September is finally here and I almost can’t believe it! As we shift into fall and the days are starting to get shorter, you can definitely feel the temperature drop on the West Coast as well as start to see the leave turn from green to gold.
With the change in season September also seems to be a time of year when people naturally start thinking about taking on something new. (I certainly am… but I’ll save that for another time!) Maybe you’re graduating this year and eager to get in the design field, or maybe you’re due for a career change and it’s time to go after your dream job.
If so, then this is the post for you.
Wanna know how to get noticed, nail the interview and land that dream design job? Here are 10 tips to help you nail it!
1. Persistence never hurts.
Even though a firm may not have any available job openings, you never know when one may open up. Reaching out to your potential employer repeatedly is not a bad thing. If you get turned down the first time, don’t take it personally. It’s probably just timing so don’t be afraid to try again in the future. Showing you’re eager and committed from the onset goes a long way. Employers want to hire people who show initiative!
Keep in mind that calling once a week is not what I’m suggesting. Positions usually don’t turn around that fast in the interior design world. Touching base every other month can show you’re really keen on working with the firm and might just put your name at the top of the resume pile.
2. Research who you need to be reaching out to.
If the job you’re going after is within a sizeable firm, chances are it’s not the principal of the practice who is receiving and screening new candidates. There may be a HR manager or an Office Manager who is receiving and reviewing resumes. They’re also the ones who are making the decisions as to who they bring in for interviews so make sure you’re forwarding your resume to the right person and if you’re going to follow up, do it with that same person.
How do you find out who that is?
If the information is not on the firm’s website, then just give the front desk a call and simply ask for the information of the person who you should be sending your resume to. It’s that easy!
3. Resume Appearance Matters
Sending your resume is one thing, but if you’re applying for a creative job, sending a well-thought-out and well-designed resume is another. Gone are the days of black Times New Roman on white paper! Give your resume some personality because it’s a reflection of you and your style!
Also, don’t forget to include a few teaser samples of your portfolio. This request is explicit on the careers section of the House of Bohn website, so if your portfolio isn’t attached you stand no chance of getting an interview. Without a sample of your portfolio I am not sure what you’re capable of, and even worse, if shows that you didn’t actually read the job posting when you applied a referenced a posted position.
4. Show Your Work
Your portfolio is one of the most important pieces I look at when I interview. Make sure you are presenting it in a way you’re proud of. Think about the layout, the transition between examples and what the pages are bound in. I really appreciate seeing these details.
I’m always surprised when recent students shyly present their school work. It’s not a secret that you just graduated so I’m not expecting to see anything other than school work. Be proud of what you put together and make sure you show it with enthusiasm!
If you’re coming from another firm, DO NOT include photographs from the firm’s website in your own portfolio. Unless you have rights to those photos, you should not be showing them as your own. Don’t hesitate to reference projects that you’ve worked on in the past and mention what your role was in those projects, but showing your previous employees photos is a sure way to not land your next design job.
5. Come Prepared
I can’t tell you how often a candidate has showed up for an interview without their resume and portfolio in hand. “Oh, I emailed it to you” doesn’t excuse the act that you’re not going into the interview prepared. Your potential boss is busy and it’s not his/her job to make sure all the necessary information for your interview are in front of them. Having the information ready for him/her is a way to set a positive first impression. Show you’re serious about landing the job by coming to the interview prepared.
Although a job interview might be nerve-wracking, take some time to relax before you walk into the interview. I want to see just as much of your personality as I do your portfolio. It’s hard for me to see it through your nerves.
Also, while I might be looking for specific skills in my next hire, I’m also looking for someone who I think will be a great fit with the team. If you’re funny, don’t shy away from showing your funny side. If you’re quirky, don’t hide it either. Be yourself, because trust me, your future boss can tell when you’re not.
7. Ask Questions
When it comes to the part of the interview when I ask a candidate if they have any questions, hearing them say “no” is disappointing. Take this opportunity in an interview to ask something about the interviewer or the design firm. Something like “Why did you get into design?” or “What would you dream project be?” are perfect opportunities to naturally form a relationship with your interviewer. Questions like this help turn the interview from a Q&A to a conversation.
8. Say “Thank you.”
A simple “thank you” can go a long way to showing you’re an outstanding candidate. I can sincerely say when I’ve done a round of interviews, the candidate who sends a thank you note or card is also the candidate who gets hired. The gesture shows how much you want the job and the thoughtfulness will set you apart from your competitors.
Even if you send a thank you note, don’t hesitate to follow up. Things may have gotten busy in the office, projects may have taken an unexpected turn, deadlines may have tightened up… you never know what’s happening. Don’t hesitate to follow up and make yourself easily available for additional questions the firm might have.
10. Don’t Give Up
If you didn’t get the job this time, don’t be discouraged. Again, it’s probably not personal and it might not have happened this time for a million reasons that you probably could never guess. I always respect candidates who ask me to keep them in mind for future opportunities. Keep the relationship open because you never know, an opportunity could happen sooner than you think!
Interested in working with House of Bohn? Head over to our website to find potential job openings and do forget to keep these tips in mind. I’ll be watching for them!
Please leave me your comments below and let me know if you found this post helpful.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Bomber Jacket: Zara
Gold Leggings: American Apparel
T-Shirt: Club Monaco
Rings: Iza Jewelry
Spectacles: Jimmy Fairley
Shoes: Steve Madden
Photography: Kristin Sarna