On my first day at university, there were so many questions inside of my head. What will happen when I finish my studies? Will it be so hard to get a well-paid job? Will it be better to aim at creating my own business? At that moment I was afraid because, in my environment, there were a lot of comments about the hard life of the designer who wants to live 100% dedicated to design. If that sounds familiar to you, I suggest reading this post, I think that this article can be useful to you.

While I was a student, I was too scared about all those comments on the life of a designer. For this reason, I did different extra activities that were very useful for speeding up my professional growth. I will now tell you about the 6 steps. If you find some parts of my article unclear, I invite you to write me a message so we can go through your questions together.

1- Obsession to get high-quality experience.

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In order to start getting your first projects or jobs that allow you to grow, you generally need to have experience that shows your skills in that area in which you are interested.

I always asked myself, how can I get my first projects if most people ask for experience to start?. Keeping this question in mind, I started to investigate how I would face this challenge

What I did and was useful to me was to participate in an NGO and to offer myself as a volunteer in businesses or organizations.

There are many companies that are looking for passionate people who want to offer their help with the vision and goals of the organizations. Doing this allowed me to gain the experience of working in a team, of having the opportunity to face real projects with a big impact and of absorbing the knowledge of my partners.

Back then I did not do it for a profit but to gain high-quality experience, join in a cause of my interest and to create my professional network. This experience is highly recommendable and will be even more helpful to you if you are still at university. I take this opportunity to thank “Radio Maria Argentina” that accompanied me on the way of my growth.

 

Another thing that really worked for me was to make projects for clients that were in my city but I contacted them only when I had a finished proposal and I offered it to them to earn a profit and pay the expenses of the project. A large percentage was interested in my work and, when that was not the case, that was not a problem to me, since my main interest was to gain experience and to add a new project to my portfolio.

 

I did some other things more but I will not make such a long article. I will write another article if you are interested, but relax, I included the most important points here ;).

2- If you settle only for the content you are given at university ¡You are in trouble!

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Education is very important, the brain is the most profitable asset when we make an investment. I recommend you to keep updated as much as possible. Do not settle for the content you were given at university. You should look ahead, aim at what is next.

Most design universities have outdated and obsolete content for the current market. For this reason, I supplemented the university content with external content.

I suggest studying books of the leaders in the industry of the area in which you are interested and investing in extra courses. There are some education platforms that worked for me like Youtube, Crehana, Platzi, among others.

3- You should create your own network

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The most important thing to get good projects, good clients or a good job is networking: our success depends on the people in our professional circle.

Another advice is to assist to conferences and events that deal with the topic of your interest.

The pay-off of networking makes the obtention of interesting projects, recommendations, a good job easier or you can even find the ideal partner to make new projects.

Besides, you can use social media to your advantage, I suggest writing with humility to colleagues that “have achieved what you are looking for” to ask for tips, and being ready to receive feedback about your portfolio. This will give you another perspective and will allow you to continue learning.

4- Use pressure to your advantage.

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I like to apply immediately what I am just learning, to work in projects in which I do not feel comfortable yet.

Knowing that I have a deadline to deliver my work to leave the client satisfied or knowing that this is a considerable challenge because I do not have experience in projects of that kind puts me under pressure that motivates me to learn and to assimilate knowledge faster.

Example: If a client asks you for services or products that you feel a little bit uneasy providing, I suggest agreeing to the request and using that pressure to master that topic, if you are really interested in learning how to provide it. ¡Be careful with the extreme situations!

5- Learn to communicate your ideas

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Participating in oratory workshops will allow you to face situations where you have to speak in public. This is highly recommendable because in your professional trajectory you may face this situation many times so this will serve you to transmit your ideas effectively.

This is not so easy, it takes time, but you should do it. If you experiment facing those situations several times, you will gain more skills to speak in public and to put forward your ideas.

At present, when I have to speak in front of a group of people to put forward an idea I feel a little scared but the important thing is that fear does not stop you from doing it.

6- What you are studying should be your passion.

This point is the most important one. You must be 100% sure that your career is your passion, since this will give you the necessary energy to do all the tips that you previously read.

We have arrived at the end… I hope this will be useful to you and that you practice some tips that you consider interesting. If you have time, you can tell me what your experience was.

I'm grateful for your patience to read this article.


Written by

Martin Coronel