Career Experience ?

Bezer's picture

I am four years out of school and looking for a full-time, entry level design position. It seems that here in New York City, freelance work is everywhere but full-time positions few and far between. And because most studios want someone with 2-5 years experience, I was wondering what the best course of action would be: Is it better to work freelance in studios, getting that "real world experience" but have very little original work to show potential employers? -OR- Do I go for independent clients that may pay little and are notorious for less impressive work, but will at least allow me to create most all the design myself, thus having more to show those potential employers?

And if the former: What do you show potential employers when all of your work is but a small contribution to an otherwise large collaboration? How can you really show what work is yours.

Any advice would be well appreciated.

pattyfab's picture

Adam - why not try to do both? Freelancing in a studio will give you a valuable look at how things are run, help you make connections, and maybe lead to a full-time position. Meanwhile picking up independent clients on the side will broaden your portfolio.

If you are showing potential employers or clients work in which your contribution was small it is best to be very direct and clear about that. I knew a designer once who went around passing off logos she had inked as her own designs. The problem was that the person who had designed them was meeting with a lot of the same clients. Her reputation went south pretty quickly.

Ch's picture

i agree with patty, but also i emphasize that while you're young it's extremely valuable to get into active teams (even as a freelancer) where you can learn about real world situations, client handling, production strategies of the experts (or at least the more experienced team members), problem solving, and larger format issues which you're likely to miss out on in a smaller independent capacity.

even if your entry level tasks seem less creative or even menial, the on site experience is priceless. if you're smart and can get things done you'll rise through the ranks soon enough.

team experience in professional houses also scores points on a resume, and you can always pick up side work if you want more autonomy.

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