January 29, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Hannah Park: The pandemic has been impacting the design industry in a wide range of ways. Some areas of visual communication design may have even more limited job opportunities than others due to the pandemic. I tell my students that the job market doesn't work like Olympics as there isn't a silver medal. I suggest making customized application materials for several companies rather than using the same materials to apply to 100 different companies. Applicants should prove why they will be good fits for the particular companies.
Hannah Park: I recommend design courses that involve real design opportunities with real clients because then the students can also build their professional design experience while learning design skills. Also, design research classes will help students to:
1.Make evidence-based design decisions.
2.Strengthen people-centered design skills.
3.Present their design process better.
Hannah Park: I can't empathize with the importance of soft skills enough. Especially for entry-level positions, soft skills can sometimes be more significant than design skills. Team working has been an important soft skills than ever for designers. I understand many students prefer to work individually. However, one can't say 'I have excellent teamwork skills' without having enough team-based design portfolio. Besides, mindfulness is also such a great soft skill that I would like to promote. Be mindful of yourself, your colleagues, and your users. :)