Bonnie Siegler | Dear Bonnie

Anxious in Anchorage

Dear Bonnie,
I am an emerging designer who recently graduated from college. What are the best options for getting your name out there?


Anxious in Anchorage

Dear A.,

Are you looking for a job or to start a business?

If you are looking for a job, I am not sure you actually need to "get your name out there." What you do need to do is identify who you would really like to work for. Then  study their work online.Take note of who their clients are and what they did for them. Read articles about them and their work. It’s always impressive when you show up informed about them, and it can be disastrous if you don’t. Assume they will ask you why you want to work there. Have an answer that is smart and sincere and not some cliché or broad generality. Work environments are like extended families, and the fit is important.  Learn about their culture, so you don’t show up in a suit to a jeans and t-shirt environment or vice versa. Being in tune with your audience is always important, but especially so here.

Next, look at your own portfolio and think about whether you would hire yourself if you were in their place. If you aren’t sure, think about what is missing and go make up a project that might fit with their sensibility and that you have some connection to, or passion for. The effort alone will be impressive and whether or not you tell them that you did it for them (trust your gut here) you will learn something about your design skills and, maybe more importantly, if this is the sort of work you want. 

Of course, you may identify a number of places you want to work, and I recommend this exercise for each of them. It is an investment in your future, your growth, and your skills. And if you’re looking for a job, it’s an excellent way to use your free time. It’s also highly likely that these new extra portfolio pieces will end up being even more representative of who you are then anything you did in school. Remember, getting work takes work, but hopefully work that you love.

If want to start a business, the only way to get your name out there is to do good work. Really good work. If you don’t have any clients yet, offer your services to an  organization or a non-profit that does good work in the world but has no budget. Ideally, choose one that is related to something you too are passionate about. You could end up doing something that gets noticed by your first paying client.

We want to hear from you! Send your questions for Bonnie to [email protected]     

Comments [1]

I usually see ordinary views on the subject but yours it's written in a pretty special manner. Sure enough, so much inspiring. I gather a lot's of knowledge from here. Thanks.
Taposy Rabeya

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