freelance graphic design

How to Land Your First Freelance Graphic Design Gig

There were 266,300 graphic designer jobs in 2016 with a 4% expected growth by 2026.

Although the job outlook for graphic designers is slower than average, make no mistake, graphic design skills are in demand.

Are you a recent graduate with no experience, and you’re having no luck finding a job? We put together this guide to help you get hired.

Want to learn more? Read on to learn how to get your first freelance graphic design gig.

Think About Your Goals

Before the big job hunt, take some time to think about your goals as a freelance graphic design professional. Do you want to work part-time or full-time? Do you want an in-house position or do you wish to work remotely?

Also, consider what kind of company you want to freelance for. Consider your motivations. Where do you want to see yourself in one year or in five years?

By knowing the answers to these questions, you will be more likely to find the right job for you.

Make a Portfolio

Even if you don’t have much experience, you have to create a portfolio to show your skills to potential employers. Include only your best work and be ready to talk about your pieces.

Include different types of work to show your different skillset. Remember that people will usually recall the first or last items in a series, so you might want to include your valuable pieces first and last.

Create a Resume

Your resume should include your relevant experience and up to date contact information including your address, email and phone number.

You’ll also want to list your education, objectives, and skills. If you lack experience, you might want to take unpaid internships to help you get real-life design experience. You can also try volunteering your graphic design skills to local businesses.

Your resume will also be a great opportunity to show off your design skills.

Prepare a List of Companies

Once you got your portfolio and resume ready, it’s time to do some research. Create a list of companies you want to freelance for.

Be realistic with your list. However, you want to do some research on each company and make sure that you can see yourself working there.

Find out how much they pay freelancers. Read reviews from people who worked there.

Send Out Your Resume and Cover Letter

Now the hard part.

Send your resume and a personalized cover letter to each company on your list. In your cover letter, introduce yourself and professionally sell yourself and your skills. Tell prospects you’re interested in a job.

You should also find jobs you’re interested in and apply with your resume and cover letter.

If you’re serious and willing to put in the extra work, you can try this route. Find a company that you would love to work for and that has a website that needs to be redesigned.

Find the right contact and send them a redesigned sample of their website. You can also include key points and tips for what they can do to update their site and tell them how you can make those updates.

They may tell you they’re not hiring at this time. Or, they may just offer you a job. The key here is to stand out as an applicant and show that you’re serious about the job.

Follow Up

Many business professionals receive a ton of email and messages every day. Don’t give up if you haven’t heard back from anyone.

What you should do, however, is politely follow up. Many times they didn’t open or read the email and it got lost in the inbox shuffle.

You might have to follow up more than once. However, if you receive a “not interested” email, move on to the next prospect.

Get the Interview

You got the interview. You’re almost there! However, you need to do a little more prep work to ace the interview.

The competition for freelance graphic design jobs is tough, so the interview is your shot to set yourself apart and persuade the interviewer to hire you.

You want to be confident, and you want to be able to talk about yourself as a graphic designer.

Be prepared to talk about any challenges you had in your work and how you overcame them. You should also be prepared to talk about your strengths and weaknesses. What areas do you need to work on or improve?

You also want to be able to talk about your design process. How do you approach a big project and what resources do you need? How do you communicate to the company your timeline and status updates?

However, you don’t want to be talking about yourself the whole interview.

You should research the company and ask questions about them and about the job. You want to show the interviewer that you’re the right fit for their company.

Before the actual interview, you can do practice interviews with a family member or a friend. This will help you practice speaking confidently about your work and answering questions with ease.

After you do the interview, send a follow-up email and thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.

Get the Job

When you finally get a graphic design job offer, you might want to say yes right away.

However, take some time to read through the offer letter and contract and make sure you’re satisfied with the rate you’re offered.

Getting a Freelance Graphic Design Job: Final Thoughts

Finding your first freelance graphic design job isn’t easy. However, by putting together your resume and portfolio and putting yourself out there, you have already done most of the battle.

Be sure to always be polite and professional in your search. And don’t feel discouraged if it takes longer than you expect to get a job.

Once you’re hired, all that hard work will pay off.

Want some more tips and advice on graphic design? Read our graphic design blog.