We receive a lot of emails from students. Emails are easily ignorable. Ignorable emails create rejection, and that’s no fun. So how can you avoid being ignored? By being different. We’re not going to tell you how to be different, but we will tell you how students and young designers have gained our attention in the past…
When the studio was 2 years old, we decided to grow the team, and so advertised for a junior designer. We were expecting some creative applications, as that’s how we asked people to apply. We received some great stuff, but the one that stood out a mile was by a guy named Luke. He began with an email, with some clear instructions. It told us to be in our office on Friday at midday as we were expecting a delivery. In his words “lunch is on me”.
Friday came around and at midday we had a delivery. 2 burgers, 2 fries, 2 beers, and a CV cleverly designed as the meal receipt. Everything was contained in a brown paper bag with some quirky hand-lettering. The CV was conversational and funny. A highlight was a Spotify playlist he’d curated called ‘Three is the magic number’ with the URL of bit.ly/hireluke which apparently was purely coincidental. The music was stuff we liked, that we’d tweeted about or shared, and we’ve always been vocal about liking burgers and beer. He’d done his research and executed his idea perfectly. We got him straight in for an interview and hired him within the week. During the interview he showed us sketches of other ideas he’d had to apply for the job, which were all good and inventive. We specifically asked for a creative application, and Luke surpassed our expectations. Imagine the reaction of going the extra mile if a studio is just expecting a portfolio…
Luke’s burger bribery is all well and good, but we were actively looking for a designer. It can still work even if a studio isn’t looking to hire. Years ago, we were just about to leave the office to talk at an event on creativity. The buzzer went, it was a young woman called Beth who came clutching 2 knitted pigeons. She explained she loved our work and wanted to work with us, and had scoured our site for how she could grab our attention. At that point, we had some rather shite copy on our contact page about sending us mail by carrier pigeon. She took this and decided to knit 2 pigeons. The only problem was she couldn’t knit. So she taught herself. SHE TAUGHT HERSELF TO KNIT. FOR US! To knit 2 pigeons for 2 strangers to try and get a job. Madness.
Now just showing up at a studio uninvited can be very hit or miss, depending on their schedule. On this occasion we had a spare 5 minutes, and then we arranged to have a proper chat later in the week. Beth did a few weeks placement, and then we took her on for a few months as a freelancer. The knitted pigeons still sit on our bookcase.
Over the years we’ve had loads of other interesting attempts to land a job here. Some of our favourites are:
Equally, we’ve had some slightly strange stuff:
Remember this is about standing out. We regularly get postcard sets, magazine and posters of students portfolios in the post, but that’s pretty safe. This tactic is about being specific to a studio you really want to get in front of, not blanket emailing every studio in a 10 mile radius. Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone - it’s where the most interesting ideas are.