Unlock Your Dream Design Job: A Guide to Connecticut and Beyond (Part 2)

Picking up where we left off in Part 1, let’s delve deeper into tactics for showcasing your talent and elevating your brand visibility.


Promote Your Work

Build or update your portfolio website and share design work on 3-5 platforms like Behance, Dribbble, and Instagram to stay relevant. You should also consider attending design conferences, participating in community projects, or volunteering at design organizations. AIGA even offers an annual Make-A-Thon that helps nonprofits while providing great exposure.

Photo of AIGA Connecticut's 2023 Make-A-Thon, a 12-hour annual design marathon where creatives across Connecticut team up to design pro bono marketing materials for local nonprofits.

Curate Your Branding

Intentionally crafting a consistent and compelling image that showcases your unique skills, values, and personality. Ready to personalize your portfolio? Check out AIGA’s Portfolio Development Studio resources!

Network Actively

Attend 2-3 design conferences and 1-2 local meetups annually, such as ones hosted by AIGA CT, and connect with designers on social media. Share insights, participate in relevant conversations, and build meaningful connections.

Leverage LinkedIn

It’s essential to optimize your LinkedIn profile with relevant keywords, showcase skills and achievements, and actively engage with design communities and groups.

Perform Salary Research and Negotiate

Research salaries for your type of design, level of experience, and location on sites like Salary.com, Glassdoor, and more. You can gather excellent negotiation strategies from resources such as AIGA’s “Salary Negotiation for Creative Professionals” workshop. Also, remember, negotiation isn’t just about salary. Consider asking for additional benefits that align with your needs such as remote work options.

Develop Soft Skills

Try strengthening the following three soft skills:

  • Communication: Work on active listening by asking clarifying questions and focusing on understanding different perspectives. This will build trust and ensure your designs are on target.
  • Collaboration: Embrace diverse perspectives. Actively seek input from colleagues and clients, even if it challenges your initial ideas. This fosters creativity and leads to stronger, more inclusive designs. Learning how to deal with conflict resolution is also crucial for effective teamwork.
  • Adaptability: Become a lifelong learner. Stay ahead of trends by attending industry events, taking online courses, and experimenting with new tools. This ensures your skills remain relevant and keeps your design journey exciting. It is very important to stay open to new ideas and approaches.

Never Stop Learning

Trends and technologies change quickly and being flexible is essential. For example, the demand for designers with skills in artificial intelligence and user experience is rapidly increasing so it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and acquire skills in these growing areas. There are great design courses offered online at LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Alison, and more.

In this journey of discovery, being a designer requires strength, resilience, and a whole lot of heart. Embrace challenges as room for growth, see setbacks as learning opportunities, and continuously hone your skills to find your way to the perfect design role.

Finally, locate your local AIGA chapter at https://my.aiga.org/chapter-directory. Connect with them to unlock a treasure trove of resources, including job boards, mentorships, portfolio workshops, and design competitions, all designed to propel your design journey. Follow AIGA CT on Instagram (@AIGACT) as well for design inspiration.

By Amanda Southworth
Published January 4, 2024