I am a graphic designer working in the web services industry. My employer is a small local company offering web hosting and technical support services. I have been working in my current position for a year and a half. Although my primary interest is graphic design, my actual position is web developer.
The projects that I handle requires graphic design skills, PHP programming, and Linux server administration.
My responsibilities also include project management, conducting sales meetings and contacting clients.
Our company targets business owners who need websites, but either do not want to or cannot create them on their own. When they come to us, they get a complete package: a datacenter to host the website in, a web department to design and maintain it, and a technical support team to troubleshoot the problems. In addition to designing a custom website and providing the technical support for it, we educate our clients about basics of website update and maintenance.
- Web Design All-in-One For Dummies
- The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2: More of the Best Themes, Trends and Styles in Website Design
- Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to (X)HTML, StyleSheets, and Web Graphics
I started with an entry-level position that required downloading and installing open-source website software, finding a template that the customer liked, buying and installing it, and doing minor customizations to the client’s specifications.
I made custom graphics that required basic knowledge of Photoshop.
I performed essentially all the web design work.
All the non-programming web design projects were sent to me.
I was the clients’ point of contact and performed their changes mostly without consulting my supervisor, unless it was a critical issue.
Ability to work unsupervised and troubleshoot customers’ problems was one of the qualities the employer was looking at during the hiring process.
I eventually became familiar with the open-source website software that allowed me to make entirely custom websites. I was no longer merely installing a theme but creating it from the ground up. Since I had a tiny bit of hobbyist experience with programming, I also started taking on internal PHP programming projects while waiting for clients to provide me with their content.
Eight months after I was hired, I was promoted to the web developer position. I was appointed a head of the web department soon after that.
I think that I was able to get the initial entry-level position mostly based on the strength of my creative portfolio. Furthermore, I had a very high score on the test designed by the employer as a part of the screening process for the applicants. The test required some knowledge of networking and Linux administration. This was not something listed in the requirements for the position the company was hiring for, but it was considered a big advantage. During my later interviews, I was told that having that extra knowledge set me apart from other capable graphic designers that were in the pool of applicants. I have never received any formal education in those areas. However, Linux, BSD, and webservers were always of interest to me and I spent a lot of time experimenting and learning the ropes on my own. I would say that this was one of those cases when a genuine interest in something paid off.
Since I have not had any web design or graphic design job before, I had little actual web designs to show, namely, two websites, both of which were built on templates designed by other people and neither of which became a live site. However, I did have several dozen graphic design and painting entries in my portfolio. I think my employer felt that if I did well in such a creative field and surpassed the usual candidates in technical things like networking and Linux administration, I would be able to transfer these skills into to a web design sphere.
The search for this job was a long and somewhat gruesome process. I applied to postings at Monster.com, Craigslist, and hiring agencies. I also sent out unsolicited resumes to companies that worked in the area of my interest. The search began early in 2010 and I got the position in October of the same year. During those eight months of applying for jobs, I had one or two rejection notices. For the most part, in about 98% of cases, I never heard back from the places I applied to. The single call for an interview was from a Craigslist posting and it led to my current position. After the initial phone call, I had to take the test and went through interviews with the web department head, networking head, and CEO.
Looking back, I would say that the single most important thing about a job search is persistence. Tedious as it is, not giving up and sending out numerous applications are the key factors in landing a job.
When looking for a job, I found most helpful to keep in mind the following:
1. Have a realistic attitude toward what a resume represents: it is a drop in the bucket. If one does not have a volume-oriented attitude toward the resumes and cover letters sent out, one probably is not going to be successful. After a while, I stopped agonizing over every single application sent out and did not allow absence of any replies to discourage me. At one point, I received a rejection notice and I caught myself thinking: “Awesome, someone replied! I usually get no response at all.
2. To a reasonable extent, ignore the requirements on the job posting. Apply to everything that has some or most of your qualifications included as mandatory requirements. I could have easily talked myself out of applying for the web design job I ended up getting since only 5% of my portfolio applied to web design.
3. Keep applying for no less than five months, maybe even longer. I prepared myself from the very beginning that finding a job in the area of my interest would likely take a long time. This mindset helped me to get through the long time of job search and maintain a positive attitude.
After eight months of looking for a job in the area of graphic design, I finally got a call that led me to my current web developer position in a private company. Persistence in sending out resumes, realistic expectations about how long it might take to get a call back, and certain ruthlessness about applying for less than a perfect match positions paid off.
This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy, where you can find career search advice like the tips included in the following interview with a Web Developer. Visit to find an interview in your desired field today, or tips on how to find your dream job.
Guest Article Submitted By Coral Graszer
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