Soon to be graduate - any job advice?

I'm currently in my third year studying Visual Communication at uni and I've begun to apply/look for junior designer jobs.

I am on the hunt for small(ish) design agencies and I can only really find these opprotunities appearing in London and Manchester.

Any insights on how other people got a design job after graduation - did you approach companies/agencies or did you get your jobs through knowing people?

Any advice or insights would be well appreciated - thank you!


  • Agencies tend to be really competitive and require fast pased and skiled designers. As a starting point you could look at companies with in-house design teams as well, to gain experience, skills, and how to work in a design team environment.

    Keep creating and learning as much as you can after you graduate to add to your portfolio. Look at brands you enjoy and design print and digital assets for a campaign. Go to webinars, theres a lot of free ones on this website.

    Theres a lot of UX/UI roles popping up in the last few years, with very nice salaries, so if your interesting in the field, start learning about figma and create projects around that.

    If your set on wanting to work in an agency, start making connections on linkedin with companies you want to work for and see if you can get a couple of weeks work experience, showcase your portfolo similar to there design style and brands they manage.

    And stay postive, it may be a while before you get your first design job and just know there is a lot of designers looking for jobs after the pandemic and redundancies, so a lot of competition with people with a lot of experience.

    Hope this helps you.
  • Get one.

    You learn a lot in the first two years in the industry and you're best placed to do that in employment. It's not right for everyone, but if you're into it - as you appear to be - look for that.

    The issue is that in 2022, the junior job market is a bit of a disgrace. Major hubs like London and Manchester (I've known people in Scotland who can't get work in their country) remain the only place offering junior roles. Those found in small agencies tend to be mid-weight roles, with employers trying to take advantage of a tough job market by bringing experienced designers into low-paid roles. Junior roles used to be entry-level roles. Now they require experience.

    There are some roles out there, outside of London, but they're getting rarer and harder to get into - and with that, employers feel empowered to make the application process harder, less accessible, and less ethical.

    My first job came through a notification at my university, albeit in 2014 when things were a bit better. Younger designers I know who applied in the last three years had it A LOT harder.

    The best thing you can do is make sure you have a killer portfolio (web/PDF) - self-initiate rather than take on low-budget/free jobs. Because a job will turn up. And be savvy. Be very wary of jobs asking for job tests, not only is it iffy ethically but it suggests they don't know what they're doing as they don't understand the importance of a portfolio.

    It's hard out there, especially outside of London, there's no getting away from that. Which probably isn't what you want to hear. But keep up to date with what desirable employers are doing, keep you portfolio moving and well-curated, and don't be afraid to have a proper moan on here.

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