Jobs That Allow You to Utilize Your Design Skills (and Build Your Portfolio)

Jobs That Allow You to Utilize Your Design Skills (and Build Your Portfolio)

Freelance designers tend to go significant periods of time without a well-paying project. When work is hard to come by, and bills begin to pile up, it may be time to start looking for a more consistent source of income. For the passionate designer, the best thing to do is find a job that not only utilizes your skills, but is something that can build your credibility in the world of graphic design. Here are some popular jobs that will allow you to put your skills to use and maintain some financial security while building your portfolio at the same time:

Entry Level in Marketing/Advertising Agencies

Nearly all graphic design work is done for the sake of promotion and advertising. Most non-freelance designers work for advertising agencies that make print ads for cars, fashion, products, food, etc. A low-level job in marketing can definitely pay off later on, as it allows you to connect with people in the industry that are all about promotion. You will be able to utilize your creativity and obtain more knowledge about how to promote your own work. Radio stations and smaller businesses are generally good places to reach out to, because they are always looking for fresh ways to promote themselves.

SEO Specialist

An SEO specialist is someone who works in Search Engine Optimization. If you are a truly talented designer, but are struggling to pay off student loans, or can’t seem to land a good gig, then SEO may be the consistent source of income you’re looking for. SEO specialists are paid to help businesses market themselves by building links on relevant websites. Usually this is done in the form of a written article with content that is useful to the site and it’s readers. A designer writing for a print company or anything related to design, can easily showcase their work to thousands of people in the field by writing their own articles and using their own designs as featured images. SEO also requires you to meet deadlines, be a quick learner, and trigger creativity instantly, some things every graphic designer should learn to do.

Web Developer/Programmer

A web developer is about the closest you can get to being a graphic designer without having it as your official job title. Basically, web developers work with clients to design and create websites. They analyze the client’s business and brand, and design the right look for the site along with customized features to make the site user-friendly. The main difference between a web developer and graphic designer is that a web developer must have some expertise in HTML coding, CSS, and other areas of computer science. If you as a designer are a little dim in your computer science skills, then there some great schools that offer advanced HTML classes and Adobe Training outside of four-year universities. Consider enrolling in a course to fill the gaps in your game as a designer and become a well-rounded web developer.

The best part about all of these jobs is that businesses young and old have a demand for them now. They all require a certain degree of creativity, and require you to learn something new every day. In today’s world, every business needs a website and talented marketers. Talk to people who have privately owned businesses, network with people in entertainment like radio stations or clubs/organizations at college campuses. These people all usually need help.

Owen Oliver is a writer and graphic designer that loves helping employees of various trades learn web skills to enhance their work performance. He writes for American Graphics Institute, a company that specializes in various forms of adobe training and web development.

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Ricardo Diaz

August 24, 2013

After I graduated from college with an Associate in Web Design I thought thats all I needed to start working. Ya it didn’t work out that way and I found myself struggling to get work and when I did it was just $200 dollar jobs.

I finally just got a job in a e-marketing department which opened my eyes to a whole new world. I learned from the team about selling, marketing, and also how they interacted with designers, graphic artists, and other businesses.

From my experience I think going into new fields is a great idea and it helps build you up and feel more confident about your skills. I also gained skills that I can offer my clients.

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