So many college students spend needless hours stressing over the potential salary range of the job they expect to land after graduation. While it is all good and fine to explore the salary surveys, the fact is that in today’s economy, these may not be worth any more than a quick glance. The average person in the US today has a career or several careers spanning 30 to 40 years and there is plenty of time of work on increasing income after that first satisfying job in the field is landed. It is far more important to concentrate on finding the first job than worrying over an appropriate graphic designer beginning salary.
Before even contemplating the actual search for a job, the aspiring soon-to-be employed graphic designer needs to take a long thorough look at him or herself and have a clear understanding of personal positive and negatives. By college graduation, most designers should feel comfortable in knowing their work, its style, favored mediums and less than stellar areas. While your first job may not be your ultimate desire, it is wise to try to target the job search to the design employers that best suit work habits and character whether that is corporate or an ad agency or a local design studio. Prepare a strong portfolio, obviously it is going to feature your best work, but also give a nod to the type of position that you are pursuing.
Using the training received in visual perception and acuity, put the pieces together in a fashion that illustrates conceptualization, skill and most of all, message conveyance. Take advantage of any offerings before leaving college on how to assemble a portfolio and also those sessions that are not necessarily specifically geared to graphic design students. Avail yourself of local design professionals, mentoring and internship programs. Do not forget that designers need resumes too. This is often overlooked by the amount of time preparing the portfolio. A resume is yet one more way for a graphic designer to demonstrate his or her skills and ability to create real world work. A well-done resume, business card and even website show a potential employer the practical side of the creative person. Graphic designer beginning salary may well be higher in the corporate arena especially when the job includes perks such as health insurance, investment or pension plans. Compile an extensive listing of companies, design firms, studios and individual designers that are in the preferred geographic location and those existing entry level designers on board.
Do not forget that your college’s alumni office is a resource for locating those who have recently graduated in your field; networking is the name of the game. Building a graphic design career is a life-long journey of learning. The key is finding the first job that provides graphic designer beginning salary, no matter how small it may appear to be. Success in this field has many different definitions and pathways to follow. While some may strive to be among New York’s design elite as the head of the creative department in a large agency or firm, others may seek out the camaraderie and life-long relationships that are the trademark of small local design studios. Still others may look to pursue nothing more than the equivalent of a graphic designer beginning salary by working only part-time when raising a family or pursuing other interests. The satisfied and successful graphic design professional is above all a lifelong learner with good people skills, talent and the curiosity of a child.