are a few things you can do to get started. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Reignite the Passion
Before you can reignite the career, you need to reignite the passion. Design – and creative work in general – is something that needs to come from the heart. Sure, you will be following briefs and requests from the people you work with, but that doesn’t mean you cannot add your own personal touches to the designs you make.
Fortunately, reigniting passion isn’t difficult at all. What you need are personal projects, particularly projects that you really love doing. Challenge yourself to create something truly unique and invest your time and energy towards overcoming that challenge. Once you are done with one project, challenge yourself again and start a new project altogether.
The more you get into designing the things you want and channeling the ideas you have in mind, the more passionate you’ll be about getting back into a career in design. The rest will be easy from here.
Revamp Your Portfolio
The personal projects you did to revitalise your passion are also handy for when you need to update your portfolio. At the very least, you can add the designs you make during those projects to your portfolio as a way to highlight what you can really do when you are given free reign over the creative decisions in a project.
First, however, you need an online portfolio to host and showcase your best work. Look at the best illustration portfolio websites and start thinking about crafting one that represents you as a designer. Don’t worry about the technical side of things; you can now turn to platforms like Format.com to get your new portfolio site up and running in a matter of minutes.
Highlight the work – past projects – that let you shine as a designer. Don’t just display the bigger projects either. The personal projects we discussed earlier, along with smaller projects that you really love, any pro-bono work you did for charity, and other additional content can really separate your online portfolio from the competition.
Be a Productive Designer
Next, it is time to work on your online presence. A strong and positive online presence is a huge asset in today’s job market. By having a strong online presence, you are boosting your chances of connecting with potential employers, particularly employers that you’ll enjoy working with.
With a portfolio website established, you can move on to your social media pages. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the big three to use if you are just getting started. The latter is perfect for showcasing your designs, photos, and other visual work. You can even post videos to Instagram.
Since the goal is to reignite your career, you also want to set up a LinkedIn page. You’ll have to be more formal when sharing your work on LinkedIn, but the platform lets you connect with industry players and top executives directly, so it is definitely worth exploring.
Craft a Compelling CV
When it comes to applying for a position, you need a compelling CV or a resume to tell the story of who you are as a professional. Your portfolio will do 70% of the work, but you still need a good CV to make that 100% and get the job.
Update your old CV by adding new experience and skills you picked up while on a break. You can even take the time to complete short courses on subjects like project management, content creation, and digital marketing. These are the skills that appeal the most to future employers.
Since you are a designer or illustrator, you also want the CV to highlight your work. Don’t just attach your past work; you have your portfolio for that. Instead, design the CV to be more attractive, easy to read, and unique.
A compelling CV is one that tells a compelling story. While you can stick with the more formal CV format, those in the creative industry greatly appreciate a unique CV that tells the story of your career from a different, unique perspective.
The Right Opportunities
Another tip to keep in mind when trying to get back into a career in design is the importance of choosing the opportunities to pursue. The easy way to do it is by applying for every position you come across, particularly positions where your skills are needed. This type of brute-force approach will get you the position that suits you, but not necessarily a position that excites you.
To achieve the latter, you have to be more selective about the opportunities you pursue. Don’t be afraid to wait a little while before starting in a new job. Focus more on searching for potential jobs with a clear career path, an exciting work environment, and many more opportunities to grow as a designer.
Those opportunities – the right opportunities – are out there. You just have to be patient with the search.
Lean on Your Network
If you have been in the creative industry before, you know that it is an industry with not many players. You can actually reach out to your old contacts and lean on your existing network of professionals when you are trying to get back in the game.
Keep in mind that you need your portfolio ready before you start contacting people and asking for opportunities. This is simply because your portfolio (the updated version) will be the first thing people ask for when you reach out to them for work.
Bridge That Gap
An interview is another part of the process that you need to get through before you can secure that dream job you have been pursuing. One of the questions that will be asked during the interview is regarding the break you took from your career. This is where bridging that gap comes in handy.
There are many answers you can give when asked that question. You can use personal development as an excuse for taking some time off. You can use family affairs and other personal reasons too. The best way to answer the question, however, is to be truthful.
A designer once told me that he took a break from his career because he wasn’t feeling creative anymore. He decided to travel the world to find new sources of ideas and to really reignite that creative fire. It was one of the most memorable answers I have ever received. Needless to say, he got the job.
Going back to a career in design or creative is still challenging, but don’t let the challenges stop you from pursuing a career in this field. The top tips we covered in this article will help you go through the process of reigniting your career without hassle.