Starting Your Graphic Design Career in Birmingham

So, you’ve decided that graphic design is the right choice of career for you, and Birmingham is your choice of destination to find the job of your dreams. The good news is that you’re in the right place – this city is certainly starting to be more and more up-and-coming when it comes to new businesses, and with plenty of initiatives in place, an increasing number of tech entrepreneurs are setting up shop in Birmingham. Graphic design is just one of the many skills that is growing in demand amongst Birmingham’s new, modern tech companies.

But like with any competitive industry, landing a strong, well-paying and satisfying career as a graphic designer is going to take some work – particularly down to the fact that Birmingham not only has its own range of talented graduates and professionals, but is also in commutable distance from other major cities including London. As an aspiring graphic designer, what can you do to land your perfect job in Birmingham?

Discover and Search the Hidden Job Market

The hidden job market comprises of new job opportunities that are not posted online by hiring managers; you will not find these on your regular job sites like Indeed or Monster. The best way to find new openings is to connect with your network, so start off by becoming more active on LinkedIn and fostering new connections – which could potentially lead to career opportunities in graphic design. And, don’t stop there – if you’ve worked in the industry before or worked for companies that employ graphic designers, then it might be worth meeting up with past colleagues regularly to see if they know of anything that might be interesting to you. Don’t depend on job openings being posted online; being proactive and connecting with successful professionals in the industry will offer you a chance to get hired directly.

Improve Your Own Achievements and Qualifications

Perhaps you’re struggling to find the career of your dreams in graphic design because there’s always somebody more qualified for the job. And while it might be impossible to ensure that this is never the case, actively showing that you are working on improving your skills and dedicated to becoming a better graphic designer will certainly improve your chances of getting noticed. The good news is that there are so many different options these days for boosting your CV – you can find both classroom-based and online graphic design courses with resources like, for example, that allow you to build on what you already know. Or, if you are looking for a career change into graphic design, they can provide you with a good first step into the industry before moving on to get a degree in the subject.

Write a Stand-out CV:

Typically, a graphic designer will add technical skills to their CV, as this is usually expected from the HR department or hiring manager for the job you will be applying for. However, there are many ways that you can make your CV stand out from the competition. Along with listing your technical skills, you might even want to consider demonstrating them by providing a well-designed, graphical CV that’s going to stand out from the crowd immediately. And, it’s always worth adding personal skills that are going to set you apart from the competition – after all, most graphic designers will possess the same technical skills as yourself.

Get Experience as a Freelancer

If you are struggling to find a career opening as a graphic designer in Birmingham, then a good way to get your foot in the industry is to start freelancing. This is a great option when it comes to gaining valuable work experience that you can add to your portfolio and resume, helping you get noticed in the future when applying for employment. And, another great benefit of working as a freelancer is that conducting freelance work for businesses can often lead to a contract of full-time employment if the client is impressed with your work. The best way to find freelancing gigs is to search online; set up profiles on sites like Bark or Upwork and send enquiries to companies of interest. Use a professional design portfolio to show them samples of your work. Once you’ve landed a freelance gig that you enjoy, there are several ways of boosting your chance of turning it into a full-time job – ask outright if you can discuss further opportunities with the company, or look for remote working opportunities.

Create an Online Portfolio

The more active you are when it comes to sharing your work online, the easier it will be for company owners to take notice of your work and offer you a position at their company if they like what they see. It may be worth creating a simple online portfolio to show samples of your work; you can easily do this with a simple website building tool like Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress. In addition, having an online portfolio makes it easier for you to direct potential employers there when they ask to see examples of your past work.

And, get active professionally on social media, too – up your LinkedIn and Twitter activity as this is a great way to put yourself directly in front of recruiting managers to be discovered by them. And, join graphic design forums and social groups to keep your eye on opportunities in the industry and create strong connections with graphic design professionals.

Consider an Internship

If you are currently studying graphic design or have just gained a qualification in it, then it might be worth considering an internship. Not only will you be helping the local community by using your talent, but also gaining valuable work experience as a graphic designer will help you in the future, whether you decide to set up as a freelancer or apply for full-time employment. The downside to this is that in most cases, financial compensation will not be offered – or be quite low – but on the up side, you will be able to put that experience to use when it comes to finding a well-paying future career.

Commit to Continuous Improvement

Finally, bear in mind that career growth, particularly in a field that’s often subject to constant change and different trends such as graphic design, means that you will need to be consistently and continuously committed to your skill and talent improvement. As a graphic designer or somebody who is interested in graphic design, you’re probably all too aware that what is modern and works today might be unheard of in just a few years’ time, therefore it’s important that you are able to demonstrate your ability to keep up to date with various graphic design trends and commit yourself to understanding your strengths and weaknesses so that you know what to work on at any given time.

One of the best ways to do this is to find a mentor – this could be an employer, a graduate if you are a student, or somebody from your online network. Anybody who has had more experience in the graphic design industry than yourself can provide you with mentorship and advice when it comes to building your career.

Good luck with your career plan!