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Lost_dragon
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10 Sep 2021, 6:29 pm

So. I did it. After four years of working towards gaining my degree, I completed that goal. If this were a movie, it would end with a graduation ceremony complete with a quick summary montage of what the graduates individually went on to do. Typically with the villain of the film getting their comeuppance of some kind and the protagonists going on to do well. However, this isn't a film, there is no convenient fade to black. I was never under any delusions that it would end that way. Yet I hadn't given it much thought either.

The thought had always scared me, the finality of it all, so I avoided it to some extent. Being a student was comforting in that sense, putting aside all the stress that comes along with such a position. Once it came to an end, I no longer had the identity of being a student, I was simply an unemployed adult. This is still new territory and I'll admit that the transitionary period between the two states was not a smooth one. I am still unemployed, which carries some judgement from others. Now that I am into my second month, I have had plenty of comments from friends and family urging me to get a move on with things. There have been days where I have wished for the ability to melt into my bed sheets and cease to have a physical form momentarily.

Which is why I decided to take a small break. I cut my hair, I went to visit some villages, spent some time at the beach and saw museum exhibits. The break, which I feared would be laced with guilt, proved beneficial. It reminded me of why I was doing this, I do not live to work but rather I work to live. To experience the small things in life that get the mind racing. In terms of philosophy, I think of myself as an optimistic nihilist.

The time away has motivated me to continue with my job search. It is an awkward stage to be in. One of uncertainty. I have never been good at working in times of unclear goals. They make me uneasy. I don't think I believe in laziness as a stand-alone thing, but rather a symptom of a bigger problem. My reluctance to start in my case was fear, a worry that I am not good enough and do not have enough direction to become good enough. I have come to realise that is not so final after all, that I still have the chance to apply myself in other areas if I wish (within reason). My portfolio does seem like a never-ending task, but my CV (which I have changed quite a few times, as I have been learning the do's and don'ts of CV's) is almost to a level that I am happy with. I think that it can be an easy trap to fall into, constantly tweaking your own brand to the point where you overlook potential opportunities because you were so preoccupied with getting things perfect. You don't want to misstep and make the wrong decisions, trapping yourself in a bad situation. However, if you never make any steps at all, then you'll stay where you are. That thought unnerves me even more.


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badRobot
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18 Sep 2021, 12:10 pm

Lost_dragon wrote:

Which is why I decided to take a small break. I cut my hair, I went to visit some villages, spent some time at the beach and saw museum exhibits. The break, which I feared would be laced with guilt, proved beneficial. It reminded me of why I was doing this, I do not live to work but rather I work to live. To experience the small things in life that get the mind racing. In terms of philosophy, I think of myself as an optimistic nihilist.

The time away has motivated me to continue with my job search. It is an awkward stage to be in. One of uncertainty. I have never been good at working in times of unclear goals. They make me uneasy. I don't think I believe in laziness as a stand-alone thing, but rather a symptom of a bigger problem. My reluctance to start in my case was fear, a worry that I am not good enough and do not have enough direction to become good enough. I have come to realise that is not so final after all, that I still have the chance to apply myself in other areas if I wish (within reason). My portfolio does seem like a never-ending task, but my CV (which I have changed quite a few times, as I have been learning the do's and don'ts of CV's) is almost to a level that I am happy with. I think that it can be an easy trap to fall into, constantly tweaking your own brand to the point where you overlook potential opportunities because you were so preoccupied with getting things perfect. You don't want to misstep and make the wrong decisions, trapping yourself in a bad situation. However, if you never make any steps at all, then you'll stay where you are. That thought unnerves me even more.



I love your mindset. I wish I understood these things when I was a graduate, many of my choices would be very different.



Lost_dragon
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18 Sep 2021, 5:29 pm

badRobot wrote:
I love your mindset. I wish I understood these things when I was a graduate, many of my choices would be very different.


Do you have any advice for graduates, such as what to avoid?

The only part I am missing on my CV now is a short personal profile. I think I know what to say, but I keep procrastinating on writing it. Something along the lines of having an attention to detail and wanting to work in UI design. I know that I definitely need to start sending it off to places.

