Sandstorm Student Center

Sandstorm Design launched the Sandstorm Student Center (SSC) in 2003 for students and working adults interested in learning more about marketing and web design firms and a career in the design industry. A totally free service, we invite you to ask us a question, review FAQs from students, and get advice on landing a job, internship or freelance assignment.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

FAQ: I would like to make a career change to graphic design. What is the best way of doing this?

Making a career change is always a challenge. My best recommendation to start would be to make sure you know the following software programs: Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark (or InDesign - very similar to Quark). These are the basic tools that every graphic designer needs to have in their tool box.

Your next step would be to build a portfolio. A great way to start is to offer to do pro-bono work (which means free) for local charities or non-profits that could really use the help. Most non-profits have tons of print work available such as invitations, brochures, direct mail, etc. In return for your design work, request a few of the final printed samples for your portfolio. This is real world work, and is perfectly acceptable to put in a portfolio. (plus it makes you look good too - for a good cause).

On your resume, I would suggest highlighting skills from your job that could apply to a graphic designer such as project management, time management, multi-tasking abilities, detail oriented, etc.

Lastly, when switching careers, you may have to start at the bottom as a junior designer. This is the hardest part, especially if you have worked for a couple of years and are used to a nice salary. But in the end, if you love what you do, you'll be happier in the long run!

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