I’ve recently written a guest-post for David Airey’s blog, entitled ‘On finding design work in a new country‘ (opens in a new window). As the title says, I’ve explained my approach to finding work as a designer in London, after leaving Bucharest two years ago (in September 2010). Here are two excerpts:
When I decided to move from Bucharest to London, I knew I was taking on the world’s best. There are around 46,000 designers in London, so competition is fierce. My first task was to research the “enemy.” A year before moving, I subscribed to Design Week and began to read the Creative Review blog on a daily basis. I was familiar with superstar agencies of Pentagram and Wolff Olins calibre, but I would’ve been naïve to think I could get a job at such companies so soon.
Knowing who’s who, even at lower levels, was a must. The Design Week’s top 100 provided a good start, and relentless reading of other articles and blogs helped me build a list of companies I thought I’d enjoy working with. I wrote emails to more than 200 of them, regardless of whether they had openings or not, each time trying to find who the creative director was and writing a little about their company so the email wouldn’t look like a mass-sent one. The strategy was to ask for an interview, not a job, and as most designers are helpful people, that was harder to refuse. This approach would get me far more than a chance for a job: I’d be meeting the right people, learning about their companies, getting good advice, sometimes even some freelance work.
“Luck plays an important role as well, but just as inspiration has to find you working, luck has to find you looking.”
It’s all about patience, perseverance, and the courage to ask. Luck plays an important role as well, but just as inspiration has to find you working, luck has to find you looking. You still need a good portfolio, of course, but that’s just the starting requisite, as London’s full of good designers. Write and talk to as many people as possible, be helpful and nice and people will remember or even recommend you. And it’s always a pleasure to hear from somebody you’ve just met that they’ve heard good things about you.
A nice photo of me that illustrates the article, taken by the talented Noctvrna.com.
Hope you’ll find my experience of some use, and, if you’re about to do something similar, best of luck!