There is a plethora of creative jobs out there in the design and development world. Each possesses a different experience or angle that appeals to various talent and personality types. No matter where you fit into this scenario, there are a few ways to make sure you stand out when you apply for your dream job at any one of these companies.

Stay Up-to-Date On Your Skill Set

The best companies, big or small, all try to push the boundaries of the current trends. They may not hire based on that desire, but the next best thing is making sure whoever they do hire is current with whatever the design trends or development technologies are at the time.

There are a few different ways you can help improve and stay on top of this. Freelance work (if you’re allowed outside of your current job or already a freelancer) is a great way to be “forced” to stay up-to-date on your practice. Networking amongst your peers also helps. Who better to lean on than your friends in the industry? As creatives, we are lucky to be part of a profession that thrives off shared knowledge. Doing personal case studies as portfolio pieces is another great way to tackle some tasks outside of your current portfolio collection. This will require you to personally motivate yourself to strive for client perfection on a type of project you’ve previously had no guidance on.

Showing that you have the talent and skill on par or exceeding the requirements of your desired job will set your potential employer at ease from the start.

Demonstrate Your Professionalism

This seems like a given, but it can be very apparent if you neglect simple aspects of the job application and interview process. Pay attention to what your potential employer is asking for as part of your application. If you don’t provide it, they will consider that you either didn’t care to read the entire job post or didn’t care to put together the item(s) they needed.

In your cover letter you should mention what you’ve learned about the company (you want to work there – why?) and how do you believe your skill set fits in. This is your opportunity to present yourself before being asked for an interview. This will also show your motivation and desire to contribute to the company. An eager team member is much more desireable to an employer. They are trying to grow their company and make great work, not simply pay salaries.

In your interview you should know how to carry yourself. This is an in person testament to how you can handle yourself in a potential client situation. Show your future employer that you have conviction in what you are saying and confidence in the knowledge you possess. You may want to do a practice interview with a friend and have them tell you if you seem timid or wavering. Being confident without being cocky is the goal here. You are simply showing your employer that you can handle yourself without needing a guide at all times.

Be Humble and Be Excited

This is the part that some of the most talented individuals struggle with. This is also something you should look for on both sides of the aisle. You are applying to a company for a job they are offering, they are not seeking you out individually as a savior. Both sides have something to gain from this and neither is better than the other for any reason. It’s important to keep that level approach to knowing your value and understanding their needs.

The company will be looking for the most talented individual they can afford to hire. They already know you are uber talented and most likely a really awesome person. If you remind them too repeatedly, you may run the risk of demonstrating that you could potentially pose a problem in a team environment. Most companies likely have a workflow process (whether design or development oriented) that they will look to integrate your skill set into. Of course any company should be open to team member ideas, but you may look to learn about their routine and how you can fit in as a new hire before suggesting changes during an interview.

Ask about the future of the company. You may be talking to a hiring manager or even an owner themselves, both should be familiar with the goals of the company. It will show you’re thinking about how you can help the company as well as your own profession. If the company grows, your career will grow as well. This will excite them and show your desire to be a part of something bigger than a job.

Just Be Cool

No, I don’t mean try and act cool. This is just another way of saying “be yourself” without having to say it. If you remember that they are people too, you will remove some stress and nerves that might prevent you from showing who you really are. If you like cartoons, talk about cartoons for a second. If you’re into playing basketball on the weekends, tell them about your last game. It’s a lot like a college interview, what you do outside of work in your spare time reflects who you are. Gosh darn it, people like you!

So, if you didn’t catch this, here’s what you have to do.

  1. Have a current portfolio / skill set.
  2. Carry yourself as a professional.
  3. Be excited and motivated.
  4. Show who you are.

Go get em tiger!