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A year into my first design role

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Being part of the Brandpie team has been both gratifying and a huge learning curve. Starting your first graduate job undoubtedly is both an exciting and overwhelming experience. Working with creatives from multiple disciplinary areas has broadened my design thinking and improved my confidence. And of course, we have the current climate where we are adjusting to a “new” world and an unusual way of working.

With that in mind I thought it would be good to share my advice to those just starting out in their first job.

Get involved in a variety of projects

Since graduating with a degree in Product Design I was keen to explore other disciplines that build on the fundamentals of a design education. To date I have been involved in a range of projects from art direction to brand identity and even though I am not officially trained in these areas, this experience has been valuable.

The result of being exposed to such projects has enabled me to mature and finesse my skillset which is pushing me closer to achieving my career goal of ultimately becoming a Senior Designer/Creative Director. I would be lying if I didn’t say that some areas of the project were challenging, but I strongly believe that it is good to push yourself out of your comfort zone as this enables you to grow further.

Have confidence

It took me a long time to realise this. It can be the most intimidating experience to put forward your own ideas to senior team members; during the first month I would often shut down my own ideas before showcasing them. What I subsequently learned is that it's all about changing your mentality and not being too hard on yourself.

Speak up and voice your thoughts - they are welcomed and valued by senior team members. Positive self-reflection is good to do from time to time, so remind and praise yourself on what you have achieved and how far you have come. Too often we lose sight of that!

Remember to chat with your peers and ask about their experiences. Doing this was hugely beneficial to me, and it was also reassuring to see that everyone goes through this phase.

Show a willingness to learn and progress

The most important piece of advice I can give.

We creatives are always learning no matter at what career stage. I am constantly seeking to learn and progress, and it’s definitely a desired industry trait that can open up further opportunities. COVID-19 should not prevent this from happening, in fact it should give you more drive to succeed further.

It’s worth having in mind career goals you seek to achieve whilst being at the company and often questioning yourself "where do you see yourself in 2-3 years’ time?"

Brandpie pride themselves in actively practising their values of Scare Yourself, Step Up and One Pie. My first “step up” and “scare yourself” moments were when I volunteered to do a company presentation. Taking the initiative and opportunity to practice your companies’ values is a great way to further understand the business and what they represent.

The ongoing pandemic has changed the job market significantly. Too quickly we’ve had to adapt to this. It’s levelling. We all learn and progress from trial and error, success and failure - we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes. Your colleagues don’t expect you to be perfect, so take the opportunity to learn from them and adapt. Above all, have fun! That is how you're going to make the best out of your first work experiences.

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