Job Seekers Unite! (Part 1)

POSTED BY on Sep 14, 2012

Hello out there job seekers or anyone who is thinking about becoming a job seeker in the near or distant future! Earlier this week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at an amazing local school here in Seattle. (SCHOOL OF VISUAL CONCEPTS – get to know them if you don’t already!) The topic: all things resume/portfolio and job market related. Thought I’d put together some of my thoughts and those of the other panelists for those that weren’t there but might still be looking for this kind of info.

Let’s get to it! First topic: Jobs – are there any out there, what skills are companies looking for, how do I make myself more competitive, especially if my skills are a bit more ‘old school’?

Are there jobs out there to be had?

  • The good news is, absolutely - yes! Caveat to that, there is still an ebb and flow, and some companies are focusing on project opportunities vs. full time hires – but if you put yourself out there, you’re going to find a lot more opportunity than you would have a year or two ago.
  • We’re hiring across the board for our teams: design (print and interactive), strategy, copywriting, account service and marketing – and my panel cohorts agreed, there’s a lot more happening out there these days across the board!

What skills do you need to have to be competitive?

  • While there are some specific tools we utilize as creative types, I find that some of the more core skills are truly what make professionals more competitive. We’re a Brand/Design firm – you’ve got to have kick ass design fundamentals (typography, color theory, layout, information design etc.,) and really understand how to develop and communicate brand to consumers (in a way that’s commensurate with whatever side of the fence you live on; creative, strategy, account service….). If you’re set there, you can learn whatever tools are needed for implementation whatever the media; print, web, motion/video, mobile, environmental, etc.  
  • These fundamentals, along with the softer skills like strong communication, collaboration, and passion for what you do will make you a much more well-rounded option for companies to get excited about.
  • If you really need a list, here are a few skills and tools getting a lot of play specifically in the interactive space: HTML5, responsive design, Cinema 4D, Canvas and a variety of other CMS tools, experience design!!, mobile apps, content and social media strategy – just to name a few….

How do I transition from my current role into something new and perhaps a little less ‘old school’?

  • A lot of us come to a point in our career where we want to take our current skills and utilize them in a new way. Whether that’s moving from print to the interactive space, from copywriting to account management or from design to strategy – it’s not going to happen overnight but you can do it. You’ve got to start by doing a little soul searching and reflection – no one can tell you what you should be doing; you’ve got to know what you WANT to be doing.
  • From there, things start to get a little easier. Take a class or a workshop - did I mention you should get to know the lovely folks at SVC? Well you should! They have a lot of great classes that can help you transition those skills – or at least give you a place to start.  Meet folks who are doing what you want to be doing and see if they’ve got 20-30 minutes to meet with you. Network!
  • To make it all happen, you’re going to have to show some work samples – even if these are things you’ve done pro-bono, or projects you’ve made up to challenge yourself.
  • And lastly – this one may be a bit harder to swallow – be willing to take a step back. You might need to in order to move forward; but in the long run it will be worth it! Many professionals will even take intern roles to get experience and get a foot in the door.

We covered a lot of great info – so more to come next week specifically on resume/portfolio tips!


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Oct 14, 2013 at 7:46am

Thanks for the catch Kim!


Oct 12, 2013 at 10:24am

I think you meant "commensurate" not "commiserate." These have quite different meanings.

Sep 17, 2012 at 1:31pm

Great information! Please keep it coming.

Cynthia Sherstad

Sep 15, 2012 at 10:14am

Perfect timing! Thank you for posting this information. I am currently a midlife-transitioning-professional. Having experienced much soul searching into the darkest recesses, I am now "reinventing myself." I will contact SVC on Monday in the hopes I can have some feedback into various fields and what my next step needs to be.

Thanks again!

Sep 14, 2012 at 1:27pm

Great information, Amy! Looking forward to the next installment!