Graphic Design Portfolio

Networking and Finding Real Jobs



  • Research on real job openings

(Job Posting Research Results)


In groups, in class, complete the following:

  1. Each group finds 10 current, real job openings in graphic design and study what employers are asking for.
  2. Use one of these web sites to search for your jobs: Indeed, CareerJet, or Simply Hired.
  3. Create a list of the 10 most important things most employers are looking for when they hire a graphic designer.
    - What do they want you to design?
    - What software do they want you to know?
    - What soft skills are they looking for?
    - What else do they ask for?

Two Things that will Help Land You a Job

The best way to find a job is by consistently doing two things at the same time:

  1. Look for current job openings that are already posted in local newspapers, job centers, trade magazines and internet sites (like Western’s TechConnect,,,, etc.). See the list of job search web sites provided on the following pages.
  2. Networking and cold-calling are proven method of finding jobs that aren’t posted, or are only posted in limited areas. When you cold-call you simply find companies that may hire you and you either call them and ask if they have any openings in your field, or you send them a cover letter, resume and color samples page and tell them that you are looking for work in (your field) and would like to meet with them to discuss any future openings they may have. Whether you call or stop by, always send a cover letter, resume and samples so they keep you on file for future openings.

When you combine these two approaches you are greatly increasing your chances of finding potential job openings. Don’t be “that” job hunter who waits a week for the Sunday paper, browses through the want ads looking for graphic design jobs, sends out a resume or two, and then waits another week for the Sunday paper. This approach is ineffective and severely limits your job prospects. Not to mention it shows that you are lacking self-motivation and drive. Be the other job hunter who uses a two-prong approach to find the job they love. Set goals for yourself each week to get out there and find five job openings that are not posted, and ten that are. Then challenge yourself to send each your cover letter, resume and color samples page—and follow up with a phone call a week later. You want to be the organized, motivated, cutting edge, web savvy job hunter who gets noticed—and hired.

Web Search: Finding Potential Employers (who may, or may not be hiring)

As you start your job search you should consider your current location and other locations in order to increase the possible job leads you can generate. The farther you are willing to move, the more job leads you will find.

Go to: (Yahoo "yellow pages") and begin your search for companies that would possibly hire graphic designers. Click (on the top right) of the Web page to set your location. Type your city and state and click continue. Begin searching using industry titles. Possible business industry titles are: graphic designers, design agencies, advertising agencies, printing companies, web designers, web site developers, prepress service bureaus, corporate art and design departments, publishing companies, newspapers, colleges, banks, multimedia companies, radio and television stations, etc. is another web site that finds employers. It also has a cool satellite view feature to view your new location via satellite.

Finding Real Jobs to Apply for

Get out there and find a job! The good news is that there are more than enough graphic design jobs available for all of you. Your job is to go out and find them—they will not come to you.

  • While many more web sites are available, these will get you started on the right track to finding a job you love. The more sites you find, the more potential job leads you will find. The farther you are willing to move, the more jobs that will be available.
  • Look for job openings that match your qualifications and goals. Be sure to read each ad carefully to see what each employer is looking for. When you write your cover letter, you will want to communicate to them that you have the skills and qualifications they are looking for.
  • National web sites like, and are excellent resources for the Web savvy job hunter—which you will be after project 2. These sites offer jobs that are not usually posted locally.
  • Looking on the national web sites is great, but don’t overlook a city’s local newspapers and job centers. Here is a web site that lists every major newspaper printed in the United States: These newspapers offer great job leads and often list job openings not posted nationally. For the Web/e-mail savvy job hunter, you can set up several newspapers to e-mail you all of their new job leads. You will find this information on their individual web sites.

Job Search Web Sites

  4. Jobs
  5. Western’s Student Employment
  9. Yahoo! HotJobs
  11. America’s Job Bank
  12. AIGA Design Jobs
  13. Top USA Jobs
  14. Minnesota Workforce Center
  15. Minnesota Job Bank
  16. All Graphic
  17. Wisconsin Jobs
  18. Just Web
  19. Wisconsin Job Network
  21. U.S. Newspapers Directory
  23. Creative Hot

Freelance Work

1 in 4 graphic designers work as full and/or part-time freelance designers (75,000 out of 280,000 Graphic Designers in the USA. I personally recommend that you work for an employer for a 3-5 years before you consider starting your own graphic design business. This will give you time to learn the ins and outs of the industry, develop a client and printer support base, and allow you to learn exactly what areas of the graphic design field you are passionate about—and really good at.