How to Succeed in Your First Design Job

So you've got the job... now how do you succeed in your new role?

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Ask questions
If you’re unsure of something you’re being asked to do, ask! It’s always better to ask and have the correct knowledge going into a project than to do it incorrectly and have to go back and fix it. Even if you’re just curious about something, ask! Most creatives are happy to chat about creative things and help people learn new things.

Listen and observe
Your mentors are there for a reason, and they were graduates once too. Looking to these people for advice and trusting their guidance will help you to develop and grow as a designer. Observing how more experienced designers generate ideas, work through the creative process and deal with clients will help inform your own experience as a designer. Be a sponge!

Take notes

There’s a lot to learn in this industry, and if you can keep it all in your head you’ve a better memory than me! Keep a notebook of all the tips, tricks and lessons learned – this will be invaluable reference material for the next time you tackle a similar problem.

Be a team player
Build a good relationship with your team. Being able to work well with others is an invaluable skill that any employer will look for in an employee.

Lose the ego
As a junior designer, you have a lot to learn and a long way to go. Don’t get a big head because you’re doing well. Experience will teach you more in this industry than anything else will. Keep a level head, and your ideas and skills will be respected.

Learn to take criticism
As a junior designer, you have a lot to learn. You’re going to experience setbacks and negative feedback, and you need to know how to take this on board so you can grow and learn from each mistake. It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it, don’t be afraid to fail!

Focus on developing your communication skills
You need to be able to talk about your ideas, the reasoning behind why you’ve made creative decisions, and critique your own work, as well as others. Never apologise for your ideas – if you don’t believe in your own ideas, why would anyone else in the room believe in them? There’s no such thing as a bad idea!

Stay inspired
More often than not, junior roles consist of a lot of run-of-the-mill artworking jobs, and it’s vital that you stay creatively inspired to avoid burn-out. Looking for a workplace that allows you some time to work on side projects is a great way to keep your creative juices flowing. Keeping up to date with current happenings in the design world and finding work that inspires you will inspire everyone else in the workplace. It’s a big creative (non-vicious) circle. 

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