It’s very important to begin preparing for a career while you are still in school – it will make searching for a job much easier once you graduate. Finding a job can be a pretty mystifying process, especially in this economy, but if you start preparing now you have a better chance of coming out ahead.
While still in school, you have to decide for yourself what you like to do the most, what subjects you enjoy, and think about the career path you would like to pursue.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there that can help set you apart from the pack, and set you up to become a valued member of the field upon graduation.
Speaking of setting yourself apart, you’ll need to brand yourself properly; the way you design is unique to you, and that’s your brand. If you haven’t started already, be sure to set up a portfolio site for all your work. You can purchase a domain to host this, or utilize a free portfolio hosting service (there are several).
Add your best work to this site, as well as a branded version of your resume/curriculum vitae. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of real-world samples yet, you can put up school assignments, or create your own design projects as samples.
Be sure to add this domain to your social and career networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and especially LinkedIn) so that the link appears everywhere potential employers may search for you. This should definitely increase your chances to get noticed by potential employers who constantly browse the web in search of talented and skilled candidates.
You’ll also need to focus on important skills, of course. In a recently released article, the designers interviewed by eCollegeFinder claim that typography skills should be at the top of that list.
Knowing how to lay out copy properly and use the right fonts is key – for example, the article says to never use fonts like Papyrus or every designer’s bane of existence, Comic Sans. You should also be well-versed in general design principles such as color theory.
Finally, just keep learning, designing, and applying to positions. Don’t let yourself stagnate, even if you find it difficult to land that initial gig. Attend free conferences if they’re available, meet other people as they may turn out to be your potential employers, take an online course, or just find inspiration in your daily life. It will make you a better designer and thus, a better potential employee.