I always have the tendency to reply with: “You idiot! Run for your life!” – but that’s not what a newly graduate designer wants to hear. I tried it once, didn’t go well.
Here are 10 points I put together to help all you design grads get a job on this island.
1.Go on a one week holiday. Somewhere far and fun. Do not take your laptop with you and keep the smart phone in the hotel. Disconnect and unwind for 7 days (not more, don't be a spoiled brat).
2. Once you are back, work on your portfolio, take your time. Choose 4 of the best projects you did in uni and while you are at it, sign up to design websites and participate in their competitions and exercises.
There are some really good and educational sites out there that will train and challenge your illustrator and Photoshop skills. I recommend: www.designcrowd.com (ex worth 1000) there are many others, but I prefer this. Even after you land a job, keep visiting this site to break your routine and design something fun. Plus, you might even win, and who doesn’t love a nice clean competition? You can even add the really good ones in your portfolio to show off your skills.
3.REASEARCH! Discover nice and unique ways to design your CV & Portfolio, God bless Pinterest for that. For the love of God don’t send agencies a word doc as your CV. If you want to include your photo in your CV, then get one of your photographer friends to get it done for you. You can also hire someone to shoot a few creative images of you. Make sure to name your price before asking for the costing. Do not use your passport photo… you are a designer God Damnit! A part of you already should know how to take photographs, so be creative. Worst case scenario, illustrate yourself, or do not have a picture at all. If you are able to make yourself a website or online portfolio, do it. There are many cheap and free options online. You should already know this but go create a profile on: www.behance.net
4. Now you need to make a list of the agencies you want to work for. Base your judgment on: the clients they have + projects the worked on + the size of their team. Do you feel you would like to work on such projects? Can you learn from them?
Do not Google: "Design Agency Bahrain" and start emailing everyone you find randomly at their firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a waste of time and 1 out of 100 agencies may respond.
5. After you made your list, go to their Team / Staff page. Search for the Creative Director, Art Director etc.. Who ever is in charge of the studio. You will always find their email there and if not, resort to the stalking method of 2017: Linkedin
6. When writing your email, do NOT copy paste the useless:
Dear so and so, I am looking for a job in your distinguished company where I can thrive and be a part of your team. Bla bla bla snooze.
EVERYONE uses the same words. Copy Paste. That’s not who you are. People eventually skip through it. Use your own language and tell them WHY you want to work with them. What interested you in their company? Was it the fact that they worked on a project you liked? Or because they have a list of fun clients? Why?
7. Email 4 companies a day, don’t wear yourself out and stress. Take it easy. When you stress you become sloppy. It will show in your email. P.S “Spell Check”
8. Cleanup your social media accounts. People interested in you will investigate and Google you. I remember I cleaned up my Deviant Art page when searching for a job. I got rid of all the gothic crap I made during my uni days. I did leave some as memories, but no one wants to hire a gothic teenager. That stuffs embarrassing. Keep in mind after you get the job, you still should not put anything you don’t want anyone to see on social media. Your image online is important to you, your boss and your clients who may all eventually turn into friends.
9. Design and print a business card. Have your contact details on it. YOU design it.
10. Once all the above is done start socializing. Attend exhibitions, workshops, art galleries. Get involved in the art community. A lot have weekly and monthly meet ups. You need to know who is who. Who designed what, where they work and so on. Having friends in the design and production world in Bahrain is maybe the most important piece of advice I could give.