Did you know that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 23,900 new designer job openings yearly?
Designers are in high demand, and if you’re looking to break into the industry, you must know what employers want from their employees. Here, a professional designer shares seven tips on what you need to do to get your foot in the door of the design industry.
We spoke with Joshua Guilbeau, a UX/UI expert and graphic designer at BlakSheep Creative, about the essential skills and attributes employers look for when hiring designers. Here’s what he had to say:
1. What employers are looking for in prospective employees
“When it comes to finding new employees, employers are always looking for the best of the best,” says Guilbeau.
He continues, In the design industry, this means that they are looking for individuals with a strong portfolio that showcases their talent and range as a designer, as well as evidence of their problem-solving skills and ability to think outside the box.”
Guilbeau suggests that to make yourself more attractive to potential employers, you should focus on creating an impressive portfolio that highlights your skills and experience.
“If you don’t have a portfolio, start putting one together,” he says. “And if you already have a portfolio, make sure that it is up-to-date and showcases your best work.”
If you don’t have any work to showcase, Josh suggests working on personal projects or participating in design challenges to help build your portfolio.
2. The critical skills that employers look for in designers
Next, Josh Guilbeau shares the three crucial skills employers always look for when hiring designers.
“Employers are looking for designers who have a strong portfolio, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think outside the box,” he says.
If you can show potential employers that you have these skills, you’ll be one step closer to getting hired in the design industry.
“One problem that we see when redesigning websites is that the client wants their website to be completely unique, but they also want it to look like every other website in their industry,” says Guilbeau.
“In order to create a truly unique website, you have to be able to think outside the box and come up with original solutions that will set your client’s website apart from the rest.”
3. How to showcase your talent and range as a designer
One of the best ways to make yourself more attractive to potential employers is to have a strong portfolio that showcases your talent and range as a designer.
“Your portfolio is your calling card,” says Guilbeau. “It’s what employers will look at to see if you have the skills and experience that they are looking for.”
“Make sure that your portfolio is up-to-date and includes your best work,” he advises. “If you don’t have any work to showcase, consider working on personal projects or participating in design challenges to help build up your portfolio.”
Josh suggests that you show a wide range of work in your portfolio, as this will demonstrate your versatility as a designer.
“Employers want to see that you’re not just a one-trick pony,” he says. “They want to see that you’re able to design for different mediums and solve different types of problems.”
4. Problem-solving skills and thinking outside the box
As a designer, employers will expect you to be able to solve problems and come up with creative solutions.
“I know I mentioned it earlier, about thinking outside the box, but it’s truly one of the most important skills that employers are looking for in a designer,” says Guilbeau.
Guilbeau says that the industry is full of “redesigns” that simply copy what is already out there and that it’s the designer’s job to create something original.
“If you can show potential employers that you have the ability to solve problems and come up with creative solutions, then you’ll be one step closer to getting hired in the design industry,”
Josh added that there is no shortage of wanna-be designers who think that throwing together a “design” on Canva makes them a designer.
“The problem with that is, anyone can do that,” he says. “Designers are expected to come up with original solutions to problems.”
5. Team player who is able to work well with others
Finally, employers are always looking for designers who are team players and who can work well with others.
“The design industry is a collaborative field, so it’s important that designers are able to work well with other people,” says Guilbeau.
“If you’re the type of person who prefers to work alone, then the design industry might not be the best fit for you.”
That’s not to say you can’t be a successful designer if you’re introverted. Guilbeau says that many of the best designers he knows are introverts.
“But, they’ve learned how to work well with others, and they’ve mastered the art of collaboration,” he says.
If you can show potential employers that you’re a team player who can work well with others, you’ll be one step closer to getting hired in the design industry.
“In the past, employers were all about hiring designers with all these college degrees,” says Guilbeau. “But, nowadays, employers are more interested in hiring designers who have real-world experience and who can show that they’re able to get the job done.”
If you’re looking to get your foot in the door of the design industry, then make sure you focus on the skills that employers are really looking for. By showcasing your talent and range as a designer, demonstrating your problem-solving skills, and showing that you’re a team player who is able to work well with others, you’ll increase your chances of landing that dream job in the design industry.
If you’d like to learn more about Josh and the team over at BlakSheep Creative, visit their website.
They offer various services, including branding, web design, and marketing, and have provided creative services for clients worldwide.
BlakSheep Creative is a team of designers, developers, and marketers who are passionate about helping their clients achieve their creative goals. Visit their website to learn more about their services or to contact them for a free consultation.