Executive Director and Contents

Chief Operating Officer
Kristina Goodrich
2 IDSA membership application and benefits of membership
Cover
Arek Banasik
New York, NY 4 Introduction
Graphic Design
Karen Berube; K.Designs 6 Part 1: Research
Fairfax, VA

IDSA 10 Part 2: How to get an interview
1142 Walker Rd.
Great Falls, VA 22066
P: 703.759.0100 15 Part 3: How to evaluate your skills
F: 703.759.7679
E-mail: idsa@erols.com
Web: www.idsa.org 20 Part 4: Portfolio advice

These articles are reprinted
from 1993, 1994 and 1995
25 Part 5: Interviewing advice
issues of Innovation, IDSA’s
quarterly publication. Part 6 29 Part 6: This Web’s for you
was added in 2000.

Acknowledgement
35 IDSA mission & values
IDSA thanks RitaSue Siegel
for her permission to compile 36 Special student discounts
this special reprinting of her
articles.

The opinions expressed in this
booklet are those of the
author and not necessarily
those of IDSA.

1 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
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e-mail: idsa@erols. com; Web site: www.idsa.org GET 50
Directory of Industrial Lifelong Learning. IDSA IDSA Professional Interest Membership Category
benefits of membership Designers lists all IDSA offers members a wide range Sections are a great way for Dues include national and
members by last name, of educational opportunities, IDSA members to network chapter dues for the first
chapter, specialty and including High Ground work- and exchange information. year; future dues will be
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Directory is the major ferences. join as many or as few as date of your membership.
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Studies, issued periodically, Professional Member: $303
industrial designer net- Design Management, Design
provide statistical research on 1st Year After
working, employment Protection, Communicative
current industrial design Graduation: $100
and consultant refer- Environment, Environmental
compensation and the struc- 2nd to 5th Year
rals. Sold at $99, the Responsibility, Furniture,
ture and financing of indus- After Graduation: $189
Directory is sent free Gender & Cultural Diversity,
trial design consulting firms Votes; can hold any office;
to IDSA members. Housewares, Human Factors,
and corporate offices. can use IDSA after name.
International, Materials &
Design Perspectives, Members receive as much as Must have degree and work
Processes, Medical, Product
published monthly, 50% off on all studies. or teach in ID or design-relat-
Development, Universal
reports on current ed discipline. US citizens and
IDSA’s National Design Design, and Visual Interface.
issues, trends and non-US citizens residing in
Conference, held in different In 2000, listserves were set
events affecting design; and the US.
regions each year, attracts up for each section.
includes listings of design
the largest gathering of International Member: $303
competitions, meetings and Industrial Design Excellence
industrial designers anywhere Available to non-US citizens
employment opportunities. Awards (IDEA) competition,
in the US. General sessions residing overseas who are
A subscription costs $35 (US) sponsored by Business Week
feature opinion visionaries practicing designers. Can use
or $50 (Intl); members receive and conducted by IDSA, is
from business, design, I/IDSA after name; cannot
it free. held each year to choose the
government and the press. vote or hold office; receives
best designs in the US.
Innovation contains feature Members register at a dis- all other member benefits.
Business Week announces
articles and presents how-to, count.
the winners in a June edi- Affiliate Member: $303
technical information on
IDSA’s National Education tion, and IDSA presents the Available to individuals who
design process, management
Conference, held in different awards at its National are interested in industrial
materials, human factors,
regions each year, attracts Conference. IDSA publishes design but lack the appropri-
design history and tech-
the largest gathering of a Yearbook featuring the ate degree. Can be published
niques. Published quarterly, a
industrial design educators winners and distributes and receive IDSA discounts;
subscription costs $50 (US) or
anywhere in the US. information to the business cannot vote or hold office;
$75 (Intl); however, members
community and press. cannot put IDSA after name.
receive it free. www.idsa.org, IDSA’s 2000+ Members receive discounts
page Web site, includes infor- on entry fees. IDSA Chapters
Getting the Word to Business
mation on industrial design; Every US member automati-
Executives. Regular letters
late-breaking news and job Design Specialties Listings cally becomes a member of
and materials from IDSA to
listings; IDEA and Designs of This information is used in the local IDSA chapter closest
corporate executives who
the Decade galleries; many ID creating the referral list in to them. IDSA has 27 local
work with and employ indus-
resources; a calendar of IDSA’s Directory. Only chapters: Arizona, Atlanta,
trial designers are helping to
design events; and special Professional and International Boston, Carolina, Chicago,
convince the top echelons of
areas for educators, members are included in the Central Ohio, Central New
business to increase its invest-
students, business and media. design specialties listings, York, Michigan, Florida,
ment in corporate industrial
which are used extensively Indiana, Kansas City, Los
design staff and resources. District Conferences, held in by business. Angeles, Mid-Atlantic,
the spring, emphasize design-
Career Connections. IDSA Minnesota, Northwest, New
er interaction and offer pre- Equal Opportunity
puts employers with job York, Northern Ohio, Oregon,
sentations by pacesetters in
openings in direct, but dis- IDSA advocates equal oppor- Philadelphia, Rocky
design offices, schools and
creet, contact with members tunity for all practitioners of Mountain, San Francisco,
related disciplines. Members
interested in a new job. We industrial design and prac- Southern New England,
register at a discount.
connected more than 58 tices equal opportunity of Southern Ohio, Tennessee
companies and some 80 access to volunteer offices, Valley, Texas, Western
potential candidates in ’99. publication and employment. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

3 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
h ello and welcome to a special edition of GETTING
AN ID JOB. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, business employ-
ment opportunities for industrial designers were terrible.
At that time, IDSA asked me to write a series of articles for
INNOVATION, the Society’s quarterly, about how industrial
designers should go about finding employment. These arti-
cles were later published as a special issue of the journal.

Today, business conditions What is the definitive dif- companies and to present
introduction

are excellent. The advice in ference between now and yourself and your work to
the original articles remains then? There is almost a uni- prospective employers and
sound, but the Internet has versal understanding in the recruiters. It also helps them
definitely affected the US that design adds value, to find and qualify you for
process of getting a job. not only to the competitive the positions they have avail-
Hence, this special edition position of products and ser- able. But you still have to
with a new, final chapter. vices, but to the experience assess your skills and commu-
Ten years ago, designers customers have with them. nicate this information in a
were asking: Are in-house This is the result of relentless resume and portfolio.
corporate design groups efforts by IDSA over the past The speed with which the
growing? What are the hot decade, including the pivotal world is evolving still requires
directions? Are there jobs for Industrial Design Excellence you to develop a lifelong,
American designers in Awards (IDEA) co-sponsored self-education program to
Europe and Asia? What kind with Business Week maga- stay current. Read a newspa-
of information do prospec- zine, as well as the outstand- per, with good national and
tive employers look for in a ing and highly visible perfor- international business report-
resume? What is the best mance of designers. ing, as well as the traditional
format for a portfolio and and new business magazines.
what should it contain? Some Things Keep up with technology,
Today, the questions are: Don’t Change materials, lifestyle and demo-
Can I put my portfolio on the Whether the times are graphic trends and design,
Web? On a CD? A disk? boom or bust (or somewhere on-line or in the flesh. Read
What is the design software in between), the fundamen- literature, see movies and go
that most companies use? tals in the original articles to the theater. Attend art
Will I get stock options? And still apply. But, we’ve added exhibits, listen to music and
employers are deeply con- a chapter on how the digital travel.
cerned with how to find, world, primarily the World
attract, reward and keep Wide Web, affects the job
designers. search process. In this brave,
new world, there are more
resources to help you find
opportunities, to research

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 4
Educating others is still a What’s New? New design disciplines are Debunking the
very important part of being The Employment evolving: user-experience Stereotypes
a designer. Although the Outlook and the design, information architec- The universe in which you
awareness of design is now Business Climate ture, interaction design, user- can find industrial design
high, the understanding of Ten years ago, companies centered research, design work is limited only by your
the process and the time it were not as focused as they planning, entertainment imagination and your snob-
takes to do it well are not. As are today on developing new design and branded environ- bery quotient. (Some design-
you enable other specialists products and services. Jobs ments. And, this is just the ers look down their noses at
with whom you work to were not being created. beginning. those who design toys, point-
learn about your skills and Today, times are dramatically of-purchase displays and wall
knowledge, you will develop different. The unemployment Who’s Responsible? décor. Before Nike made it
synergies with them. rate is the lowest it has been In the past, when new chic, some looked down their
in 30 years. A shortage of products were written about noses at sports footwear
Will You Make skilled labor threatens the US in the general business press, design.) Since I cannot help
an Impact on the economy’s growth. The cur- product designers were each of you to research,
Profession? rent accelerated demand for almost never credited. assess and plan, I will do
Design has heroes and designers is the result of: Among designers, “style” something a bit dangerous:
role models who have helped • Visibility and recognition was a dirty word. No more. make sweeping generaliza-
companies—from the inside of design as a legitimate Today, it’s OK for products to tions. Here goes.
where it used to be diffi- activity that impacts be considered stylish. In a 30- Most recent grads, and
cult—to understand that business success. day period in 1999, significant those with only a few years
excellent design can provide • Increased investment in articles on design appeared of experience, look at the job
a competitive advantage. new product development. in Fast Company magazine, universe and see it divided
They built design depart- • Heightened awareness of The New York Times, the simply into consulting firms
ments that were an integral design’s role in building Wall Street Journal, the New and corporate offices. They
part of their company’s suc- brands. York Times Magazine, believe that more creative
cess. These designers were— • Transformation of old Fortune and Business Week. people work in consulting
and are—highly motivated business models by offices because of the variety
people, evangelists who did- electronic commerce. A Seismic Shift of clients these have. They
n’t take ”no” for an answer. • Development of Move over Italian design! also believe that corporate
In the ‘80s, they were Lou interactive products. The US has become the desti- jobs are more insulated from
Lenzi, IDSA, at Thomson • The phenomenal business nation and focus of designers potential layoffs. Well, nei-
Consumer Electronics; Gene momentum and soaring from all over the world. ther stereotype is true.
Sulek at Texas Instruments; stock market. Design is ubiquitous here; You can be just as boxed
Arnold Wasserman, IDSA, at Other factors include new everyone ’gets it.’ Designers into a specialty in a large
Xerox; Bob Brunner, IDSA, ways of valuing assets: soft- in Europe and Asia still com- consulting office as in a cor-
at Apple; and Bob Potts, ware as investment, not a plain about the shortage of poration. Those who think
IDSA, at Ciba Corning. In the cost; and a high regard for a clients who think design is all designers working
‘90s, Morison Cousins, IDSA, person’s intelligence and important. Although foreign in-house at Apple, Ford,
did it at Tupperware; Tom knowledge. Designers are designers are welcome here, Motorola, Thomson
Gale, IDSA, at what was then recognized as a vital compo- because of high unemploy- Consumer Electronics and
Chrysler; Frank Nuovo, IDSA, nent in the drive for quality, ment and less robust DaimlerChrysler are less cre-
at Nokia; and Gordon in the use of computers and economies, it’s difficult for ative than designers in con-
Thompson at Nike. the Internet to increase pro- American designers to get sulting firms should not voice
ductivity, and in the develop- visas to work in other coun- this opinion too loudly. It’s
ment of crucial technological tries, with the exceptions of ridiculous.
innovations. The reshaping of Canada and Mexico (thanks
business practices to take to NAFTA) and the automo-
advantage of the networked tive industry.
world has just begun.

