published Sunday, April 29th, 2012

How designers can appeal to employers

For college graduates entering the design fields, in particular aspiring interactive media and Web designers, a job search that ends well starts with socializing. Communicating and networking - in person, not just social networking online - is an important way for students to start building a foundation for their careers.

Also crucial are thinking innovatively and showing a great portfolio of work, according to the academic affairs and career services departments at The Art Institutes system of schools, a source for design and media arts graduates.

Join professional clubs and organizations: "This is how Web designers meet the other people in the industry they will need in their career down the line," explains Terry Bailey, academic director of the Web Design & Interactive Media programs at The Art Institute of California-Hollywood.

Patrick Baird, academic director of the Web Design & Interactive Media programs at The Art Institute of California-Sunnyvale in the Silicon Valley, advises students and job candidates to go beyond the expected to really wow a potential employer.

"Students need to go above just showing technical skill," says Baird. It is generally a given and no longer the only qualification required to land a job. "A great way to demonstrate exceptional ability is to problem solve:

Identify a problem and find a solution," Baird adds.

As the director of the Career Services department at The Art Institute of California-Hollywood, Bill Kilby works with local employers and counsels graduating students. He notes that "employers respond well to portfolios that demonstrate a similar design aesthetic to the employer's company and show work of comparable quality."


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