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4 Minutes

The best step in your design career.

If you come from a small company, in which budget and resources are very limited, switching to a big one might seem like walking into Disneyland.

Companies at the top level have the privilege of hiring the best professionals; people with great talent who deliver in high-pressure situations and tight deadlines. They do their work on a big scale and the production process is pretty amazing.

That also means that, by working there, you might get international exposure. Plus, you get to meet and share projects with the very best. The experience you can get from it is invaluable.

Once you step into that world, the people with whom you collaborate will treat you like an expert in what you do. They will respect your decisions, since they know that you got there for a reason.

The fact that you worked with the best will open doors to go anywhere, and it will give you something very important for your career: credibility.

Put it this way:

You are at a networking event with a lot of potential clients.
They know little or nothing about the creative industry, but they might need your professional skills for their businesses at some point.
You tell them that you are a designer (or the like).
They ask what you’ve done or what your specialties are.
You tell them that you did a certain project and you won a Red Dot Award.
They don’t know what you are talking about.

If instead of that, you tell them you have worked for a company like Nike, they will say, “oh that’s nice! What did you do?” Hearing familiar brand names helps them relate to what you do and gives you credibility.

The other side of the coin of working at a big firm is that it can make things a bit ‘too easy’. The problem-solving skills of a creative team may dissipate over time if they rely too much on budget. It doesn’t take much to get used to luxury, as we all know. But despite this danger, big firms are a risk definitely worth taking. A good name in your resume can give more back to you than any other thing in your career.

If you want to take the leap to a large company, try it with an agent or even by yourself. If it doesn’t work the first time, be persistent and apply to several of them. Get in touch with people within the firm through social circles or networking, ask them to introduce you and show your willingness to work for them. Once you put the word out there, opportunities will show up around you. Some of your friends might know someone already working there, or who is connected somehow to that firm.

Once you know someone inside, it’s much easier, since big organizations reward their employees for introducing new candidates, and familiarity is a good method of introduction.

As Byron Katie said once: “You can get anything you want in life, if you are willing to ask 1,000 people.”

Before going insane sending applications, take a look at this book I wrote about why and how designers go freelance without losing their minds.