5 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
t he rules for getting a job are
changing. You have to do much more
and prepare much smarter than ever
By RitaSue Siegel, IDSA
before. Understanding the changes
RitaSue Siegel is founder and president of RitaSue
Siegel Resources, a worldwide search company that
reshaping our economy is a key first
fills key design management and staff positions in all step. Research is the second.
aspects of product, communications and
environmental design, including: graphic, industrial
and exhibit design; corporate, brand, and retail
Everyone asks me, “How’s order to get one of the good

part 1: research
identity; architecture; packaging; interactive media;
usability; and interior design. business?” The employment jobs that do exist, or to talk
The firm also finds identity strategists, creative game, you see, is considered an organization into creating
directors, design sales and marketing specialists, and a bellwether of the economy. one for you, you have to do
educators. Additionally, it advises on design firm But in today’s economy it much more and prepare
selection and mergers and acquisitions. takes more than jobs to get a much smarter than ever
The client list includes: Philips Design, Sony, Apple job. To that end, Innovation before.
Computer, Herbst LaZar Bell, Motorola, Fitch (UK),
has asked me to write a As you read my series,
Nissan (US, Japan), ION Design, Terk Technologies,
series of articles on how to you need to consider the
Whirlpool (US, Italy), John Frassanito, Amtrak, Group
get a good job as an industri- chaos of the current job
Four, Thomson Consumer Electronics (US, France),
Renault (France), Rockwellgroup, Nike, NASA, Emilio
al designer, whether you are marketplace as a condition
Ambasz, Tupperware (US & Belgium), Landor, Ford, right out of school, have a of the time that cannot be
Donovan & Green/US Web CKS, Disney Interactive, few years of experience or a ignored. Similarly, the
Ralph Appelbaum, Art Center College, Lante, lot. Are in-house corporate process of design is a rela-
Gateway, and Wolff Olins. design groups growing? tively new one, and not
RitaSue has been quoted by and has had articles What are the hot directions everyone under-stands how
published in The New York Times, Business Week, and are there jobs for to best use it or integrate it
The Wall Street Journal, DesignWeek (UK), AXIS American designers in Europe into their organization. Part
(Tokyo), Form (Germany), ID Magazine, Design or Japan? What kind of infor- of being a designer, and get-
Management Journal and others. She wrote
mation do prospective ting a job as one, is educat-
American Graphic Design, Thirty Years of Imagery
employers look for in a ing others. It only takes one
(McGraw Hill, 1987), was a juror for the IDEA Awards
resume? What should portfo- highly motivated person who
and Communication Arts Magazine and ID Magazine
competitions.
lios contain? These are some won’t take “no” for an
She is on the board of directors of the Rowena of the questions I’ll answer in answer to help a company
Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt Institute and the board this series. understand that excellent
committee of the International Design Network Now, many of you are design can improve its com-
Foundation. RitaSue participated in developing a working for companies that petitive position. Lou Lenzi
proposal for a White House Council on Design have never been busier, but did it at Thomson Consumer
sponsored by the NEA and has served on that doesn’t mean the overall Electronics, Gene Sulek did it
committees for The Cooper Hewitt National Design picture for industrial design at TI and Bob Potts did it at
Museum and The American Crafts Museum. employment is satisfactory or Ciba Corning. These people
RitaSue holds Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in
that the old rules of getting are our own design heroes
Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.
a job still apply. They don’t. and role models.
From 1962 to 1969, she was director of placement
With very few exceptions, in
at Pratt Institute’s Schools of Art and Design,
Architecture and Engineering.

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 6
The Employment • New jobs, in general, • There will be fewer Most recent grads and
Outlook and the are not being created, except competitors in some indus- those with only a few years
Business Climate in the healthcare industries. tries, like personal comput- of experience look at the job
To answer the question up • There has been a steady ers, where a few major pro- universe and see it divided
front, business for us “head- reduction in the percentage ducers of low cost clones are simply into consulting firms
hunters” is not too good of revenues American compa- displacing the previous vari- and corporate offices. They
these days. Companies are nies invest in R&D. ety of proprietary products believe that more creative
not asking us to find, nor are • The American economy and systems. people work in consulting
they hiring, industrial design- has had less growth in the • Concern with air quality, offices, because of the variety
ers at the same rate as they first quarter of 1993 than recycling, disposability and of clients these have. They
did when business was terrif- ever before in recent memo- other environmental issues also believe that corporate
ic in the mid ‘70s to the mid ry, another good reason to affects job development in jobs are more insulated from
‘80s. Some of the reasons are: hire designers. some categories. potential layoffs. Well, nei-
• The ways companies • The market position of You probably know all ther stereotype is true.
operate and allocate brand name products is being this if you read a good daily You can be just as boxed
resources have been funda- threatened by generic or newspaper, with national into a specialty in a large con-
mentally changed by the way store-branded ones. Rather and international financial sulting office as in a corpora-
they were financed or refi- than invest in new or and business coverage. You tion. Juniors who think all
nanced in the ‘80s by invest- improved products or pack- should also read a weekly designers working in-house
ment bankers. Rather than aging, companies are substi- magazine like Business Week at Apple, Nike, Ford,
being focused on developing tuting promotions and price- as part of your continuing Thomson Consumer
new products and services, cutting. self-education program. Plus Electronics, Nissan, Chrysler or
many are crippled by the dis- • The American educa- plastics, electronics, design NCR are less creative than
traction of needing to find tional system is in crisis, and lifestyle magazines. designers in consulting firms
ways to pay off enormous which affects the abilities of should not voice this opinion
debts. current and future members Debunking the too loudly. It’s ridiculous.
• Demand for products is of the work force to think, Stereotypes In corporations, it’s com-
down because the majority read and figure at levels we The universe in which pany policy, not size or struc-
of customers in the devel- took for granted in the past. you can find industrial design ture, that determines
oped world has everything This crisis is forcing compa- work is limited only by your whether or not you will be
they need. (In a company nies to invest more in train- imagination and your snob- laid off when business is bad.
that is thinking correctly, this ing than ever as well as in bery quotient. (Some design- When preparing to sell divi-
should signal the need to redesigning the process and ers look down their noses at sions to show a more favor-
hire designers.) equipment by which work is those who design toys, point- able cost picture, some com-
• Competition from prod- done. Not surprisingly, they of-purchase displays and wall panies will eliminate the
ucts made by foreign manu- claim to have less money decor. Before Nike made it design department among
facturers has altered the available to spend on devel- chic, some looked down their others. Companies as diverse
landscape of the type of oping new products. noses at sports footwear as GM, IBM, AT&T and >
products made in America. design.) Since I cannot help
Rather than innovate their each of you to research,
way out of the situation, assess and plan, I will do
some American companies something a bit dangerous:
have decided to stop compet- make sweeping generaliza-
ing. tions. Here goes.

7 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Corning have offered early and have some relationship • Retail: custom fixturing, ucts and either sell their
retirement programs to long- to reality. We have known fixture systems, lighting, designs to manufacturers or
term employees because they designers interested in auto- point of sale, prototype buy time from the manufac-
are restructuring their lines mobile design who will not design package, standards turers best suited to produce
of business and have new leave the New York City development, store planning, the goods they design. There
labor requirements. Many area, where there are no visual merchandising. are plastics companies that
designers were laid off by automobile manufacturers. • Signage: airport, city, have internal groups of
office furniture companies Here are some lists to educational, fast food, finan- industrial designers who both
as the recession progressed, illustrate my point. cial facilities, health care, call on and consult with
as were teachers in design • 3-D Packaging: aseptic, highway, hospitality, industri- designers and engineers in
schools with decreasing bottles-beverage, bottles-cos- al development, institutional, such industries as automo-
enrollment and increasing metics, closure, corrugated, kiosk, office, office park, resi- tive, pharmaceutical packag-
costs. dispenser, disposable, phar- dential development, retail. ing, office furniture and
maceutical, sterile. • Transportation: acces- restaurant equipment. They
Finding a Focus • Computer: accessories, sories, after market, aircraft, try to inspire those designers
From our perspective, education, home, industrial, boats, bus, car, cultivation and engineers to make the
there are many types of information products, infor- equipment, earth-moving transition to or convert from
industries that can employ mation systems, office, oper- equipment, electric vehicles, the materials they are now
industrial designers. And the ations products, operations exteriors, interiors, mass using to the company’s
list is constantly growing. systems, portable, user inter- transit rail, military, motorcy- plastics.
Building a list for yourself face, work station. cles, non-motor, off-road
requires a willingness to • Consumer: electronics, ATVs, RVs, specialty vehicle, Finding Potential
read, think and do research. entertainment, home fur- space vehicles, tractor, truck, Employers
Reading is a way to get nishings, home office, house- van, yachts, water vehicles. It’s a bit overwhelming
important clues and informa- wares, lighting, major appli- Another way to survey isn’t it? Looking for a job
tion about the world, which ances, small appliances, tele- the territory is through mate- is not simple. It requires as
can inspire you to improve or phone. rials and processes. Think of much planning as any design
create products people will • Medical/Dental/ the job areas these words project you embark on, and
need. Veterinary: hospital furni- bring to mind: acrylic, alu- the process of getting from
One way to categorize ture, instrumentation, lab minum, blow molding, brass, idea to reality is not dissimi-
the potential job-generating equipment, measuring ceramic, china, color, corru- lar. (Research, preparation,
landscape is by industry. You devices, prosthetic devices, gated, crystal, fiberglass, fil- implementation.)
can begin to map a personal surgical products, wheel- ters, foam, glass, injection Here are some specifics
job universe by selecting sub- chairs. molding, laminates, leather, about how to find potential
jects or categories or types of • Exhibit: artifact, biogra- metal, paper, plastics, porce- employers in the categories
work that interest you, as phy, corporate, events, histo- lain, rubber, sheet metal, and geographic areas that
well as locations. The infor- ry, interactive, interpretive, steel, textiles, tile, vinyl, interest you as well as people
mation should be prioritized museum, research, sales wood. who will understand what
meetings, science, set design, There are companies who designers do. One of the best
showroom, theme park, manufacture porcelain goods tools available is the IDSA
trade show, visitor’s center, who hire designers to come Directory of Industrial
world’s fair, zoo. up with new products and Designers, updated yearly
patterns. There are compa-
nies that simply design
porcelain and tabletop prod-

