It’s a fast world out there, but you’ll be able to stand out and grab exactly the gig you want by using these steps that I’ve used early in my design career. First and foremost, you’ll have to take a break. I know your instinct is start hustling immediately, and that’s a good attitude, but you’ve worked your ass off in order to graduate— you’re burned out, whether you realize it or not. This means that for this short period of time you’re going to be a very ineffective as a designer. As you may already know, forcing creativity rarely yield great designs. So, take a break and do an activity that has nothing to do with design. Perhaps another hobby that you like, work on your fitness, take a vacation or all of the above. Personally, I prefer to do something physical, such as working out, hikes or take long bike rides.
I’d like for to you do something else than design because you’ll need to learn how to unplug from being a designer. In essence, you’ll need to learn how to view the world from a normal person’s perspective. This is because through out your 4 years of design school, you were taught how to become a designer, but remember, a designer’s job is to design for a specific consumer; a target market. This break is for you to re-learn how to become a normal (non-designer) consumer. So while you’re taking a break, you're essentially learning how to think like the “Target Market.” Two birds with one stone: You get some mental and physical rest while simultaneously thinking like a consumer that you’ll be designer for.
Time To Get To Work
Now that you’re rested, let’s handle business! First thing’s first, you’ll have to rebuild your portfolio. Your head is clear and you’re sharper now than you were on your graduation day. Your portfolio is going to be the most important thing that represents you throughout your design career, you’ll need to make sure it’s top notch. Doing this step ensures that you’ll be a step above other new grads who didn’t rebuild theirs.
When you were building your portfolio during your design school tenure, your skills will have advanced between your beginning semester and your graduating semester. In addition, during your break you’ll realize that you’ll be much faster at making design decisions and even sketching faster! During the rebuilding process, you’ll also realize that your designs are more thought out and you’ll finish your renders faster. This will be 100% evident.
Dont panic, I don’t mean start a new portfolio from scratch. All I mean is that you’re a better designer now than you were when you built your first portfolio piece. All you’ll have to do is refine it:
Re-sketch your weakest designs
Make sure that your ideas are conveyed clearly and concisely in your portfolio
Make sure that your layout is easy to read
Make sure your graphics do not visually overpower your main design
Make sure your design is a solution to a real world problem.
Do this to each one of your portfolio pieces. It is a bit of work, but you’ll be happier and more confident when you are interviewing with a potential employer.
I assume you’ll already know how to build a resume, so I won’t get into detail about how to build one heres; but here are some links that explain how to build a professional design portfolio:
When you finish writing your resume, make sure that you use the same graphics you’ve used for your portfolio layout to create a cohesive brand-look. Making sure that your portfolio package look and feel match up with the same graphic style.