My portfolio, which is online and shows my designs, is shaping up but it's not quite done yet. I am also making a Showreel that will be embedded into the website. Hopefully once I have a Showreel it'll make it easier to find freelance gigs. I know that I don't have much work experience, which concerns me. This is why I want to find freelance work, so I can have a couple more items in that section.

Ideally, I want to work in designing user interfaces for web and mobile. Such as creating small loading animations and illustrations for web pages. I do have some practice with motion graphics and making websites. My background is predominantly in design, but I know the basics of HTML and using CSS. Java was an absolute pain (sorry, Java fans) and I've done a small amount of C#, but I am very much a beginner coder. I understand the more psychological side of design better, such as colour theory and how to make good illustrations. There is sometimes coding involved in the animations I make, such as writing expressions to make the movement of the illustration smoother and looped.

However, I am willing to look for work in retail in the meantime depending on how the search for a job in design goes, design software can be an expensive subscription. I hope I get to work in the area I want to though. Especially after pouring so much time into my portfolio, I have been remaking old design assets and hope to go onto new projects soon.

Today I officially received my degree. It was nice to see it in front of me, it made it feel more real somehow. I have my graduation ceremony in November. Perhaps I'll find something before then, I hope so, but that may be a tad overly-optimistic. I am not looking forward to interviews, but I know they are a necessary evil.


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badRobot
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18 Sep 2021, 6:38 pm

Most of my mistakes, even conflicts were result of not having clear idea of goals and values of companies I worked with and not understanding how they align with my own. The most obvious is not understanding difference between working on a product and being a product. If you are working for an agency full time, your time is the real product this company sells, so what makes you valuable is very different from working on a project directly for a client.

If you want your work to be fulfilling, to be rewarded for quick solutions or for higher quality, if you can, generally you should pick working directly with a client who's field is directly related to your work. I.e. worst case scenario - working full time for an agency who charges their client for your time per hour and this client is a farmer, who has no slightest idea what makes a good user interface design. Best case scenario - work directly with a company who's business depends on quality of their user interfaces, they have a whole department just for this and you are working under direction of a professional designer with clear guidelines, etc.

While you are looking for jobs you can download actual briefs attached to job openings you applied for, but didn't get and just pretend you got the job, complete project to specs but change it slightly, replace all branding with something made up in your final work and add it to your portfolio to create impression of real experience.

Depending on how diverse your work is, it might be good idea to have several portfolios, I have separate portfolios for cartoony game stuff, industrial designs, concept art and borderline gore horror. Clients glance at your portfolio for like 1 second, if the first thing they see isn't something they are looking for, they just move on to the next, you don't have a second chance.



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18 Sep 2021, 7:00 pm

If I were starting today, I would make online presence one of my priorities, properly maintain social media accounts, post updates on schedule.

It is kind of hard to explain, but as a creative you can build a better carrier with persistence, initiative, collaboration, clear understanding of goals and role of your work, instead of trying to "get a job" as part of competitive workforce pool. Often I learn basics and work on prototypes, proof of concepts, pitch these ideas and then hire people who have much more experience and technical skills to finalize implementation properly. I would never be able to compete against these people if I would try to get a job. Not sure if it makes any sense.



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19 Sep 2021, 6:47 pm

badRobot wrote:

I love your mindset. I wish I understood these things when I was a graduate, many of my choices would be very different.


LD is a remarkable young person, yes. 8)


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If I'm so bad, pass me by. ;)


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"A stranger is a friend gang-stalker you haven't met yet." Humour is not meant to be taken seriously, yet many pervert its intent.
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19 Sep 2021, 6:50 pm

Lost_dragon wrote:
badRobot wrote:
I love your mindset. I wish I understood these things when I was a graduate, many of my choices would be very different.


Do you have any advice for graduates, such as what to avoid?