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 8
and sent free to members. Trade magazines are sent what you’d like to do, Researching the
Members are listed by chap- excellent sources of informa- either stylistically or in sub- Companies
ters, employers and special- tion about trends in the ject matter. If you lack rele- If you want more infor-
ties, from “Aerospace/ industry. They show photos vant on-the-job experience mation than you will ever
Airlines” to “Wood.” of products that may interest or school projects, design need about the companies
Another, the Design Firm you or need a designer. Try to and develop them on your you are interested in, you can
Directory, graphic and indus- get or buy the previous year’s own. Also explain that you ask them for it or look them
trial design edition, also pub- worth of issues. If you don’t plan to visit to their area and up in Standard and Poor’s
lished yearly, lists consultants know which trade magazines would be delighted to take directory of corporations or
by state and specialty. The are relevant, ask an appropri- them to breakfast or lunch Dun & Bradstreet’s directories
Directory to Industrial Design ate IDSA member for contact or visit them in their office or disks. Searching by SIC
in the US, first published in information of their most (their choice) to gather infor- code in medical equipment
1992, lists consultants and useful trade magazines. mation. Before sending the will produce the names of
design departments by state, The business magazines— letter, call to be sure the per- 150 companies on the D&B
service and activity. None of Forbes, Fortune, Business son is still at the company Million $ Disk, for example.
these directories contain pho- Week, Inc.—continually write and get their current title. The information about them
tographs. There’s no need to about companies that are If the company you are can be downloaded from
buy the last two: borrow failing or improving, industry interested in doesn’t employ your university or business
them. trends and technology, from industrial designers, write a library onto a diskette. By
Other useful sources, with which you can develop leads, letter to the chief executive law, all public companies
photos, are coverage of the as well as listings of compa- stating your objectives and must issue an annual report.
Industrial Design Excellence nies by industry, showing your travel schedule. Enclose The business librarian in spe-
Awards by Business Week how they compare with one your resume, five color cial libraries or the main
and Innovation, the Design another in their category, as copies and, if you believe it branches of public libraries
Review issue of ID Magazine in the Fortune 1,000 or Inc. helpful, an article from the can be quite helpful: it’s wise
and The International Design 100. business press or a design to make an appointment
Yearbooks, published by magazine that gives a broad with one to help plan your
Abbeville Press. (You don’t Making the Contact picture of what the discipline research. As you do it, bear
have to buy the books. Just After deciding you are of industrial design has to in mind the designer’s mani-
bring an index card to the interested in medical prod- offer. (We get some of our festo, “Nothing is immune
bookstore and take notes.) ucts, for example, use the best searches using this from being improved upon,”
Many trade show directories directories to find corpora- method. We don’t sit back or, as Raymond Loewy said,
contain product photos. The tions and consulting offices waiting for companies to “Never leave well enough
New York Market Directory, that specialize in these prod- find us, and neither should alone!”
for example, lists companies ucts. Look for those within you.) When you make the
in tabletop, housewares, dec- the geographic boundaries follow-up call, some will
orative accessories, general you’ve defined. Write a letter have thrown your letter out,
gift companies and kidstuff. to one designer in each of but others will have passed
If you cannot go to the trade the companies explaining your letter to someone in
shows in the product cate- that you are beginning a job human resources, engineer-
gories that interest you, ask search and would like to ask ing or marketing. Follow that
an IDSA member in the prod- their advice about getting a up, too. And a few may want
uct category if they will lend job in medical products in to see you!
you their directory. their neighborhood. Enclose
your appropriately detailed
resume and a few color
copies of projects that repre-

9 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
m aking cold calls for job interviews gives the strongest
egos the jitters. But there are some straightforward rules of
thumb that can make your approach to potential employers
more effective.

In Part 1, I suggested got a lot of competition for

part 2: how to get an interview
ways to focus your job search appointments. The design
by industry and region. offices and companies in the
Assuming you’ve taken these area receive dozens of tele-
steps, the trick is to use a phone calls and resumes each
methodology for getting a week from designers at every
face-to-face meeting with stage of experience who
potential employers where want to interview with them.
you’ll have the opportunity How will you separate your-
to show your portfolio and self from the crowd?
demonstrate what a pleas- How will you get an
ant, smart person you are. In appointment with the design
tough times, it may be diffi- manager at Apple, with a
cult to finance a week of principal at IDEO, or one of
time in the location of your their lieutenants? Or with
choice. If you can’t, there are second-tier stars? Remember,
other tactics. If you can, take asking for an interview in a
it four weeks after you have letter or on the phone with a
completed your research total stranger who may not
about companies, products be looking for an employee
and industries. You need a is essentially asking a total
cover letter, resume and to stranger for an hour of time.
obtain an interview, and It can be perceived as an
these take time to prepare. imposition. You may be ask-
Let’s say you have decid- ing them to work an hour
ed you’d like to live in San longer in order to see you
Francisco or the area known because they have very busy
as Silicon Valley. This is a very schedules. So, I suggest
popular choice, not only for showing them something
Americans, but for designers memorable in advance to get
from Asia and Europe as them excited about seeing
well. That means that you’ve you.

“Now I’ll try to read the resumes from the designers.”

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 10
The Vital Referral mance-oriented bicycles.” (Of
It is often easier to get an course, the reference must be
appointment with your tar- truthful.) You must first put
gets if you’ve come recom- these things in your letter
mended by someone they and then reiterate them to
know or respect. If you are a their assistants or secretaries
recent graduate, you may when you call. They may be ...and then, when I was 14...
know a student who co-oped empowered to put you on
at the office or an alumnus their boss’s calendar.
who is in their employ, or a Recent Grad: I have just West Coast in the near
teacher who may have Your Logistics Plan and graduated from the industri- future. I am familiar with the
worked in their organization Letter al design department of the work you are doing for the
or with one of their people. Then you want to inform University of the Pitts. My ophthalmic industry. I have
If you have experience, you them about when you will be teacher, John Forgetme, your been working on a product
may have colleagues in their neighborhood. Since classmate at Cal State similar to the one you have
acquainted with someone in you’d want to avoid having Dustmore, suggested I con- completed for Variable
the organization. It is very an appointment on Monday tact you. He believes you will Industries. Dr. Didit, the
difficult to refuse a request at 9 a.m. in San Jose and one be interested in the new clo- human factors specialist at
such as: “I showed my portfo- at 11:30 a.m. in San Francisco, sures I’ve developed for Variable, suggested I show it
lio to Bob Darnit and he said the days and times of your portable communication to you. I will be in the Bay
I must show it to you if I’m availability stated in your devices. I plan to be in your area during the week of
out there.” Or, “I am working cover letter and reiterated in area during the week of September 9th and would
with Janice Fidget and she your call must be selected September 9th, and would very much appreciate an
said that you’d be very inter- with a logistics plan in mind. very much appreciate your appointment to show you my
ested in the type of work I You can start by drawing taking the time to see my work. I will call you in few
am doing with interaction a matrix which shows the work. I will call you in a few days to schedule it.
simulation software.” Or, “I organizations in their neigh- days to set up an appoint- Heavyweight: I am an
heard you speak at the IDSA borhoods in San Francisco, ment. industrial designer with over
conference in San Francisco. and the location of others in Some Experience: I am an 20 years of experience. My
Your ideas stimulated me to the surrounding cities. Then industrial designer with three children are grown and my
do my senior thesis on cus- put together an appropriate, years of experience. I am spouse has been transferred
tomer needs for perfor- focused letter, such as: planning to move to the to Mountain View. Since >

11 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
With 8 1/2” x 11” black
and white or color copies of
your work. Did you ever
know a designer who could
resist looking at good work? I
know I can’t. Yet most
designers don’t send visuals
when they write to ask for an
interview.
We suggest five copies.
We also suggest that one of
the five shows your sketching
style, provided you sketch
well.
Copies beat slides. They
are larger and don’t have to
be projected. They are also a
relatively inexpensive way to
get important visual evidence
of your skills and sensibilities
immediately into the hands
“This project from 2nd grade confirmed of the people you want to
my destiny as an industrial designer.” influence to take precious
time to see you. They don’t
Boring portfolio presentations graduation from State Differentiating Your have to find a VCR, a projec-
must be common indeed! When Polytech, I have worked in Letter tor or a lupe. While we have
we invited Dave Tompkins, FIDSA, three large companies on the To deal with the many nothing against a portfolio
and Gerard Furbershaw, IDSA, to East Coast managing projects on a disk, five copies are the
designers who want the
conceive cartoons depicting bad and teams of industrial cheapest and most efficient
attention of these design
interviewing experiences, both
designers and electrical engi- managers, some organiza- way to get someone’s atten-
independently came up with The
neers while designing small tions ask designers to drop tion. And, you don’t have to
Big Sleep! Dave drew his (on page
electronic measuring devices. off portfolios they can ask for them to be returned,
9) and Gerard asked Bret Lovelady
to capture the feeling for him
My strength lies in project review later that day. This as you do with slides.
(above). management, and I have a way they can look at the You can make labels for
working knowledge of work and then see only the back of the copies to
AutoCad Release 12 and those designers they believe describe what is on them,
ProEngineer. We will be in can contribute to their orga- and what your contribution
the Bay area on a house- nization. But you don’t live to the project was. Or, attach
hunting trip during the week nearby—dropping off your a cover sheet, state the prob-
of September 9th. I will call portfolio isn’t viable. So, how lem and solution and number
you in a few days to find out do you differentiate yourself each of them, providing an
if you will see me. from all other designers? index explaining the content
and context.

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 12
The Big R folded and are consequently I don’t believe the style logical order. If you don’t list
Then there’s the resume. messy and difficult to refer of resume that lists accom- a degree, the assumption will
There have been books writ- to. White 8 1/2” x 11” paper plishments, followed by a list be that you do not have one.
ten about how to write copies easily and best. of employers, works well for Always give the month and
effective resumes, but, • Don’t fall into any designers. Experienced peo- year in which you graduated.
although an excellent resume “assumption” traps. Not ple should provide an outline • Avoid the appearance
is an important tool, it is not everyone who will read your of professional experience, of carelessness. Have a very
a difficult document to write. resume knows what the com- in reverse chronological literate person check your
Here are some pointers. pany you work for does. order, last job first. Include resume for errors in spelling,
• Your resume is a Assume they don’t. If you dates of employment (both grammar, punctuation, usage
prospective employer’s first don’t make clear who you month and year), name of and typing. You cannot rely
experience of your substance are and what you’ve done employer, location, your posi- on a spell check program,
and style. It’s a good idea for for whom on a quick first tion and a relatively detailed because it can’t distinguish
you to prepare one that will reading, the resume will end description of your responsi- between ‘form’ and ‘from’,
be equally enlightening and up in the garbage instead of bilities. If you were working a common transposition of
appealing to the head of a working hard for you. If you in-house, describe the com- letters, among others. And
mid-size company, the don’t want to be called at pany—”a mid-sized manufac- let the record show that “liai-
human resources director of work, indicate that messages turer of surgical staplers,” son” is spelled with two ‘i’s!
a large one, the manager of may be left on your home for example, or “the Boston • Above all, put yourself
an in-house design group, a message machine, fax or office of an international in the position of the people
vice president of marketing electronic mail. If the address multidisciplinary design reading the resume and tell
or a designer running a on the resume is temporary, firm.” Give details of the them what they would want
design office. It just takes include a permanent one. If projects you worked on. to know. Why is the resume
careful planning, writing, you are not born in the US, Describe your role, how so important? Decisions will
editing and organizing. If but have a work permit or many people you supervised be made about interviewing
you are from another coun- are a naturalized American, or the team you were on, you based on the quality of
try, use the American-style say so. If you will need a and what function you or it information it provides. Does
resume format. work permit, this is a sur- reported to. If you were an he use ProEngineer? Does he
• Don’t fall into design mountable problem but individual contributor, but in have any experience with
traps. Design your resume for there is no room to deal with your next position would like OEM suppliers? Did she go
legibility and easy reading, that here. to have the opportunity to through a TQM program?
faxing, copying, handling • Don’t fall into any “for- manage projects, state that Did she have any mechanical
and storing. Don’t over- mat” traps. Start your resume fact in your objective and engineering courses? Has he
design it. Use standard type off with a short summary or describe your job experience worked on teams with engi-
styles and leading and a laser objective only if you have in light of that objective. neers? If he worked in a
printer. One page is enough something more interesting Juniors can describe their design office, did he partici-
for a junior. Resumes are to say than that you are temporary, co-op or free- pate in new business devel-
stored in standard-size fold- “looking for a challenge.” lance employment or jobs opment? Did she present to
ers by recipients, and are And don’t write that you are they held prior to going to clients? What was the value
often copied and sent to oth- only interested in a consult- design school. of the work she did and how
ers in an organization. Small ing or corporate environment Education should also be was its success measured by
ones get lost, large ones get because you can’t be sure. outlined in reverse chrono- the client? People assume >

