Lulu Raghavan
Lulu Raghavan

Be Prepared for Your First Design Job

There are few things in one's career as exciting and full of promise as the first day on the first design job. Yet, if you don't prepare for this wonderful opportunity, you may miss the chance to make the best possible first impression and set yourself up for success. One of my favourite bosses loved quoting Benjamin Franklin: "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail"!

So how can you be so well prepared for your first design job?

1. Research Thoroughly on The Company You are Joining

How well do you know the agency or company that you will be joining? Have you devoured every piece of information in the public domain that you can find on the company? What is the company's history and track record? What are they really proud of? What's the vision for their industry?

Have you tried reaching out to people who have worked there or are still working there to understand the culture? Check on Do you know what it will take to succeed at this company? All of this information will help you connect emotionally with your new colleagues and also fit in to the culture.

2. Clarity of Your Role

Were you so excited to accept the offer that you didn't really pay much attention to the role? Will you be just another cog in the wheel or are they going to be assigning you lots of responsibilities? Who will you be reporting to? Is this person just a few years senior to you or is there a big gap in experience? What does the company expect you to do? How will your effectiveness and performance be measured?

How will you be rewarded? Having clarity on your role and what it will take to succeed at the company will ensure that your efforts and hard work are channeled in the right places. Even if you don't have these questions answered before you join, try to get these answers on the first day or first week.

3. Refresh Your Skills

If you've done the homework on the company and role clarity, you will know exactly what hard and soft skills you may need to brush up on. Spend time before your first design job mastering the basic software tools you will be using. Practice both your written and oral communication skills.

Flex your creative muscle and warm it up by solving some online creative thinking exercises. Take a class on or LinkedIn Learning. Watch some motivational speeches by Steve Jobs, Robin Sharma or Tony Robbins. Read up as much as you can on being a team player. It's no long just about you. Your success will largely depend on how well you get along with others.

4. Reset your Mindset

The biggest gift you can give yourself before your first day on the job is to cultivate a growth mindset and a passionate can-do attitude. Attitude trumps everything else in the workplace – the right one can take you farther than you ever imagined possible.

Make sure you get eight hours of sleep every night, eat healthy, exercise regularly, meditate every day to clean your mind and wake up in the morning with a burning desire to get on with your day's work. Some days will be fabulous, and others will make you way to cry and perhaps even quit.

It's important to solider on despite the difficulties. I love these words by Carol Dweck: "Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning"

Creative Gaga