I get asked … a lot, “What’s the best way to get a job once I’m out of school? Ultimately it comes down to only three things: Network, Network and Network. Oh… did I mention Network?
Yes of course your education is foundationally important, without that you don’t have anything to bring to the table but, if I may push the metaphor a bit, if your education is the meal, your networks are the utensils.
In a recent article by Christina Green of Boutique Design she states “While web savvy may help recruiters find your resume, in the hospitality design industry, it’s getting out and talking to people that often results in real-world commissions and acts as insurance for future employment.” She emphasizes the point by saying “…it’s a very small world (the hospitality design industry). The importance of buddying up with potential clients, designers in other firms and local FF&E reps is paramount. Burning bridges is the ultimate career fail.”
The article goes on to remind new designers that “Up-and-coming designers don’t have the luxury of relying on a perfect portfolio. They’re forced to ditch their screens and put in real face time at networking events. Yes, that sometimes means reaching out to total strangers. And yes, it can be awkward.”
Designer Ricardo Moreno-Aviña, senior designer/project manager of El Segundo-based Clear On Black said it this way “For as large as we are, our industry has a small-town mentality. Face-to-face networking is the single most important thing in our sector. As designers we are trying to connect ourselves to the world through our visions. The best way for a potential collaborator to get you is to know you. Be true to yourself and what makes your design story and perspective unique.”
So…the case is made, you are convinced, how does one exactly do that? Here are four ways you can increase the likelihood of you getting that great job after graduation.
Participate in industry events. Research and find out when industry organizations are having events. IIDA and ASID both run events throughout the year and most are student friendly. Volunteer for service opportunities at these events.
Seek opportunities for job shadowing, even for a day. Ask people that work in firms if you can just come and be a “fly on the wall” for a day, just to observe what they do and how they do it. Who knows, maybe your winning smile might land you an internship.
People, particularly business people, can spot a phony a mile away therefore be yourself!! But also be professional. Dress appropriately, get pointers on your demeanor from friends and family and observe those who are now where you would like to be in 5-10 years.
Approach all new relationships with more than “what can you do for me?” Think of what you can bring to a potential contact. Maybe your skill set, maybe a passion for what you do, maybe even an empathetic ear having someone listen to them for a change.
So, get out there and who knows, in the words of Ms. Green “The person you meet could be your next employer—or client.”
Parts of this article taken from
Boutique Design “It’s a Very Small World” by Christina Green
Copyright © 2016 ST Media Group International. Accessed 12/28/2016