13 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
that, if you don’t write about Calling to Set Up the name right,” who’s going to Be Realistic
something, you didn’t do it. Meeting want to see you? And, when Please be realistic in your
When you call to set up you call back to get the con- expectations. To get ten
Get the Local Scoop a meeting, the dialogue firmation of the appoint- appointments, you may have
Before you call to set up should be something like ment, ask if the address you to send 100 letters and
appointments, ask someone this. “May I speak to Mr. have is correct, if the office is resume/sample packets.
you know for general infor- Draft? This is Johnny D. Lee. easy to find and, if appropri- And recognize some
mation about the local I wrote to him last week ate, whether or not special hurdles to access that may
weather, parking, rush hour about my up-coming trip to driving instructions are need- be awkward but real.
traffic, local dress codes, cost San Francisco and that I’d be ed and where to park. Specifically, there are many
of living, availability of calling for an appointment. If your prospect can’t or people who come to America
affordable housing and so He’s not in? Could I speak to won’t see you, ask if another with unusual names. For
on. You can also ask about his assistant or the person person in the office or those industrial designers
the local employment situa- who keeps his calendar? Oh, department would be avail- with names that Americans
tion and if they know anyone he makes his own appoint- able to talk with you and see will have a very hard time
who is hiring industrial ments? Do you expect him your portfolio. with, I suggest you adopt a
designers. If you don’t know to call in? This afternoon? simpler name to use in busi-
anyone, call the Chamber of Well, I would appreciate it What to Do If You ness. Many Americans are shy
Commerce or one of the very much if, when he does, Can’t Visit? about names and words they
IDSA chapter officers or you’d remind him of my let- If you cannot afford to can’t pronounce or remem-
members—they’re listed in ter. I also sent copies of my make a trip to the location ber with ease, and this may
IDSA’s membership directory. motorcycle helmet design, of your choice, the docu- be reason enough for some-
Ask when the next chapter which he might remember. ments you send will assume one to “forget” who you are
meeting will be. Attending I could see him on Tuesday, even greater importance. or not call back.
it is a good way to meet local September 10th at 4 p.m. Your cover letter should state In one of the senior shows
members. Ask what local I can call you back tomorrow that you are not going to be I visited this year, the name
design activities or exhibits to see if he would be avail- in the area, but if your work of one ‘Rumparwan
you should attend or see able. What’s your name? is of interest, you’d like to Sarmornkrisorakit,’ caught
when there. Gee, thanks very, very much. arrange to show your com- my attention. I would sug-
For appointments in the Is ten a good time to call? plete portfolio when they gest this person become
city, plan on using taxis; Great. I’ll call you then. are in your area or attending Rumpar Sarmorn, or Ralph
street parking is usually diffi- Thanks a lot.” an IDSA function, a Design or Rick. There are some Asian
cult to find. You’ll need to Since Mr. Draft is apt to Management Institute con- names that are so common
rent a car for an appoint- ask the person who answers ference, Aspen, NEOCON or and beg for differentiation,
ment in the surrounding the phone what kind of per- another a trade show like like Young Kim, the name
areas. Get a map in son you sounded like, be CES or the Gourmet or of about ten Korean industri-
advance—any good book- upbeat and friendly, polite, Premium Show that you also al designers I know. On the
store will have one. Once efficient in your communica- plan to attend. In some other hand, if your name is
your itinerary is set, you can tion and brief. If the answer cases, they might ask you to David Brown, get a middle
plan your routes from one person says: “What a disor- send a sheet of 20 or a tray name or initial to distinguish
appointment to the next. ganized guy. Getting infor- of slides. If they like what yourself. In our office, when
mation from him about why they see and after a prelimi- the caller is David Brown,
he was calling was like nary telephone interview, we ask: “Are you from
pulling teeth. And, he could- they might pay your inter- California, Boston or
n’t even pronounce your viewing expenses or offer to Indianapolis?”
split them, so you can come
to see them.

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 14
g etting the job you want starts by taking a hard look
at the skills you already have as well as the ones
you want to acquire. And the ‘people’ and ‘personal’ skills
are just as critical to develop as the ‘professional’ ones.

Many designers believe Taking Stock of

part 3: how to evaluate your skills
that getting the job of their Technical Skills
choice depends on the quali- When I meet with design-
ty of the work in their port- ers who are looking for posi-
folios, who they know, going tions, I ask them to tell me
to the “right” school or get- what they do best. Their sur-
ting the right “breaks.” prise at the question and
Certainly all of these factors hesitation before coming up
can play a role, but they with an answer has made me
aren’t the main determinant. realize how few designers
To get the design job you think about what their
really want, you must mas- strengths are. I suggest that
ter a spectrum of technical you evaluate your skills, com-
skills and develop a reper- paring them with those of
toire of personal skills that successful industrial designers
will allow you to work pro- you know, so that you will
ductively with other people. understand what you do
This article looks at a crit- best. You must be able to
ical step in the career-plan- describe your strong points
ning process: making an to prospective employers and
inventory and assessment of recruiters in your first meet-
those skills. Once you’ve ing with them. You also need
accomplished that, you’ll be to recognize your strengths
ready to tackle portfolio so you can design your port-
preparation and the inter- folio to highlight them. An
viewing process, the topics of inventory of your strengths
the next and final article in also will help you identify
this series. additional competencies you
may want to develop to
enhance your employability. >

15 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Industrial Design Evaluation

e
ag ry
ng ver to
i
d A l fac t
an e in
a is en
tst ov od rg sat m
m
a
Technical Skill Ou Ab Go M Un Co
aesthetics The most obvious set of grasp of certain technical
analysis
skills to evaluate are the skills and specialized informa-
color
computer use
“technical” or “professional” tion. If you are considering
design development ones. The chart on the left moving into another special-
design strategy shows many commonly ty area, it will be helpful to
drafting required design skills. Try talk with designers working
drawing/sketching
ranking your competence in in that specialty to learn
driver’s licenses
each. more about the kinds of
economics
engineering It is a good idea to ask a knowledge and skills that are
environ. impact fellow designer, especially required. You might consider
estimating one you have worked with attending local IDSA meet-
evaluating and whose judgment you ings and regional and nation-
3-D form
trust, to also evaluate your al conferences where you can
graphics
human factors/ergo
technical skills. While another meet members who work in
implementation designer’s assessment will not the areas that interest you.
innovation/invention necessarily be more accurate It is wise to contact some of
interaction design than your own, it can provide these experts in advance to
marketing
a valuable point of compari- arrange a time to get togeth-
materials
son. For example, if you rate er and talk. Bring questions
manufacturing
model making your skill in developing 3-D and a sampling from your
pattern making form as “outstanding,” and portfolio so they can give
photography the project manager to you a reading on how your
planning whom you report rates it present skills stack up against
point of view
“marginal,” it should be the field’s requirements and
predicting
protocols
enlightening to discuss the on what other skills you may
rapid visualization discrepancy. In the same way, need to develop. This is also
regulations if you believe you would be a a good way to do a “reality
rendering good design team manager, check” on whether the spe-
research
ask a designer who has cialty is what you imagine it
sculpture
worked under your direction to be.
semiotics
sense of style to evaluate your manage- What do you do if you
technology ment abilities. In some cases, need to strengthen a few
texture people are surprised by the technical skills? It depends on
usability testing feedback. the skills.
user needs
Almost every specialty If you need to upgrade
user scenarios
well-read
within the field of design— computer skills, contact local
writing like medical equipment or schools to see if they offer
toys, for example—requires a workshops or courses in

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 16
Alias, Pro Engineer or CAD. If
you can’t find a course, call
the software companies and
ask them to steer you to local
Mirror, mirror on the w....oooommpp!!
training opportunities. If you
need to sharpen your sketch-
ing or rendering skills, find a
person who has the skills you
need and offer to barter or The answer is to approach
pay them to teach you. skill development as an
Professional organizations ongoing process. Decide that I’ve got to find a better way to get feedback!
in the design or related fields you will strive for continuous
are also possible sources of improvement throughout
instruction. If you can’t find a your professional life and
course for industrial design- incorporate skill development successful one, they will need cessful in their careers tend
ers, perhaps there’s one for into your career planning. to possess or refine the char- to take advantage of oppor-
architects or engineers that This strategy will position you acteristics listed on the chart tunities that others forego.
could be adapted to your to take advantage of fortu- under “management”: devel- For example, when asked to
needs. Or, advertise in the itous or sought-after oppor- oping goals, setting priori- give a talk, write an article,
local IDSA newsletter for tunities. You will have the ties, determining schedules, join an organization, meet
other people who may be flexibility, confidence and hiring and firing, and direct- new people, or go to a party
interested in organizing a skills to shift careers or spe- ing outside design firms. or a trade show, they do. You
course. Also, check out how- cialties as change occurs in You can get insights into never know where your next
to books and instructional the economy or profession. your personality from the client or lead to a prospective
videos. comments of others. Co- employer may come from, or
Job seekers frequently Assessing Personal workers or supervisors may whose brother-in-law they
lament that they don’t have Skills tell you, for example, that might be. Successful people
time to look for a job and Another set of skills to you are too outspoken, or are also propelled by an
develop certain skills at the inventory are the “personal” that you’re not good at enormous will to prevail, by
same time. No one expects or “people” ones. Go meeting deadlines, or that their persistence and energy.
you to put off looking for a through the characteristics you’re calm under pressure If you identify some per-
job until you become a listed on the next page to or good with clients. You sonality traits that you’d like
world-class Alias operator, a identify those qualities you might ask people you work to develop, there are several
junior version of visualizer possess and those you may with and trust to critique approaches you can take.
Syd Mead or as familiar with want to acquire or enhance your personal skills using as a Individual and group therapy
the principles of user inter- to improve the viability of guide the list provided on can provide you with insights
face design as an expert at your career plan. the next page. and skills that will help you
IDEO. For example, many You can also benefit by cope with situations that are
designers think they’d like to analyzing the personal skills difficult for you and present
be a design manager. To be a of the successful people you yourself in the most effective >
work with. I’ve noticed that
the people who become suc-

