What exactly does a design firm want to see in your resume and portfolio? AIGA Baltimore (and a few very lucky students and professionals) went to the source to find out. R2integrated, the award-winning digital marketing agency that recently joined Baltimore’s skyline, welcomed us to their Pratt Street headquarters for some insight into their hiring process and individual portfolio reviews.
After an exciting studio tour and an introduction to the r2i team, we broke into small groups to discuss job application tactics. There were so many great tips! The advice we heard reflects what r2i seeks from their prospective employees, but it’s also useful for any potential design job. Here’s some highlights:
- Be memorable…in a good way. Find ways to make a strong impression with your resume, your portfolio, and your interactions throughout the interview process.
- A sense of humor and the absence of a cocky attitude are key personality traits.
- Your resume should be concise and easy to skim, because the person reading it usually just wants to get to the good stuff — your design samples. Visual hierarchy is key!
- When presenting your work online, don’t use a crappy-looking portfolio website, even if it’s got a professional-sounding domain name. The reviewer is looking at your work, not your URL, and if web coding isn’t your strength, use Behance or Squarespace for a better presentation.
- In an interview, don’t show more than 10 projects. Do make sure to lock down your design story before presenting. Explain your goal for each project, but keep it brief and interesting.
- You’re not the only person being interviewed — research the company beforehand, and ask questions!
- r2i appreciates a good print project, but they are web-based first and foremost, so include examples of web design (especially responsive design!)
Thanks again to the team at r2integrated for a fabulous and inspiring evening!
Psst…are you a design student or recent grad who’s interested in more job search tips and portfolio feedback? Join us for the third annual Ink & Pixels Student Design Conference, on April 12 at Stevenson University. Learn to present yourself and get constructive feedback from the pros. More information is coming soon — join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the deets!
Meredith Burke is a web & print designer, knitter, and craft beer enthusiast. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and a black cat named Brock Samson. Currently, Meredith’s working on beefing up her front-end dev skills. Check out mdith.com to see her work.
Greg Jericho spends an awful lot of time designing for clients that do not exist. Check out his work at gregoryjericho.prosite.com.
Photo credit: Kate Lawless. When she isn’t scheduling social media and writing blog posts for AIGA Baltimore, you can find Kate Lawless designing communications, digital signs, documentation, and interactive software elearning for University of Maryland Faculty Physicians, Inc., in Baltimore. You can reach Kate on Twitter @katereeez or at email@example.com.