Junior and Grads. Hints and Tips.

Junior and Grads. Hints and Tips.

We know how hard it is to secure your first design job in the industry after Uni – so you’re not alone in that. There are approximately 1000 design grads every year and not enough positions for everyone.

At least not at all the same agencies.

You’re a talented fish, in a pool teeming with other talented fish!

At Portfolio we only get very occasional opportunities for entry-level/graduates, but they do come up from time to time. In this situation, we would always advertise a role as Junior or Graduate opportunity and it would be fine to apply for these. 

We regularly get requests for help and advice on CVs and portfolios. Unfortunately, we don’t offer that service – we simply don’t have the time.

However, we do want to help and make sure you are ‘putting your best foot forward.’

Here are a few hints to help you in your search for your first design job after graduation:


Get involved in the Design Community. Do it while you’re studying. Join up with Design AssemblyDesigners Institute events etc. Start creating connections.

Create a CV and Portfolio.

Design a website using Squarespace or similar platforms to show your work. In that portfolio/website make it clear what is student work and if there are group assignments it’s also a good idea to acknowledge those you worked with.

Put thought into your CV. Research. Use Google to find CV designs (but don’t copy them). You can find samples of CVs on our website here too.

Create a basic brand for yourself and run it through your CV and portfolio. Don’t go overboard. Remember, simple is often best.

Look at the Best Awards sites, and studios you admire for inspiration. Remember, if you aspire to work for them, your portfolio needs to show that.


Put thought into each application you send.

Don’t copy and paste. Research each place you send your work to. Find out who the best person or people are to contact.

Here are some extra tips on applying for jobs.

Don’t forget, most CDs etc. see many applications every day…what is going to make yours any different.

Don’t just apply to the most popular agencies. Everyone wants to work for the amazing team at Alt Group for example. They get hundreds and hundreds of emails every week. So again, research. There are so many neat studios in NZ quietly doing amazing work. You just might not have heard of them. Hunt them down, find out who they are.

If you can, get a mentor. Even if it is simply to help put your CV and portfolio together. That is where getting involved in the design community could help. By going to Design Assembly events etc. you’ll meet other designers and creatives who might be able to impart wisdom!

You need to make an effort. You really do. Find a balance. Don’t go over the top but put in an effort and some persistence, to show your strengths and that you’ve been considered with your applications. Jobs won’t fall into your lap without it.

From the team at Portfolio, we wish you every success in your design career and hope to see you at some point in your journey.