Landing a job as a graphic designer can be challenging. It was rough for me in the beginning and at times I didn’t think I would be successful in my career choice. However I was determined to do well at every job and to work my way towards something better.

I’m writing this post because I think graphic design students need to be prepared for what a job in graphic design means. In college they don’t explain about all the production and direction that comes with a job in graphic design.

I’ve worked in both agency and corporate environments. I also did freelancing full time for a short period. I think this advice applies to any first time design job.

If you want to be successful as a designer here is my advice.

1. Be confident in starting at the bottom – Everyone needs to start somewhere. The designers that you will be working with have probably worked very hard to get where they are at. Remember that they once did everything that you will be required to do. Work hard and you will gradually work your way to the top.

2. Learn as much as you can – Learn from the other designers in your department. Even if you are not working on the same projects you can still engage in conversations regarding other employees work. Ask to sit in on brainstorming sessions, critiques and meetings.

3. Accept that you are going to be doing production work – Most graphic designers do a lot of production work. As an entry level designer you should assume that most of your time will be spent doing production.

4. Be accurate – Good designers not only design well but they spell check and proof their own work. The less errors you make the better your work will look to your team.

5. Help out – If you finish your work and have nothing to do, don’t just sit there. Offer help to your creative team members. It’s not only a nice gesture but it will allow you to possibly work on a project that is fun and creative.

6. Make your client happy – This is important. You can give advice to your client and show them creative concepts but if they ask for changes then you need to make changes. You probably won’t always agree with the clients requests but in the end your client is the one that needs to be happy.

7. Learn something new – You want to seem interested in your career. Learn something new and then educate your team members on the subject. This can ad value to your role.

8. Do Freelance work – When you have extra time, do freelance work. This gives you experience dealing with clients, meeting deadlines, managing your time and staying creative.

9. Listen – The designers with experience are probably willing to help you. Take their advice and listen. Of course you should voice your opinion but make sure to take their comments seriously.