A personal network is your best resource. Do you know anyone who has the
kind of job you want? If they are secure in their position, they might tell you what
people at their firm say about the portfolios that get passed around. Creative profes-
sionals in related areas can be excellent contacts because they talk to the same people
you want to—but about different work. They might give you a contact name in the
organization who would be willing to look at your current material and give you
direct feedback on it. (See Chapter 13, “Presenting
Your Portfolio.”) Other surprisingly good contacts are
representatives of supplier companies, such as printers.
They can often tell you who in your city is busy and
might be ready to hire new talent.
If there is a professional association in your
field, join it. Most large national associations, like the
AIGA and the IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of
America) have regional chapters with contact information listed on the associations'
main websites. (You'll find a list of professional associations and their websites in
Appendix A.) Very active chapters will have their own websites, brimming with useful
information about the local scene. Go to the meetings, and take advantage of any
career events they sponsor. If you are new to your profession, volunteer your time,
particularly for events and projects that will give you the opportunity to work with
You really can't underestimate
the value of personal connections
and networking. This has been
the case since the age of the
caveman in every industry.
The Society for Environ-
mental Graphic Design is
only one of many profes-
sional societies that offer
Each active local chapter
should offer special meet-
and-greet events, ranging
from workshops and
seminars to cocktail parties.
Larger chapters may offer
lectures, special events, and
local job listings.