7 Common Aspiring Graphic Designer Career Goals You May Set

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Graphic designers combine their artistic creativity and expertise in physical or digital art tools to design professional visual content for a brand's marketing or corporate collaterals. Aspiring graphic designers interested in advancing their careers in this role can consider setting career goals to provide some direction for their career trajectory. Learning about the career goals of aspiring graphic designers is useful in helping you with your career progression. In this article, we explore seven different career goals for aspiring graphic designers to achieve and share ways to include your career goals on your resume with examples.

Related: How to Make a Career Plan and Set Career Goals (With Benefits)

Common aspiring graphic designer career goals

Reviewing common aspiring graphic designer career goals can inspire you to set your own goals and objectives. You can use these to plan what you can do next, thereby allowing you to gain more experience and reach milestones in this role. This can keep you motivated and provide clarity for your future. Here are seven career goals that aspiring graphic designers can set for themselves throughout their careers:

1. Develop design skills

Having a variety of design skills is important for new graphic designers because it can help you complete different types of projects. You can develop your technical design skills by earning a diploma or degree in graphic design or other related courses. These educational programmes can introduce you to the basics of graphic design, preparing you with fundamental theories and skills. This may include basic computer skills, digital illustration, marketing and branding, typography and website design. After completing your studies, you can further enhance your skill set by attending online courses or seminars.

Some useful technical skills for aspiring graphic designers to possess include:

  • digital illustration software

  • photography and videography, including editing tools

  • branding

  • typography

  • website design

  • UI and UX design

  • 3D animation and graphics

  • print design

2. Gain soft skills in the workplace

Apart from having technical skills, graphic designers also require specific soft skills at work. This is useful in helping them communicate and collaborate smoothly with clients to maintain relationships and create better quality designs. Here are some valuable soft skills that aspiring graphic designers can have:

Observation

A graphic designer's keen eye for details is a beneficial trait that can help them throughout their career. Good observation skills help them notice small but impactful details in their artwork, greatly improving their ideas and bringing about better results. Pointing out these overlooked details in client discussions also shows them that you're actively listening and coming up with better ways to reach their objectives. As a result, you may leave them with a good impression of you.

Communication

Possessing strong communication skills is essential for graphic designers. It helps you hold fruitful discussions with clients or convey important deliverables and guidelines to other team members, improving work productivity and effectiveness. This also involves having active listening skills to understand your clients' or team members' concerns.

Time management

A graphic designer may handle multiple design projects simultaneously, especially with several clients to manage. Thus, good time management is necessary to complete all your tasks efficiently within stipulated deadlines. It's important you learn how to prioritise tasks and find ways to complete tasks on time without compromising on quality.

3. Create a design portfolio

Possessing a design portfolio is ideal as it allows you to present your artwork to future employers or clients professionally. Even without proper work experience, you can build a design portfolio. Start with more outstanding artwork from school or pet projects that showcase your creativity or expertise with certain design software. You can also offer complimentary design services to family or friends, such as entrepreneurs who need help with initial branding concepts or local charities who may require some print collaterals.

It's recommended to include a larger variety of designs in your portfolio. This helps to highlight your diverse design capabilities, which can increase your chances of employment, especially for a fresh design graduate. Testimonials also add value to your portfolio. Whether you've completed projects for family members, friends or organisations, try asking them to share feedback about your design services and include these testimonials in your portfolio. It gives credibility to your abilities and assures employers or clients about your work ethics.

Related: How to Write a Testimonial: Steps, Tips and Examples

4. Build professional connections

Establishing connections with other industry professionals is an essential aspect of your career as a graphic designer. When meeting with various graphic designers, they can potentially share ideas or new working opportunities with you. You may also get to meet mentors or seniors who can inspire you and expand your graphic design knowledge. Create your professional network by participating in events, joining associations or connecting with professionals on social media platforms.

The first step to introducing yourself or starting a conversation with someone new can be challenging at times. Consider reviewing your goals and objectives to help you stay motivated at networking events. You can also practise introducing yourself with someone trustworthy to provide you with proper feedback on your communication skills.

Related: Why Is Networking Important and How to Start Networking

5. Keep up with industry trends and news

Marketing and design trends can change over time. For aspiring graphic designers, it's important to stay updated on the latest industry news or trends. This can help you learn about new technologies and tools, design practices or design aesthetics. You can stay updated by reading blogs, news articles or books. You may also follow your favourite designers on social media to learn about their latest work. Attending industry events, classes or talks related to graphic design can allow you to update your graphic design skills and knowledge.

6. Accumulate work experience

After completing your studies in graphic design and building a foundation of skills and knowledge, it's time to embark on your career as a graphic designer. Internships are an excellent way to start your journey as you can gain proper guidance and advice on your work from professional graphic designers. You can secure internships through job search portals or during your diploma or degree course if the school provides them.

You can also consider beginning your career as a freelance graphic designer if finding internships are challenging. Source for clients through mutual connections or at a local non-profit organisation that may need help with graphic design. Look through other similar freelancers' work and view their prices to ensure you are selling your services at market rates. From there, you can build your design portfolio and establish more industry connections to help you find better employment opportunities in the future.

Related: What Is Freelancing? With Advantages, Disadvantages and Tips

7. Manage a team

The following career aspiration for graphic designers can be a senior or managerial position where they're required to head a team of design professionals. This can range from print design to web design, branding, marketing, photography and videography personnel. As the company grows and scales its operations, the design or marketing department may need a manager to handle different team members and organise their respective tasks. This is a good step up in your career as you can lead projects and delegate responsibilities to team members, which further builds your creativity and communication abilities.

Graphic designer goals on a resume

Incorporating career goals into your resume is beneficial as it shows potential employers a concise summary of your current capabilities and what you're hoping to achieve. Here are two examples of how you can include your career objectives into your resume:

Example 1

Here's an example showing an entry-level graphic designer who just graduated:

Passionate degree-holder graduate in graphic design, actively seeking an entry-level graphic designer role to utilise my creativity and strong understanding of the latest design trends to contribute excellent, relevant visual designs that can capture people's interests. Experienced in graphic design software, UI and UX design concepts and working with clients to deliver contemporary ideas that follow brand guidelines.

Example 2

This example shows someone who has a little more experience, looking to move into a full-time role:

Highly-motivated graphic designer with several years of freelance experience in the industry, looking to contribute high-quality graphic design visuals and concepts in a full-time graphic design position. Equipped with expertise in digital illustration, visual editing, web design, basic HTML and CSS and branding principles. Self-reliant and strong team player who can work independently and in a team.

The models shown are for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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