Don't piss off the head of your country.
Avoid government black op teams. 8)


_________________
Laughter is the best medicine. Age-appropriate behaviour is an arbitrary NT social construct.
Don't tell me white lies. Gaslight me at your peril. Don't give me your bad attitude. Hypnosis, psychosis. Tomarto, tomayto. There are *4* lights. Honey badger.
If I'm so bad, pass me by. ;)


And one more thing,


"A stranger is a friend gang-stalker you haven't met yet." Humour is not meant to be taken seriously, yet many pervert its intent.
Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8)


I luv KFC!


badRobot
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20 Sep 2021, 6:41 am

Pepe wrote:
Lost_dragon wrote:
badRobot wrote:
I love your mindset. I wish I understood these things when I was a graduate, many of my choices would be very different.


Do you have any advice for graduates, such as what to avoid?



Don't piss off the head of your country.
Avoid government black op teams. 8)

Well, some well known creative people are famous to large extent for pissing off the head of their countries. Some posthumously, though.



Lost_dragon
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22 Sep 2021, 9:54 am

I'll try my best not to annoy the government. :lol:

badRobot wrote:
Not sure if it makes any sense.


It makes sense to me and I think that you provided some useful advice here.

Update : I stopped procrastinating on my CV and finally wrote my personal profile. So at least my CV is complete for now. I'll admit that despite having plenty of social media profiles, I should be more active than I am. Certainly would be a good time to go through them and archive my old work, I don't want employers seeing my old designs and thinking that is my standard. My design work has definitely changed a lot since I started.


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badRobot
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22 Sep 2021, 1:23 pm

Probably you already know, but if you send a lot of applications linking to your online portfolio you can setup tracking and A/B test your cover letter and CV with lower stake applications. For like top 5 highest stake applications I would not use standard templates and write offer and CV specifically suited to reflect how you are the perfect match.



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28 Sep 2021, 7:44 am

Looking for jobs to apply for sure can be a wild ride. Sometimes you'll find a position, look at the company reviews and see something along the lines of:

"Hated working here, should've set the place on fire whilst I had the chance. 1 star"

Hey, don't leave me with just that. I'm invested now. :lol:


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IsabellaLinton
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28 Sep 2021, 8:18 am

Congratulations on receiving your degree!!

I don't understand any of the terms you're describing in your CV but they seem highly specialised and you seem to be an extremely talented, dedicated hard worker with a passion for your work. I'm confident that you'll be getting some responses soon. When I first applied to Uni I was told to pick "one school you'll likely never get into, one average one, and one safe bet to fall back on". I applied to more than one for each category and it worked out wonderfully. I hope you're applying for dream jobs as well as safe bets (entry level or related fields), and everything in between.

It's a lot of work but I hope you can use this time to reflect on your many talents, be proud of your achievements, and dream big about what you hope to do. The rest will fall into place, even if it's not the way you think it will.

Best wishes and congrats again!



Lost_dragon
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28 Sep 2021, 10:14 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Congratulations on receiving your degree!!


Thank you. My near fail with my 3d modelling assignment threatening my grade was too close for comfort. Still, I am fortunate that I managed to pull through and receive my 2:1.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I don't understand any of the terms you're describing in your CV but they seem highly specialised and you seem to be an extremely talented, dedicated hard worker with a passion for your work. I'm confident that you'll be getting some responses soon.


Admittedly I've been in such a slump that I am only now just beginning to look for places to apply to. I know I might get questions on the gap, but I needed some time to get my stuff together and reformat it. Nice designs are no good if the proportions don't work on a mobile device. I am finally happy with how my website looks on a desktop computer and a mobile screen, so I believe that I am now ready to start applying to places online. How to present my work was a tricky question and I changed my mind on it a few times, but I think that I am finally happy with the format now. My CV is also ready. I may have to write a cover letter in the future depending on what I apply to.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
When I first applied to Uni I was told to pick "one school you'll likely never get into, one average one, and one safe bet to fall back on". I applied to more than one for each category and it worked out wonderfully. I hope you're applying for dream jobs as well as safe bets (entry level or related fields), and everything in between.