17 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Industrial Design Evaluation

es ts es ts
im en im en
et en m et en m
s m t m s m t m
Personal Skill Ye No So Of Co Personal Skill Ye No So Of Co
conceptual cooperative

Maturity
organized patient
analytical understanding
strategic vigor

Energy
smart power
Intelligence

independent drive
quick intensity
resourceful estimates
learns develops controls

Financial
flexible sets budgets
sense of appropriate tracks budgets
visionary billing
intuitive knows stock options
team player comprehends bonus
confident does marketing
competitive builds relationships

Entrpreneurial Sales
ambitious has network
driven cold calls
balanced develops mailings
persistent closes
dynamic solo presenter
interested writes proposals
helpful consults
outgoing prioritizes clearly
organized develops goals
reaches out achieves goals
optimistic analyzes time
courageous plan work-own/others
sense of humor schedules activities
Interpersonal

polite coaches
indiv. contributor hires
quiet fires
Management

shy does perform. eval.
slob-can’t see clients selects/directs outside
design firms
self-centered
negotiates
incorrigible
nurturing
star quality
knows competition
assertive
does benchmarking
enthusiastic
communicates upward
gives credit
& downward
good listener
delegates well
good presenter
develops others
inspires
gives responsibilty
loyal/trustworthy & trust
motivates design society offices
Other

persuasive lectures
praises publishes
says “thanks” teaches
supportive arts
Non-Design Pursuits

articulate charities
Communications

public speaker culture
writes well family
listens well hobbies
speech impediment local community
English compreh. other
English speaker politics

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 18
This uh is a truly uh, user-
friendly...it’s uh, clean, uh,
I mean, uh, well, you know,
organized, uh, and uh, you
way. Or, you might explore to success in the design field: know, I mean, the important
workshops or courses in such how to use one another you know, is, I mean, high-
skills as leadership, time effectively and productively; lighted, uh, you know,
management, organization how to perform in an orches- I mean, basically,
or public speaking. Many tra of specialists trying to you know...
people highly rate the Dale achieve a common goal; and
Carnegie and Toastmasters how to care about others and
organizations. take responsibility for them.
I have two purposes in A particular challenge for
writing this series of articles. many people today is the
The first is to help you increased diversity of the investors. A tall, attractive better with practice.
understand that the process workplace. I have met 20-something blond woman These are some behaviors
of getting a job—or moving designers working in America in tight jeans walked by. The and attitudes I suggest you
on to a better one—is some- who were born in Ghana, owner said to me, “Can you think about when you are
thing you can control. Of South Africa, Great Britain, get me a designer that looks evaluating your qualities and
course, people will continue India, Canada, the former like that?” characteristics and planning
to “fall into” the perfect job, Soviet Union, Mexico, Brazil, The investor shot me an your career: We can treat
but the whims of Lady Luck Argentina, Korea, Japan, apologetic look and said to people well or badly. We can
are no substitute for career Hong Kong, Thailand and the owner, “You can’t say think before we speak. We
planning. many other places. This diver- that to an American.” That can volunteer to help others.
My second reason is to sity can be exciting and moment said a lot about We can be sensitive to how
pass along one of the most enlightening, but it may also how far things have we affect and appear to oth-
important lessons I have initially present difficulties come...and how far they still ers. We can put ourselves in
learned as a recruiter: in for designers, both American have to go. other people’s shoes. We can
order to be a successful and foreign-born, from more A willingness to examine do more than what is asked
designer, you need to have homogenous environments. your personal qualities, atti- or expected of us. We can try
“people skills” as well as By actively helping to cre- tudes and behaviors—and things. We can take risks and
design talent. No matter how ate a workplace based on modify them, if need be, in fail and recover. We can ask
talented or motivated you mutual respect and accep- response to changing circum- people if we can help them.
are, in order to obtain the tance, you improve the quali- stances and the goals you We can ask people to help us.
position of your choice, or ty and productivity of the have set for yourself—will We can be persistent or we
achieve the career goals you workplace for everyone. If help you adapt to new situa- can give up. We can take
have set for yourself, you others in your workplace tions and work smoothly and responsibility for our situa-
must treat people with don’t do well, you can’t do effectively with those around tions or we can blame others
understanding, care and well. you. Also take time to identi- for our unhappiness and play
respect. The influx of women into fy and work on modifying victim. We can see ourselves
Most Americans have the workplace has also self-defeating or self-destruc- as having choices or being
been taught to be highly required some designers to tive behaviors. Making these trapped.
competitive individuals and shift their attitudes and changes will give you the The time invested in an
solitary performers (except in behaviors. Recently, I was in confidence that comes from inventory and assessment of
team sports). This makes it a neighboring country having feeling that you are in con- your skills will enable you to
difficult for many American lunch in a mall with the trol of your life. It’s never better prepare your portfolio
designers to learn some owner of a design firm and too later or too early to and yourself for successful
important behaviors essential one of his American start, and it gets easier and interviews.

19 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
a successful portfolio is a memorable, self-explanatory
strategic tool for enhancing your candidacy. Making yours
successful takes planning, selectivity, breadth and a well-
organized archive.

Trust me: there is no you designed something, Above all, make it easy to
part 4: portfolio advice

need to ponder the creation doesn’t mean you have to reproduce in case of fire or
of the greatest container of show it to people. theft.
all times; it’s the quality of A portfolio contains pre- Everyone needs one. Even
the content that matters. cious cargo. Design it to be design managers, directors
And I know whereof I speak. safe from the wear and tear and vice presidents with no
I’ve seen over 60,000 portfo- caused by weather and use, hands-on design responsibili-
lios. Here are some ways to like coffee spills and greasy ties need portfolios to show
make that content speak fingers. Make it easy to the work that resulted from
well for you. maintain, added to or their direction. Teachers’
A portfolio is a showcase changed and easy to keep portfolios, in addition to
of your technical skills, ideas, fresh and clean. It should showing their own work,
interests and experiences. travel well, fitting into an should contain examples or
You should avoid letting overhead compartment or slides of the work of their
fancy presentation tech- under an airplane seat. students.
niques overshadow the con-
tents. Anyone from dumbos
to aficionados may have to
approve of your work and
you before you get a covet-
ed position. So your portfo-
lio must be carefully
planned to represent what
you do better than anyone
else, what you do very well,
how you think and what
you’d like to do more of.
A portfolio is a work in
progress; its content will
evolve and change as you I left it blank because I couldn’t
do. It is not a history book find the drafting before I left.
or a scrapbook: just because

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 20
Starting a Portfolio • Craft/digital (a carved
If you are a student, you infant’s rocking chair/an ani-
should collect and carefully mated sequence describing
store in folders your best pro- the interface for a portable
jects from the classroom, copier);
freelance and summer jobs • “Blue-sky”/limiting (a
and personal work. Label the solar-powered individual
folder covers with project water sports vehicle/a Phillips
name and dates. Inside, head screw driver made of
include the statement of the recycled metals).
problem, your research, neg- Improve the work you did
atives, slides, Polaroids or based on feedback. Make a
photos of preliminary mod- list of what needs to be done
els, exploratory sketches, to improve the quality of the
wireframe drawings, comput- work: what slides need to be
er tests, drafting and all the shot; draftings cleaned up;
other bits and pieces that details added; final model
you create before you select retrieved from the school’s
a final direction and finesse, archive and re-photo-
detail and present it. graphed; and adjustments
Begin to create your port- made to the final design
folio for getting your first job based on the last critique.
about five months before What can you add that
you graduate. To begin, lay you’ve learned since doing
the project that would make Designer: I want to do exhibit design for museums...
your project folders side-by-
side on a clean floor, large it more memorable? Then set Client: So, where are your exhibit design samples?
desktop or table. When you aside time over the next sev-
look through them to refresh eral weeks to make the
your memory, eliminate any improvements.
Design the sequence to some examples of personal self: “Have I shown how I
that contain work you are
show projects as if you are projects, but not figure draw- think? How I put down ideas
not proud of. Select from the
designing a book with a ings or photos of fully or par- and explore them? How I
remaining folders using the
beginning, middle and end. tially undressed significant research? How I select a con-
following or similar criteria
Use small layouts, on Post-its others. (Yes, I have seen this!) cept and work to finish it?
to ensure a diversity of sam-
or something equally flexible, These projects should empha- The ways in which I draft,
ples:
to sketch the work that will size the creation of complex develop forms, make models,
• Simple/complex (a serv-
appear on each page. form if you do this well, test them, sketch, do presen-
ing platter/an environment
Anticipate the space you’ll because clients are increas- tation drawings? Is it spot-
for raising and harvesting
need for your final semester’s ingly interested in seeing less?”
talapia);
work. Use the layout as a candidates able to transcend If there is anything in the
• Short/long (one-hour
guide to put the content into product shapes in the form portfolio you have to make
sketch explorations for a line
place, making adjustments as of rectangles with rounded excuses for or are not proud
of cutting tools/a one semes-
necessary. corners. of, take it out. (When in
ter’s research on ways to
In addition to sketches, After you have put the doubt, take it out.) >
reorganize community trans-
portation); your portfolio should contain portfolio together, ask your-

21 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Portfolio Q&A Q. How do I get samples Q. How about a portfolio Q. If I want to do toy
Q. Do I have to show from employers or clients? on a tray of slides? design but don’t have any
sketches or should I just show A. Ask for them. If they A. We do not recom- such projects, what should I
finished work? are not forthcoming, shoot mend ‘all slide’ portfolios. do?
A. Always show sketches. slides of work in an unobtru- Everything looks better when A. Create at least five toy
The ability to draw well is sive manner, if possible, reduced to a 35mm slide and designs for your portfolio,
magical and, if you have it, before it leaves your desk. everyone knows it. We documenting all the stages of
adds enormously to your Some designers use evenings believe that slides should be your design process. Speak to
allure and value. A sequence and Saturdays for this pur- used to supplement a flat toy retailers and parents.
of drawings is one of the pose. Run off two copies of portfolio, to show what Observe children. Include
best ways to show your everything if you are able. drawings, draftings, comput- work for preschool, game,
thought process. Drawing is Some employers are not gen- er printouts and black and boys, girl and so on. Get cri-
thinking through your hands. erous with samples for white photos cannot show, tiques of your concepts from
Good drawings help the designers’ portfolios and, by such as very large projects, both parents and children.
ideas flow. Show drawings as default, encourage devious magnification of details, Make alterations where nec-
well as your productions on practices. Obtain product lit- scale, a walk-through experi- essary.
Alias, CAD and Illustrator, or erature from clients or dis- ence and how something is
other computer-aided media. tributors/dealers that show used. Q. I’ve been working in
photos of finished products. the automobile business for
Q. Why must the portfo- Ask sales people to photo- Q. How about portfolios five years and I never want to
lio be designed to be self- graph the trade show you on video tape, disk or CD- see another car as long as I
explanatory? designed. ROM? live. What can I do to get out
A. Because you will often A. These media can be of this?
be asked to drop it off so Q. How many pieces used to supplement flat A. Select a few categories
that it can be seen before should I show? work, but not replace it. Use of products where what you
you are. (Abbreviated ver- A. Enough to tell your them to show sequences of have learned about designing
sions of portfolios or bound story. Don’t over-edit or user interface design, prod- cars is transferable: operator
color copies can be substitut- overwhelm, but it’s better ucts in use, interaction cabs and controls, tractors,
ed.) to have too much than too design and animation or CD- lawn equipment, safety,
little. ROM design work. It can be metal forming and plastics,
appropriate to show videos CADCAM, human factors,
Q. I can’t afford to make of human factors research. what appeals to consumers,
color prints. Are black and Always have flat back-up color forecasting, finishes,
white photos okay? presentation material to digitizing, accessibility for
A. Of course. show in case the people repair and maintenance and
interviewing you don’t have so on. Then design at least
equipment to view the more five different nonautomotive
exotic media. products, carrying them
through all stages of the
design process, and add them
to your core portfolio.

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 22
Q. The automobile busi- The General vs. the
ness pays very well. Can I ask Industry-Specific The Portfolio Container
for a raise in the next job if Portfolio
it’s not in that business? Once you’ve graduated While you refine the content, you should choose a
A. Usually not. Don’t (or if you’re graduating from portfolio container. The most common are the attache
expect to get a raise in salary a school with a very precise case or plastic/leather case, with or without zipper,
when changing from one major like automotive enclosing a binder for acetate sleeves. Decide whether
specialty to another; you may design), you have to decide you need a tray for slides to fit a Kodak Carousel projec-
actually have to take a cut in whether to show a range of tor (the lingua franca of projectors). Do you need plastic
pay. Just be thankful for the abilities to a variety of sleeves for 35mm slides or larger color transparencies
opportunity. potential employers, or to and other presentation media like a video tape? (If you
only show industry-specific will show 35mm slides in a sleeve, be sure to carry a
Q. All the work I’ve done employers what you have loupe.)
in the past three years is con- done in relation to those Select the size of your primary case or binder (yes,
sidered confidential and industries. Our experience you can have more than one) according to the size of
won’t be on the market for shows that industry-specific most of your samples, what you can comfortably carry
another year. What can I portfolios can impede a and what fits into the overhead compartment of an air-
show? career. What if there are very plane. (You don’t want to trust your portfolio to bag-
A. Do not betray confi- few jobs in the office furni- gage handlers.) For industrial designers, we recommend
dences. Rather, re-work ture or toy industry when acetate sleeves that measure at least 11” x 14” but 18” x
school projects that relate to you graduate? What if a par- 24” is best.
your current work, or devel- ent’s ill health confines you The zippered binder-type portfolio protects samples,
op projects that are similar to to a geographic area where eliminates weight from mattes or mounting material
the confidential ones. You no firms are engaged in (necessary in attache cases) and maintains the sequence
may also develop portfolio designing aircraft interiors? as organized. When several people from a potential
projects for this type of situa- What if, after making the employer’s organization look through loose samples,
tion by strategically freelanc- rounds, none of the automo- they get worn and can be lost.
ing or volunteering. bile companies offer you a Combining ways of showing different types of con-
position? tent allows for maximum flexibility. Art Center graduates
My advice is to prepare a use a combination of flat work in acetate sleeve binders;
balance of portfolio content, several paper bound individual project work books that
in case you need to seek show the design process for each; and, often, a tray of
employment outside your slides. (The slides do not repeat images shown in the
area of first preference. flat portfolio.)
You may keep the wider
range of work out of the
portfolio until you need it.
Or, you may find it adds
quality and depth to your
specialized portfolio. >

23 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Portfolio as History Portfolio Ethics Portfolio Additions
Experienced designers Never show to anyone, Beyond Design
must think carefully about especially a prospective The ability to write well
the appropriateness of show- employer, any work consid- and clearly is another skill
ing examples of design work ered confidential by your you can demonstrate by hav-
done much earlier in their current or most recent ing available examples of
careers. To many potential employer or client. Always proposals, contact reports
employers, especially those be clear about what you and correspondence, vetted
who are not designers, older were responsible for on a of course of confidential
work simply looks outdated, project, say if you worked information. If you find your-
which may work against you. on it with others or if it was self continually asked on
An interview is not the time a revision of a previous interviews for certain types
for a history lesson. design. of materials, make sure you
Is showing school work provide them on the next
appropriate once you’ve Portfolio Evolution one.
been out of school a few By the time designers
years? It depends. If you have three to five years of Portfolio Protection
have three to five years of experience, you may have Take slides of your portfo-
experience and the only pro- more than enough samples lio and important project
ject you have that relates to of professional work to folders. Put one set in a safe-
a prospective employer’s replace the schoolwork in ty deposit box, or in a differ-
needs is something done in your portfolio. We suggest ent building from the one
school, by all means show it, you continue the process of where you keep your portfo-
if it is well done. If it needs a collecting work in clearly lio, and update as necessary.
bit of polish, polish it. If you marked folders and keep it
have ten or more years of in a safe place. Make it part Along with a well-written
experience, revisit an old of your professional practice resume, an excellent portfo-
project only if it has merit skill package. lio will go far in demonstrat-
today, or can be reworked so With an abundant ing your abilities, intelli-
that it does. archive, you can select gence, sense of style and
appropriate portfolio mater- accomplishments to prospec-
ial based on whom you are tive employers and clients.
going to interview with. The final step in getting a
Look for associations to job involves mastering the
make from your experiences art of interviewing.
with the needs of the poten-
tial employer/client (see the
eighth Q&A) to select mater-
ial. If you are really ambi-
tious, do what is suggested
in the seventh Q&A. Most
designers have a core of
portfolio work that they
supplement from such an
archive.

Oh sorry, I left it in the basement.

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 24
a brilliant portfolio can’t ensure you’ll get the job if
your personal presentation and interviewing skills need polish.
Here’s a run-down of how to present yourself to any prospec-
tive employer in order to get that industrial design job!

Prepare. Learn in advance
part 5: interviewing advice

as much as you can about
potential employers’ lines of
business and how they are
managing the design work
they are doing. Think about
the best way to describe
your experiences in order
to interest, relate to and
influence the people you
are going to meet. Develop
ways to describe your select-
ed projects so they echo the
purposes of the prospective
firm. They want to know
what it is about your work
and experiences that are rel-
evant to their needs.
Talk their language. Some
portfolio reviewers will not
be designers. Develop
metaphors to help them
understand the value of
what your do. Also be pre-
pared to explain why a con-
cept, design or system was a
commercial success. Show
that you understand that
design is but one element in
the success of a product,
communication, service or
environment by discussing

I figured I could be casual
for a Saturday interview.

25 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
how your work increased Human resources staff want Smile. Be nice to every-
sales, provided more value to to ascertain your ability to fit one, including parking lot
the customer, opened new into the company culture. attendants, receptionists and
markets, helped establish a (They leave the measurement telephone operators. Make
brand or whatever is rele- of your professional skills to as many friends as you can
vant. These points are espe- the hiring manager.) The throughout the interviewing
cially important if your human resource specialist process. Say “please” and
design portfolio does not will explain company goals, “thank you” more frequently
show solutions to similar compensation structure, than usual.
problems that confront the bonus system, stock options, Bat the conversational
prospective company’s busi- benefits, housing and cost of ball. Establish a balance
ness or industry. living. They will try to learn between talking and listen-
Corporate human how you adapt to change, ing. Don’t try to dominate
resources specialists will how educable you are, your the interview. Don’t over-
interview you from a differ- short- and long-term objec- explain, pontificate or lecture
ent point of view than the tives, your energy level, your to the people who are inter-
hiring manager and other personal and lifestyle situa- viewing you.
people you may work with. tion (within the bounds of Never “bad-mouth” your
equal opportunity stan- current or past employers or
dards), if you have the clients. (Need we say more?)
potential to grow and take Be a sympathetic listener.
on additional responsibility Ask open-ended questions
or a leadership role and (questions that can’t be
whatever else is important answered with a simple “yes”
to being successful in the or “no”) that draw out peo-
company. ple so you can learn about
them and how you may meet
their needs.

My alarm didn’t go off!

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 26
Show genuine interest Rehearse. Ask your Personal Presentation For women, business-like
and enthusiasm. Be lively friends, associates or co- and Other Stuff About suits and dresses are best. The
and expressive. Never speak workers whose judgment you Interviewing. color black, which is consid-
in a monotone. Don’t be trust how you can improve Project a positive attitude. ered quite fashionable for
afraid to laugh. Make eye the way you communicate. On the morning of the inter- every occasion in New York,
contact. Establish rapport as Ask them what they would view, play music that’s uplift- does not always look correct
soon as possible with your want to know about people ing and makes you feel in other parts of the world.
interviewer(s); one of the interviewing with their com- good. Pants are usually not the best
most important criteria you panies. Anticipate questions Be well-groomed. For choice for a first meeting.
are being evaluated on is from the people who will be most of you, hygiene is not Wear stockings. Shoes should
whether or not you will fit interviewing you and prepare an issue. For the small per- be simple and closed—no
into the group. appropriate answers. centage who were absent sandals or very high heels.
Sharpen your conversa- Believe in yourself. If when these things were Exceptions can, of course, be
tional skills. Be prepared to you’re not excited and enthu- taught, I offer the following made in the entertainment or
discuss a variety of subjects siastic about your portfolio, advice: Before you go to an fashion industry. In most situ-
most people are interested no one else will be. interview—take a shower or ations, though, clothing
in, such as music, sports, mys- Be honest and direct. If bath; wash your hair; brush should be neat, natural and
tery novels and so forth, you are excited by and inter- your teeth (carry breath not attention-grabbing. You
especially if you are spending ested in the position you are spray or mints in case you want the focus to be on your
the day with a potential interviewing for, say so, and need them just before your mind and portfolio, not your
employer or dining with ask about the next steps. meetings); clean your finger- outfit.
them. Remind yourself to be Send thank you notes. nails (women’s nails should Know logistics. A few
open, candid, direct and Mail a “thank you” to every- be short to moderate in days before your scheduled
friendly. one you interview with and length); use a deodorant or appointment, ask the
Use simple, easy-to- follow up promptly on any antiperspirant and if you use recruiter or receptionist for
understand language. This is requests made for additional perfume or after-shave driving or any other type of
especially important in multi- information or samples. If lotion, apply it sparingly. travel directions if necessary,
lingual situations. Speak you have not been inter- Dress appropriately. For even if you are taking a taxi.
slowly and clearly but in a viewed for an open position, men, suits are always appro- If there is extreme weather,
natural manner to ensure but the people you meet priate. If you’re not sure prepare your schedule and
that you are understood. seem enthusiastic about you about what is considered yourself accordingly. Get the
Avoid jargon, trite expres- and your work, keep in proper interviewing attire, location of recommended
sions and cliches. touch. Call every six weeks or call the secretary or assistant parking and a parking per-
so, and send clippings or to the person you are going mit, if needed. If flying to an
notes that may interest them. to meet to check local cus- appointment at the request
toms, especially in Southern of a client, inquire about
California. whether or not you will be
picked up or are expected to
rent a car, take a taxi or catch
a bus. Ask if the client would
purchase the ticket and
overnight it to you. The
recruiter should be able to
arrange this. >

27 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Arrive early. Plan to Be patient. If you must • Experienced designers: you describe your manage-
arrive at the site of your wait for the person with What was your contribution ment style? You’ve been
appointment between 15 whom you will be meeting, to this project; how well did working for a corporation/
and 30 minutes before the use the time wisely. Read this do in the market; is it consulting office for the last
scheduled time. Planes and your resume. Go over the still being sold; in retrospect, ten years, so what makes you
trains can be late, and traffic, points you plan to make and would you have done this think you can adjust to work-
especially in extremes of the questions you want to differently; how did you get ing in a consulting office/cor-
weather, can be unpre- ask. Read company materials engineering to go along with poration? What was the most
dictable. You or the taxi may usually provided in the wait- this; I saw this product in successful program you ever
have difficulty finding the ing area. Be interested in another portfolio—is this managed and how was the
address, parking or the par- your surroundings. Do not your drawing; if these types success measured? And, con-
ticular office once you are in listen to a walkman. Do not of keyboards have caused sultants may ask, Can you
a building or building com- become angry if the waiting repetitive strain disorder in bring any business with you?
plex. If it is very hot, you will time is excessive. Give people the past, why design another There are no right
welcome the extra time to the benefit of the doubt. one; how did these colors answers to the above ques-
get cool in the reception area You want to be in a positive get selected? tions, but there are ones that
or rest room. If it is raining, frame of mind. Prepare in advance will work better for you than
you will be able to unwrap Prepare in advance answers to the following fre- others. The same is true of
the protection on the slide answers to the following fre- quently asked interview your attitude; a positive one
projector and/or portfolio quently asked questions questions: Why did you leave and your persistence are
you are carrying, remove wet about portfolios: your last position? or Why do more important influences on
clothing and footgear and • Junior designers: How you want to change jobs? your ability to get a good job
have time to re-groom your- long did this take to do; Why are you interested in than what seems like the lack
self. If it is cold and snowy, what was the problem you us? What do you do best? of local opportunities, the
you can remove the protec- were asked to solve; how What do you think you could bleak economic situation or
tive gear you are wearing, would this be made; what do for us? You’ve been work- how many restrictions are
change from boots to shoes material would you use for ing on your own for the last imposed by your personal
and hide all of the wet stuff this; what would be the ten years, doing everything situation. Don’t give up. It
in a closet. retail cost; why is this bicycle yourself, so what makes you is never too late to begin
better than those already on think you can work under building good relationships
the market? someone else at this point? with people to develop into
What is the dollar value of a network that can be used
the projects you handled in to help others as well as
1989? In 1993? How would yourself.

Would you like me to leave any of this with you?

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 28
j ob hunters: The Web was made for you! It
provides an unprecedented source of free informa-
tion about the job market, the skills and experiences
employers of designers seek and (many times) salary ranges.
On the Web, you can see the work that companies are
doing, look at resumes and portfolios of other designers and
read conference presentations you've missed. There has never
been a better way to see what is going on in your profession.
And, it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Optimize Your Online My advice is don’t start Online Career
part 6: this web’s for you!

Career Search with the huge Web sites that Resources
There are many sites that list thousands of jobs, most In the future, most design
post job openings. Limit not in your field. Instead, go companies will probably post
yourself to checking out no directly to the ones aimed at their job vacancies on their
more than two or three of finding and attracting you, Web sites, but an informal
the general ones. Too much especially www.idsa.org. If survey of IDSA members in
information can be as useless you specialize in graphics, November 1999, revealed
as too little. At this point, user interface, interiors that few do presently. Most
there is no standard way of and/or retail design, other said they advertise on the
searching for industrial sites worth checking out are IDSA and CORE sites, or work
design jobs on general job- www.commarts.com, with headhunters. Large cor-
posting sites. The best gener- www.ac4d.org, www.segd.org, porations also use these sites.
al job boards are probably www.ispo.org, www.dmi.org But, be sure to do your
the ones with the most users. and www.nynma.org. Listings research by going to the spe-
Currently, industrial design may be linked to the home cific sites of companies for
companies use them to find pages of companies posting which you want to work. You
engineers and other special- the jobs. If not, they provide can find many company URLs
ists, but not to find design- e-mail addresses, URLs and at www.dotcomdirectory.
ers. In the future, this may other ways to make contact. com. If there are no design
change. Next, go to www.CORE77. job openings on the compa-
com, an ID community/ ny’s Web site, send the com-
resource site started by two pany an e-mail note with a
Pratt industrial design gradu- resume.
ate students in 1995. It will Giant online job boards or
link you to my site, www. banks like www.Monster.com
RitaSueSiegelResources.com, provide good information on
which has valuable career- preparing resumes, doing
related information like research and interviewing.
resume writing and inter- Most online job boards
viewing tips, as well as job encourage free resume post-
listings. ing for company recruiters
and headhunters to review. >

29 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
In addition, some sites You can find additional that directly relates to your phone. Record the name of
offer e-mail notification to business information about interests, experience or geo- the person who calls, the
let you know when jobs are corporations and those of graphic preference, e-mail content of the conversation
posted that relate to your their competitors at your resume and briefly and the next step in the
experience. Some allow you www.Hoovers.com, describe what type of job process. Do the same with e-
to apply for jobs instantly, to www.Thomasregister.com, you are seeking, your salary mail communication or other
chat with recruiters and to and others. Some are free range and relocation types of contact. Comply with
look at company profiles. On some charge a modest fee. options. requests for samples or addi-
some, you can complete Investment advisory sites tional information. After a
online forms that are com- have information about pub- Technical Specialists few days, check to see if
piled in databases to be lic companies. If you want to work with what you sent was received.
viewed by employers. companies that use a specific No e-mail system is foolproof.
Companies can use ser- Check in with technology or software, con-
vices that select the best sites Headhunters tact their online special inter- Thinking of Moving?
on which to post their job Before contacting a head- est groups, usually linked to Don’t miss www.
listings. These systems put hunting firm, check out the the sites of companies that CareerPath.com. Use it to
resumes received in a data- headhunter’s Web site to see sell them. There will also be search the classified ads
base for future use. Services if there is a particular posi- links to customers (potential across the country from most
also exist that direct job seek- tion that interests you. If so, employers) or success stories of the major US newspapers,
ers to jobs posted on corpo- refer to it specifically in your about them (another source as well as some potential
rate sites on the Web. response. Be sure to high- of company names). employer Web sites. If the
In addition, job listings light your experience relative newspaper you want is not
aimed at recent grads and to the job you are seeking. Set Up a Career Search listed, go to the newspaper’s
alumni are sometimes found Unless otherwise instructed, Tracking System site.
on a school’s career center or send your resume only once. Set up a system to track Find housing information
alumni office Web site. If there is nothing posted the employers and head- online by location, amenities
hunters you contact, and and price. Many real estate
make a note of what you company sites provide local
send them. Keep track of demographic information,
where you found the listings, crime level, school perfor-
the reference numbers, job mance ratings and mortgage
titles, position descriptions, rates. Compare cost of living
etc. When you respond, refer data for the US at www.virtu-
to the same information. alrelocation.com and
Remember, hundreds of peo- www.homefair.com. Find cur-
ple may respond to a given rency conversion information
job opening. You want to at www.xe.net/ucc/.
make the reason for your Runzheimer International
contact clear to the recipient. (800.558.1702) can provide a
By keeping track of the jobs comprehensive international
for which you apply, you will cost of living comparisons.
be able to communicate
more intelligently when a
prospective employer con-
tacts you, especially if it’s by

How quaint! A real message board.

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 30
Other Hints resumes that are formatted Not All Companies Posting Resumes Online
Alert your friends and for easy and accurate com- Want E-Resumes If you want to post your
acquaintances by e-mail puter scanning; use appropri- Many employers ask candi- resume online, the sites you
about your job search. Refer ate nouns and key words for dates to e-mail resumes. If select will state the required
them to where your resume database searching; and are the employer or employment formats, as well as the way to
is posted and your URL. uploadable so that they can ad does not specifically ask respond to their listing of
Referrals from friends result be stored in a file format for an e-mailed resume, send jobs. Sometimes the job list-
in many interviews and hires. that a computer can easily the resume by mail. Many ing will state a preference.
digest. Learn how to format. employers are not yet pre- Online job descriptions tend
Developing an Online Learning how and why it’s pared to handle resumes via to be longer and provide
Resume done will improve the way e-mail. If a resume via e-mail more details than classified
I have read dozens of you present your skills and is requested, plain text sim- ads. Pay attention to the
articles about how to write experiences, and your resume plifies the process of upload- needs of the prospective
resumes that “computers can will be keyword searchable ing, copying and sending it. employer when responding.
sink their electronic teeth when prospective employers If systems are compatible, Target your cover letter and
into.” Companies and do eventually process indus- send your resume in Word. It resume to what they are
recruiters are likely to ask trial designer resumes in that will look better and be easier seeking.
you to send your resume by fashion. to read. When responding to
e-mail, put it into their elec- job postings, customize the Confidentiality
tronic form or send it as a Formatting resume to the needs of each If you want to keep your
Web page. A resume sent Consult the instructions prospective employer. job search a secret from your
electronically has to be on how to format resumes If you have a Web site, current employer, use initials
downloadable, uploadable for all digital transmission you can format your resume or your first name or disguise
and, in many instances, situations, including scanning in hypertext so that the your name. For an address,
searchable. Even if you mail and system sorting, at receiver can link to it from use a PO Box, mailing service,
or fax your resume, include www.dbm.com/jobguide/ere- your resume. Find hyperlink a friend’s address, or none at
your e-mail address, URL and sume.html, information in AOL on the all. Describe what your
cell phone and pager num- http://ceweekly.wa.com/grw. Write Mail screen under the employer does without nam-
bers if you are especially html and www.eresumes.com. Mail Extras icon. If AOL is ing the company. Get an e-
mobile. At present, there are two not your server, check with mail address and voicemail
In larger companies, it is simple, standard ways to your internet service provider for job hunting and contact-
less likely that the resume’s format an electronic resume: (ISP) about how to do this. ing purposes that don’t dis-
first viewer and sorter will be 1. ASCII files (plain text) close who you are. Some of
a human being. If you send a can be pasted into the body Test It the large job posting sites
resume to a human resources of an e-mail. This format is Test the viability of your describe other ways to main-
department by snail mail or recognized by most operat- resume as a digital docu- tain confidentiality.
fax, it may be scanned to be ing systems, but plain text is ment. E-mail it in all formats
logged in, categorized and not visually stimulating. to yourself and friends who Cover Letters
passed on. 2. The resume can be for- use different ISPs, browsers E-mail cover letters should
Companies that hire hun- matted in Word (you can and operating systems. Make state the type of position
dreds and thousands of peo- save it in a PC format even if adjustments accordingly. wanted or refer to the specif-
ple a year are constantly you are using MAC) and send ic job to which you are
striving to make the job it as an attachment. This way responding. Also, note why
placement process more effi- is not foolproof due to the you left your last job or your
cient. In doing so, they prefer PC/MAC compatibility issue. motivation for making a
change, as well as the salary
range desired and geograph-
ic preferences. >

