We always love talking to our amazing candidates about all the incredible things they're currently up to and sharing them with you via our A-List series, but lately we thought it might also be super interesting to talk to established creative and digital talent about the journeys they took in their careers to get to where they are now.
With that in mind, we're thrilled to be joined by Ha, a talented graphic designer from Melbourne, who has very generously answered some of our queries about how he got started in the business.
How did you first get experience when you started out in the industry?
I completed my University degree and started applying for graduates to junior roles. My portfolio at the time was what got me interviews, so a great portfolio is definitely needed. However even though I got to the interview, my lack of experience pretty much didn’t allow me to get a job straight away. I then reassess my situation and focus on trying to gain experience and networking with other creatives. My first gig was interning at a small boutique studio in Collingwood and then spent the year interning and freelancing for small studios. After gaining experience I then started applying for roles and luckily got a junior position at Spotlight Retail Group.
Who helped you, and how?
I would say persistence is key and networking. I luckily knew someone from university that worked at Spotlight Retail Group and she sent my resume and portfolio to the Creative Director.
If you could go back in time and have a chat to the younger you getting started in your career, what would be your advice to yourself?
My advice would be to definitely network earlier and try to get experience during your 1st to 2nd year of university. As it would be help you understand a studio environment and get industry experience.
What mistakes do you think you made along the way?
I made a lot of mistakes as most juniors do such as typo, proofing, over thinking simple jobs such flyers and posters. It is best if you in a environment which allows you to learn, make mistakes & get mentored.
What resources could you recommend?
I am not sure about best resources. I can only recommend is always try to get better and improving your portfolio, meet many other creatives and collaborate.
Are you specialised?
I originally started wanted to be a branding specialist. However after interning and doing it, I didn’t enjoy it as much and started to go more art direction and campaign creative.
How did you find your specialization?
I think its all experimental, you just gotta do it and see if it works or not. I just happen to enjoy layout design and met other creative directors which lead to art direction and campaign creative.
Did you intentionally start out down the path to this specialisation?
Not really, I never intended to be a specialist in that area at all. I just enjoy being creative and learning new skills that can enhance my creative workflow. I was just given opportunities and I took it.
Did you have to start from scratch?
I definitely started from scratch, I was just fortunate to meet creative director that allow to learn and mentor me.
Have you ever applied for a job and been declined because of your experience?
All the time, graphic design is so broad. There are times I apply for jobs where I been decline the job due to missing certain experience and skills, such as Web developing skills like html coding etc.
What was the reason given?
Lack of experience and missing certain skills required for the role.
How did you deal with this?
At the time, I called up the studio to ask for feedback for why I didn’t get an interview or job role. Most of the time they won’t bother but sometimes you will get a response. It is fundamentally good as a junior to ask for feedback as it will help your growth to becoming a better creative and designer.
Thanks so much to the excellent Ha for taking time out of his busy schedule to share with us some insights into his early years in the design industry!