TDL-Creative’s 13 top tips for potential graphic design applicants.

TDL-Creative is on the search for some new designers. We’re looking forward to finding some new people to join our team, but in the past, we’ve been shocked at some of the critical errors some of the design candidates have made during the application process.

I started documenting these frustrating, and often humorous mistakes in order to compile some top-tips for those prospective job seekers out there!

  1. Read the advert. Make sure you answer all questions asked in the job advert. We included three simple questions, the majority of which weren’t answered by our applicants
  2. Apply for the right job. Do you know what role you’re applying for? Surprisingly, many candidates actually applied for a role which wasn’t advertised! A great example – If you’re applying for an entry level graphic designer role, don’t say you’re an “Art Director”
  3. Money matters. Don’t apply and then request a different salary. We included the wage in the job description for a reason
  4. Look where the job is based. A great applicant got through to the next stage, then said they hadn’t realised where we were – get on Google maps!
  5. A tailored approach. Tailor each application to the job you’re applying for. If you include completely irrelevant work, you’ll be discounted (one person had referenced our work in their application – a sign of someone who wants the job)
  6. Speeling missstakes. Check spelling and grammar mistakes, read before you reply
  7. Quality not quantity. Only include your best and most relevant pieces of work in your portfolio
  8. Forget text speak. Don’t ever put slang abbreviations in the text (one applicant included LOL and a nice smiley face)
  9. I’m not interested in your life story. If you’re applying for a design job, we don’t want to hear about your season in Ibiza. Relevant experience is key. If it’s not directly relevant, what skills did you learn that could be applied to other roles?
  10. What do the icons mean on your CV? We noticed a huge trend of using icons to represent interests and skills – if using these, please make sure they make sense. We are looking for information designers so will be very critical of incorrect iconography! If you are using a scale in your skills, don’t include things you’re not very good at
  11. Double-check your design. If you’re applying for a graphics-based role, make sure there are no design and layout mistakes in your CV
  12. Invest in the application. Be prepared to do some preparatory work to show how you approach design. One of our applicants asked to be paid for our design tests!
  13. Communication is key. Many of our applicants failed to keep us informed of their progress with the design tests. If you take a week to reply to an email, you’re not likely to get the job

It worries me that graduates are leaving University with limited job application skills. Perhaps it should be introduced as a compulsory module? I fail to see how they can get a first class degree and not be able to read an advert brief!

Luckily, as we’re a creative studio, we were able to spot the difference between good and bad designers, resulting in us picking the best graduates for our work. But I feel sorry for companies who aren’t creatively orientated – how are they supposed to find a good designer?