Be the “top talent” recruiters seek
Great companies hire great people.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a high school football star with scouts attending your games in hopes of snagging you for a college team? To skip the job search and have employers already know how remarkable you are? How can a design student—who isn’t a star athlete—be recruited for a job before even applying?
Below are a few tips to increase the chance of recruiters knocking at your door, or rather, InMailing you via LinkedIn.
Place your portfolio in a public, heavily searched place.
Many of you have a “yourname.com” portfolio, and we’re not saying that you shouldn’t. But in addition to that polished “all about you” website, showcase your work in online portfolio platforms frequently visited by recruiters and industry experts looking for fresh talent.
Become an internet star.
Do you have a sparkling personality or a skill that others admire? Why not create a YouTube channel and become a vlogger? Create interesting, valuable content to build a following that gets you recognized (humor helps!). We love following product design student Jacob Dawson. Not only does he provide helpful tips for students, his videos are funny and entertaining. Check out the video he recently posted on how to be a self-promoter, and get some tips on how to start your own channel.
Seek awards and recognition for your work.
College assignments can be complex. Once they’re done, why tuck them away in a folder, never to be seen again? Squeeze all the exposure you can from those projects. Brands are always running contests as part of their marketing efforts. Those corporate marketing dollars can help you showcase your best work. You can even find international challenges that provide opportunities to show your skill mastery.
Socialize with the citizens of your industry.
Sure, you get enough socialization with classmates when you work on group projects, right? Don’t stop there! It’s easier than ever to circulate with professionals in your field. Check out Facebook groups, Meetup, or the many other mobile apps to help you find people who share your interests. Attend events that provide opportunities to network with industry professionals. Once you get to these events, remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Stay focused, share your ideas, and listen to others.
Embark on brand ambassadorship.
Which brands are you using for your work? Do they have ambassador programs? Email them directly and ask. There could be speaking opportunities at trade shows or conferences, or even a chance to present your work in front of a professional audience. You can’t beat exposure like that.
Join or lead a club. No club you like? Be a club founder.
It is a must to be a part of a university club that relates to your major. Step in when you can and take on a leadership role like event planner or treasurer. If you think the clubs available are too vague or off topic, start your own. You can make your club as niche as you’d like and “I founded my University’s ‘x’ club” is a great line to drop into a conversation.
Use social media to your advantage.
You already know your next interviewer will scan your social media accounts to get a feel for who you are. Why not populate feeds with industry talk and news? You can even sprinkle in a little of your latest work. Take it a step further and create your own content. How many views can you get for short YouTube tutorials? What kind of following can you earn with an Instagram feed that shows off your finest designs? Make your online brand all about the work you do and follow/chat with people in your field. You’d be surprised how many of these online discussions turn into job opportunities.
Your personal accounts aren’t the only places to show off your work. Many brands want user content for their social media accounts. This is a fantastic way to get your work in front of thousands of people interested in what can be done with a tool. Tag @AutodeskEDU in your Instagram posts and your models may be featured in Autodesk’s Education Instagram.
Take on that free project.
Ah, the abundant and maddening “do a project for us—it’s unpaid, but it will be great for your portfolio!” email. Don’t they know that work requires… work, and you want to be compensated? But don’t let your frustration cause you to overlook a great opportunity.
The good news is, if you’re doing the work for free, you can set the limitations and rules. It can also be considered volunteer work, which is noble. And just because you aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean you aren’t gaining some value. You might learn some useful new skills. Find a project you’re excited about and offer your expertise for free. Then, when you’re approached by someone else with the “but it will be great for your portfolio” line, you’ll be able to honestly say, “I would love to, but I’m already committed to another project. Thank you for thinking of me, I hope we can work together in the future.”
Obtaining job offers before you complete your degree isn’t luck. Be diligent about connecting with people and finding ways to get your work in front of anyone who will listen.
Looking for more tips to help you land your dream job? These articles offer advice for your career search: