Read Time: 2.5 minutes
As any sort of designer, you have a main set of promotional materials: your logo, business cards, printed portfolio and in most cases, a website. That’s all you expect to need to be successful coming out of school—but what about searching for jobs, or building your professional network? Where does one even start?
One place I started was LinkedIn; through my graphic design professors and my career advisor, I was advised to create an account to assist me in beginning my professional development. I questioned this advice at first, seeing as the only work experience I had up to that point consisted of three years as a Front Line Employee at the Chick-fil-a in my hometown, a few random freelance projects I completed during my freshman year. As a sophomore student at SCAD, beginning and adjusting to college alone was daunting enough—let alone beginning to advertise myself as a professional designer.
But as I grew as a designer and throughout my college experience, I was able to add many experiences to my LinkedIn profile. My profile assisted me in acquiring each position, and each position allowed me to build my professional experience as well as my profile. It assisted me with getting my first job through my school as a Student Assistant during my study abroad program, then in obtaining a job as a Docent at SCAD’s Museum of Art. It even helped when getting my first graphic design job at a local art gallery in Savannah.
By the beginning of my senior year at SCAD, I had built up a virtual resume going all the way back to my very first job at Chick-fil-a. When you work a job like that, you will develop some great customer service skills and employers love seeing that—but I didn’t want that information cluttering up my actual resume. Although not all of this experience was purely graphic design, my future employers could see qualities I had developed throughout all of my jobs that would prepare me for the workplace.
LinkedIn then helped me search for internships, leading me to companies I thought I would never even have the chance of working at. And, eventually I got my dream: an internship with the Walt Disney Company. It was a magical six-month experience that I will never forget and definitely help prepared me to venture out into the real world.
When I applied to work at SEGD, one of the first materials they looked at when considering me was my LinkedIn account. I know because I got an alert from LinkedIn that they had been viewing my profile. And all on one page they could read a bit about me and my aspirations for my career as a designer, see my previous work experience and they could even find a link to my portfolio site. Everything they needed to learn about me and my work as a designer was all in one organized place.
Now if that’s not helpful to employers, I don’t know what is! So, students—trust me, making a LinkedIn account and keeping it updated is definitely worth it. I don’t know where I’d be without mine.