I have to wonder sometimes whether entry level truly exists. The amount of jobs labelled entry, beginner or junior that ask for five to ten years of experience is annoying. Usually you're better looking at the salary listed to know what they're actually expecting. Job listings that have the expected pay as 'dependent on competition' or 'enquire and we'll tell you' annoy me.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
It's a lot of work but I hope you can use this time to reflect on your many talents, be proud of your achievements, and dream big about what you hope to do. The rest will fall into place, even if it's not the way you think it will.

Best wishes and congrats again!


It is easy to feel deterred. Still, I can't give up just yet. After all, I'm only just getting started. There's a lot of nonsense out there, but there's got to be something decent. Hopefully my older sister, who works in graphic design, will have some advice on where to look for work. Our work is a little different, since I predominantly work on designing for screens, whereas she works on designing for physical products, but she may have some ideas.


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IsabellaLinton
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28 Sep 2021, 10:19 am

You don't have a gap at all, in my opinion! Hell, taking a couple months to regroup and create your CV portfolio DURING A PANDEMIC is completely acceptable.

I know people who have years of gap between school and professional employment.

I would still spam everyone you're interested in. Word of mouth gets around.

Can you do freelance work or volunteer for nonprofit groups in the meantime? Or is that all too much work when you're job searching for more?



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29 Sep 2021, 5:05 am

I hope I don't get asked for references from a business I did freelance work for in the past. They don't like me. I had to extent the original deadline, because rather annoyingly once the project was nearing completion they decided to ask me to quickly add on a feature that was not mentioned in their original brief and I informed them that the feature would take an additional month, which they agreed to, but then got angry when it took that additional month.

Then, once the project was complete, they attempted a runner and I had to track them down to get them to pay me (we had agreed on a commission from the start). So good luck getting a reference from them. :lol: Hopefully since it was freelance and not an official term of employment, employers won't check up on that.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
You don't have a gap at all, in my opinion! Hell, taking a couple months to regroup and create your CV portfolio DURING A PANDEMIC is completely acceptable.

I know people who have years of gap between school and professional employment.

I would still spam everyone you're interested in. Word of mouth gets around.

Can you do freelance work or volunteer for nonprofit groups in the meantime? Or is that all too much work when you're job searching for more?


I would be open to more freelance work (I've learnt from last time - I'd have to put some safeguards in there to make it less likely to be stolen - maybe asking for commission upfront) or volunteering. The volunteer experience that I currently have isn't particularly relevant to the kind of job I'm looking for, but I've decided to include it.


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badRobot
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29 Sep 2021, 5:22 am

Lost_dragon wrote:
I hope I don't get asked for references from a business I did freelance work for in the past. They don't like me. I had to extent the original deadline, because rather annoyingly once the project was nearing completion they decided to ask me to quickly add on a feature that was not mentioned in their original brief and I informed them that the feature would take an additional month, which they agreed to, but then got angry when it took that additional month.

Then, once the project was complete, they attempted a runner and I had to track them down to get them to pay me (we had agreed on a commission from the start). So good luck getting a reference from them. :lol: Hopefully since it was freelance and not an official term of employment, employers won't check up on that.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
You don't have a gap at all, in my opinion! Hell, taking a couple months to regroup and create your CV portfolio DURING A PANDEMIC is completely acceptable.

I know people who have years of gap between school and professional employment.

I would still spam everyone you're interested in. Word of mouth gets around.

Can you do freelance work or volunteer for nonprofit groups in the meantime? Or is that all too much work when you're job searching for more?


I would be open to more freelance work (I've learnt from last time - I'd have to put some safeguards in there to make it less likely to be stolen - maybe asking for commission upfront) or volunteering. The volunteer experience that I currently have isn't particularly relevant to the kind of job I'm looking for, but I've decided to include it.


Are there any huge benefits of having a job compared to freelance in the UK? In the US health insurance, social benefits, matching 401k payments, credit score and stuff make it almost mandatory for some people to be employed if they don't hit certain threshold of income to work independently. Maybe in the UK it might make sense to start working as your own legal entity from the start?

BTW, you can use some platform that offers escrow protection for freelancers as safety measure. They will charge some interest, but it will make it harder for any party to screw the other over.