Your first employer matters: Insights from a junior designer
By Katie Wagner
November 5, 2019
Everyone says when you graduate from college and get your first job in your field, you’ve made it—all the years of studying were worth it. What no one tells you is that the company you begin your career with matters.
I’ve had a lot of jobs. In high school, I interned as a writer at a newspaper. During college, I worked at an ice cream stand, a jewelry store, and as a member of video and design teams on campus. At certain points, I worked two part-time jobs while studying full-time. I was also an executive board member of the media and design club on campus. All this experience helped me understand what I wanted from my first full-time employer in the design field.
Employment isn't the end of your knowledge journey
As graduation approached, I jumped into my job search. I knew I wanted something steady and consistent. I also wanted to keep learning new skills. As a graphic design major, I wanted to start my career where I could learn the things I didn’t learn in college and keep current with the latest technology.
I sent out many résumés and went to many interviews, but I didn’t feel like any of the companies were somewhere I could see myself for the long term. Then I found MarketReach. From the first interview, I felt it was a place where I’d be taught everything I would need to be successful. It was a company I could picture working for.
Use the right tools, ask the right questions
On my first day, they gave me everything I needed to learn. My monitor and laptop—loaded with the newest design software—were set up and ready to go. I was given all the office supplies I could possibly need and more. I had meetings with members of the team, and I was introduced to everyone in the office individually.
During the first few weeks, I was mentored by senior graphic designers and encouraged to take notes and ask questions. I was given practice projects to understand the internal processes instead of being overwhelmed with due dates.
Never stop learning
Even now, six months into the job, I am still encouraged to ask questions and still given advice by my teammates on how to make projects the best they can be. While I still have lots to learn, I’ve learned a lot. I've worked with brand guides and templates, doing design work for world-renowned brands. I've learned about the many different roles in design (e.g., production designers, graphic designers, brand manager, creative director). I can also say I’ve learned many tips and techniques I didn’t learn in college, and I’m confident I’ll continue to learn and develop as a member of the MarketReach creative team.
The employer you begin your career with does matter. I’m glad I found a creative shop that wants to see its employees continue to learn, grow, and succeed.