When you already know the tools for graphic design, how do you know which skills you need to focus on to get your next graphic design job?
I'm currently working professionally as a graphic designer and I went to a State College for a degree in graphic design, where I learned a series of foundational skills like 2d composition, life drawing, software, tools, critiques, feedback, etc.
Thank you so much to Chelsea for inspiring today's post where we identify aligning the skills that we need as a graphic designer to the job listings that we're actually finding.
Quick note, I worked for several years in some jobs that aren't exactly portfolio or resume building, but they helped me pay the bills and that gave me time to identify what was important if paying your bills is at the top of your priorities, then life fulfillment might temporarily need to be coming from another activity other than your main job.
The problem with job listings, most people just need more content for their businesses. So that might include things like basic photography, HTML, coding, and video editing. All of these roles are meant to function to do a number of different things. And that is often the case for a lot of entry level positions where they need someone to handle their content and creating the content in the hopes of creating things like photography or accessing their website, I was one of two of the only graphic designers at a product company.
My basic level skills in coding and design was enough to deliver on the basic goals of the company.
If you want to be the go to graphic design person, it's best to kind of take a jack of all trades approach where you can get creative with creating different types of content to help the business you can get started to do this by reaching out to friends or family, you might know who have their own side businesses that might need some support with their graphic design.
Or if you find a nonprofit or a charity you support, you can also offer your skills to donate to support them and their goals as well.
If you want to be a part of a larger team, it's best to develop a focus on something that your future team can depend on you for you can start by connecting the dots between similar job listing skills and that can kind of help you create this map of different roles that you can potentially fill.
When you're looking at jobs, look at also your interests. What type of work do you actually like to do? Do you like to draw? Do you like to animate things?
This will help you understand what what skills are actually something that you like to do, you are going to be doing this for a while. So if you're going to be investing time in developing skills, they should be roles that you really want to spend time doing that actually excite you.
What type of design do you gravitate to? Might be something that can help you identify which skills you want to work on.
For me it was it started with calligraphy, calligraphy was something that I like to practice. It's something that I saw online a couple of times, the videos were really inspiring and I started practicing calligraphy for a few years that eventually led me to receiving a certificate in type design, as well as developing more of my typography skills through lettering.
That was something that I like to specialize in. But just to know, specializing is not something you have to be married to forever. I also do motion, illustration, other types of design. But typography is my personal driver and it helps lead me in my career. Because it's something that I have done a lot of practice in something that I really enjoy doing and something that I think I'm pretty good at. Specialize in something and then start expanding your reach after you've already specialized in a particular skill or area of design.
Consider what you need your next position to do for you. Is it going to be strictly paying the bills or building a portfolio in a particular area of design? Or are you ready to find fulfillment? Having a brief to go along with your job gives the job a role for it to function in. I know that job searching can be very difficult because of how uncertain it can be. But I hope that you will reflect on the role that you want this job to play in your career.
Let me know if you have any questions on life as a graphic designer by messaging me on Instagram at skybluejenny.