Reading time
6 Minutes

Shortest way to land a design job.

"Why the hell has no one ever told me that before?!"

I met a brilliant designer once who had come to the city to do an internship.

He took the internship because he thought it was the only way to start a career here (exactly like I once thought), when actually he already had real experience and was even a bit popular within the design community.

During his internship, he looked for a real job so he could extend his stay. But despite all his talent, he found nothing. Some studios didn’t even get back to him, while others just offered a coffee. But nothing work-related came out of it. He got tired of the whole situation and left the country to try his luck somewhere else.

Having been there and done that, I was determined to make the most out of this job. But one year after I was hired, some legal issues arose that were related to the previous owners, and all of a sudden, the owners announced that the company would close due to bankruptcy. We were all out of a job. This brought up some bad memories for me, and I immediately felt nervous, but I thought: “ok, I have been here before, and this time I am more prepared.”

That same day, a colleague of mine sent me a link to a ‘creative recruitment agency’ in the city. Something I had never heard of in my entire life.

Apparently, there are companies out there who help talent find great jobs according to their skills. All this time, I had been doing all of it on my own. Firms approach these recruitment agencies and request a candidate with specific skills. It makes sense: if a big company opens an interesting job position, they get thousands of applications, and it’s hard to spot the talent among so many applicants.

The creative recruiters are the ones who search for the right talent and put them in contact with the company; they also negotiate their salaries or their hourly rates. So the creatives get the job they like, the company finds what they are looking for, and the recruiter gets a cut of it – everybody wins.

But in the three years I had spent in the city desperately looking for a decent job, no one had told me this – no one.

From all the designers and professionals I met, I just needed one to say: “hey, try a recruitment agency.” It could have been as simple as that.

I always wondered: did they know or were they clueless about this too?

It might not work for everybody, but my experience with recruitment agencies has been nothing but great. Was it luck? Maybe. My first time working with one of them was really productive. They helped me to raise my value, they improved my CV and got me in contact with big names. They didn’t work with small studios, they were there only for big clients, the first division – no joke.

When they got me an interview with a big fashion firm, it took just one meeting to get the job and they negotiated my salary to almost double of what I was making at the small agency.

They told me that I was being too cheap and undervaluing myself, that I had so much to offer and that a small company wouldn’t get me far. At this moment I noticed two things: first, I had never gotten such great advice before, and second, their comments motivated me. Gave me back my energy and passion. I saw myself working for the big names, and after that day, everything became possible. It was time for me to believe in myself.

When I told a friend of mine this story, he got very upset. He had been in the city for four months looking for a job and found nothing, even though he was one of the few talented ones. The same reaction from an ex-colleague of mine: “why the hell has no one told me that before?” I gave him the agency’s business card, he met with them, and within a short time he was hired for several projects. It worked for him, too.

I explained to my recruiters my own job-hunt story and they were surprised as well – they said: “what? You have been looking on your own for three years and you made it this far?”

We will talk about how to approach companies and possible clients later in the book, but to start with, remember these words:

R-E-C-R-U-I-T-M-E-N-T  A-G-E-N-C-Y. You’re welcome.