January 13, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
Summer Work Experience as a Graphic Designer
By Gabriela Florescu, architecture and built environment student blogger
Last summer I was offered the opportunity to work as a graphic designer for a small local company in my home town. It was a useful experience not just for my future career, but it also helped develop skills that would help me during my studies.
How I found the job
I believe the thing which helped me the most in getting this job was seizing a potential opportunity when I saw it. I decided to email my portfolio and a brief cover letter to the owner of a small local business I had previously designed a logo for after seeing that they had not put out any new promotional materials in a while. Shortly after that, I was called in for an interview and was offered the opportunity to collaborate with them again.
My experience working there
At first I didn’t know what to expect from this role, as I had no previous experience working on such a complex collaboration. Now I can say that getting over my initial fear of rejection and reaching out to a local business was the best thing I did all summer. Since I had already briefly worked with the business on their logo a few years ago, I was familiar with the company. However designing their flyers and website proved to be a much more complex task, which involved me getting to know the company and the message they wanted to send really well. I am glad to have been given much more responsibility compared to the last time. It helped me learn how to better communicate with a client on a bigger design project.
At first, my tasks were to create a cohesive colour scheme for the brand which could be applied to their website and copywriting. While working on these tasks, we decided that the brand also needed eye-catching flyers that could be emailed or handed to potential clients. I was asked to design and write these, which is the part of the job that I enjoyed the most. It gave me the opportunity to have creative freedom and the experience of being trusted with a big responsibility. Finally, towards the end of our collaboration, I was asked to create a short video. This was an entirely new skill for me to learn on the job and the video came out great so I was happy to have taken on the challenge.
My advice to others
1. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you think a business could really benefit from your skills
2. Always have your portfolio ready
3. Don’t overlook opportunities with small local businesses – they tend to be the friendliest environments to work in
4. Always communicate honestly about where your skills might be limited, but show that you are ready to learn something new and take on a challenge
Finding relevant work experience while you are still studying can seem like an impossible task, so make sure you keep an open mind to any new or unexpected opportunities. If you need help getting started, check out the work experience pages on the Careers website.
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