31 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
E-mail cover letters need to a prospective employer or In the future, PC/MAC com- you need to build your own
to be as clear as printed a recruiter. A copy or a fax patibility will not be an issue. Web site.
ones, and they must have the will not scan as well. To help At present, after reading
same characteristics as those your resume survive, it a designer’s cover letter and Characteristics of a
described in Part 2 of this should be in black letters on resume, half the prospective good Web site:
booklet. Fight the tempta- 8 1/2" x 11" paper. Avoid employers I polled said they • It should download easily
tion to respond too casually background graphics and would go directly to a Web and quickly;
in the back-and-forth e-mails drop out type. Also, check site without first requesting • Avoid elements that
that may take place between guidelines on the “how to samples. Some still want to make it hard to navigate
you and the potential prepare a digital resume” on see samples first. One within the site;
employer during the qualify- the Web sites noted earlier. employer said to me: “We • Include images that are
ing process. The ’telephone set aside some time every not too big or too small;
tag phenomena’ often makes Sending Samples week so that, as a group, we jpeg and gif formats are
e-mail communication more Before Interviews can look at all the resumes preferred;
efficient than a phone call. Minis: The images in and samples that come in. • Create a good balance
And it’s a great way for minis are usually too small This way, we compare them between text, images and
prospective employers to see and do not make it easy for to one another.” information structure;
your language skills and your a prospective employer or • Clearly identify the work
ability to think clearly. headhunter to accurately Create a Web Site presented (school projects
E-mail is often the most review your work. In addi- An industrial designer vs. job-related projects);
efficient way for prospective tion, they are difficult to from the Netherlands said to and
employers and headhunters store. As an initial mode of me that he came to America • Use clean typography—
to make initial contact with contact, minis communicate in 1996 thanks to the fact such as Times, Arial,
you, especially if they have a lack of common sense. that he created his personal Geneva, Helvetica, Swiss—
failed in their first attempt to Minis are, however, a good Web site using a simple html which most browsers
reach you by phone. They “leave behind” after an tutorial. One free download- recognize.
can ask questions, request interview. able tutorial is Netscape Suggestions: Design the
samples, suggest appropriate Although some job appli- Composer available at viewer’s experience without
times for you to contact cants are sending samples on http://home. compromising the site’s abili-
them and describe the next disks or CDs, potential for- netscape.com/communicator/ ty to load quickly. Animate
step in the application matting problems make this composer/v4.0/. It is a word products to show how they
process. Most prospective endeavor risky. For now, processing program into function. (Or use stills from
employers and headhunters using high-resolution, 8 1/2" which you can add links to different angles.) Web-site
do not have time to respond x 11" color copies is the most other pages. It saves informa- viewers are generally scan-
with a rejection. Note: E- efficient way to show a few tion in html. After testing the ners, not readers. Present
mail is not perfect; always samples. Once prospective pages of images and text information using key words,
check to see if your resume employers or headhunters with links to each other using subheads and bulleted lists.
was received. see relevant samples, they the Netscape Navigator Include your resume. Make
are more likely to look at browser, the pages can be links from your resume to
Scanning: The Potential your Web site or disk. posted on the Web. Contact particular images.
Enemy By the time broadband is an ISP to find free memory Not every designer has
Scanning can be the a fact of life, or maybe space to post your personal the skill to design and make
downfall of resumes that are before, most designers will pages. Once online, anyone an excellent Web site. If you
faxed or mailed even when have personal Web sites. This with a Netscape Navigator can’t, make a deal with
carefully prepared for the may not eliminate the need browser or Microsoft’s someone who can. Give them
process. Today’s scanning for samples on paper, but it Internet Explorer can view it. credit so prospective employ-
technology is imperfect. To will be seamless for a In addition, the tutorials and ers will not assume you have
increase the chance of your recruiter or prospective archives on www.CNET.com that skill.
resume scanning well, mail employer to go from an e- and www.Webmonkey.com
an original, unfolded resume mailed resume to a Web site. provide all the information

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 32
On Guard for • Tell those with whom you Calls From Headhunters enthusiasm and courtesy as
Interviews live that you may receive If you receive a call from you would with an employer.
Now that you’ve applied calls from potential a headhunter you haven’t Think of headhunters as sur-
for jobs electronically, expect employers so that they contacted, be nice. If you are rogates for prospective
calls from strangers. Be on can respond and act not looking for a position, employers.
guard. Don’t act surprised accordingly. say so, but hear them out.
when you answer the phone. • Tell young children not to You may know someone who Other Interviewing
The caller may be an assistant answer the phone. qualifies for the position Technology
to a hiring manager, a about which they are calling. The Internet has put a
human resources person, a Telephone Demeanor Describe a job that might few new twists on interview-
corporate recruiter, the per- Telephone interviewing is tempt you in the future. ing procedures. Flying a num-
son doing the hiring or a a sport with its own rules. Be Build a relationship with a ber of applicants in for per-
headhunter. Refer to your pleasant, upbeat and cooper- headhunter by providing sonal meetings is expensive.
tracking system. The calls are ative with the caller. The names and becoming a There is software available to
a natural outcome of making caller may be an assistant set- source of information. It may allow recruiters from large
so many contacts using the ting up a conference call or a pay off in the future with a companies to conduct inter-
Internet. human resources person call about a great opportuni- views on the Internet in real
wanting to verify dates of ty that you might not have time. It also allows for broad-
Preparing for Calls employment. Few potential otherwise received. cast quality video transmis-
Telephone interviewing is employers are experts at tele- After you contact head- sion and, with faster connec-
an increasingly important phone interviewing. hunters, they may call you to tions, a smooth flow of con-
part of the qualifying Be prepared to answer ask questions, get samples or versation. Video conferencing
process. If you receive a call and ask questions. See Part 5 set up an interview. If there is a reality and not overly
at work and are unable to of this booklet for some are lots of questions, they expensive. >
talk, say: “Thanks so much questions that may be asked. may suggest making an
for calling. I really want to It is not unusual for calls appointment for the call.
talk with you, but this is not from company recruiters or Exhibit the same clarity,
a good time. Can we make hiring managers to last over
an appointment to talk an hour. Ask about the com-
later?” If you get a call at pany and position, especially
home at an inconvenient if the caller doesn’t sound
time, make the same like an experienced tele-
response. phone interviewer. You don’t
When you are job hunt- want to take off two days
ing: from work to fly across the
• Remove silly messages country for an interview to
from your voicemail. find the job is not a good fit
• Put a message on your for you or to be asked the
voicemail noting the best unexpected. Be enthusiastic,
days, times and numbers responsive, articulate, courte-
to call in order to reach ous and good humored. If
you. after the call you are very
• Answer each call as if it interested in the position and
were from a prospective the company, say so and try
employer. to convince the caller to
• Have paper and pen near meet you. At the end of the
the phone to take interview, find out the next
messages. step in the process.
• Have easy access to your
job search tracking
system.

33 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
Interviewing with Real example, arrange for the last In Concluding this that job should have;” “The
and Virtual Portfolios item in your portfolio to Series stuff he showed us was too
The promise of seamless require discussion while you After reading the articles conservative; he’s probably
technology is still a promise. set up the media presenta- in this six-part series, several got the talent to do what we
The most reliable form of tion. Select each form of friends asked me: “Why are need, but he isn’t showing it
portfolio is still the “regular” media for its intrinsic abilities you giving away your in his portfolio and we can’t
one, as described in Part 4 of to present different aspects secrets? You’ll put yourself take any chances.” Much of
this booklet. Sketch books of your work. out of business.” Wanna bet? the information in these arti-
are best shown in person, as I believe my business and cles is common sense. Yet
are large-scale images or a To Be Continued… track record of successful many designers self-destruct
set of drawings. In the November 22, matchmaking will significant- in interviews because no one
1999, issue of Fortune, ly improve if you use the ever explained positive inter-
“Mixed Media” Warren Buffett noted that information in these articles. viewing behavior to them.
Presentations in the early 1900s there were In my work, there is little In the job market, by
If you plan to do a over 2,000 US companies time to coach candidates on showcasing your unique abili-
“mixed media” presentation that made cars and trucks, self-assessment, interviewing ties you can demonstrate
during the interview, call all of which had names behavior and fixing up port- rather than explain how, as
ahead to find out what followed by ’Motors.’ folios. Many of the matches an industrial designer, you
equipment is available. If Similarly, today, most career- I try to make are thwarted by can make the world a better
what you need isn’t avail- related sites, search engines such reasons as: “She showed place. I am happy to provide
able, bring it with you or and e-mail and music up for the interview in a you with the information
arrange to get it there. Keep providers and shopping sites pants suit and that simply necessary to gain a competi-
in mind that something can are followed by ’.com.’ That isn’t done around here;” “He tive edge in this profession.
always go wrong during a said, by the time you read just doesn’t have the energy Use it well, and good luck.
presentation of this type, so this, the sites recommended level we think a person in
be sure to print out some might be gone, but there
screen captures to have on will be others to take their
hand. Make sure to rehearse places. As you discover good
your presentation. career-related information
If you are planning to use sources on the Internet,
a mixed media presentation, share them with IDSA. IDSA
make it interesting. will post them on its Web
Orchestrate the down time site.
when you “jump media.” For

GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 34
i DSA is dedicated to communicating the value of industrial design to society,
business and government. IDSA provides leadership to and promotes dialog between
practice and education. As a professional association, it serves its diverse membership by
recognizing excellence, promoting the exchange of information and fostering innovation.

IDSA communicates the • serving as the primary • funding and administrat- • establishing and keeping

IDSA mission & values
value of design by: information resource for ing both undergraduate and current a professional Code
• publishing Innovation, the national newspapers, maga- graduate scholarships; of Ethics and Ethical Practice;
professional journal of indus- zines and television net- • maintaining a national • maintaining member
trial design practice and edu- works; network of student IDSA groups focused on specialized
cation in America; • acting as a clearinghouse chapters and faculty advisers practice and broader issues,
• organizing a national con- for design information at accredited schools; such as ecological responsibil-
ference each year, the largest requested by the general • sustaining an on-going ity, human factors and user
gathering of industrial public; and roster of volunteer profes- interface;
designers, educators and • maintaining a regularly sional designers as student • recognizing outstanding
business executives in the US; updated World Wide Web mentors; contributions to design
• organizing a national site at www.idsa.org. • providing a substantial through the Fellowship,
education conference, held in base of information specifi- Education, Personal
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ing of industrial design edu- practice and education by: site; • serving as the central
cators anywhere in the US.; • providing definitive guid- • producing and distribut- national source for design
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sponsorship of Business Week education through its mem- • providing copies of the ties and design competitions;
magazine, and distributing bership in the National Asso- “Getting an ID Job” book to • maintaining a substantial
information on the winners ciation of Schools of Art and all graduating seniors at no presence on the World Wide
to the business, general and Design (NASAD); charge. Web; and
international design press; • organizing five annual • performing as a vital
• providing statistical district conferences in IDSA serves its members by: member of the International
research studies on profes- concert with the education • revising and publishing Council of Societies of
sional practice and the struc- community; the annual Directory of Industrial Design (ICSID) and
ture and financing of consult- • sponsoring the annual Industrial Designers; fostering international mem-
ing and corporate design Student Merit Awards for the • supporting a network of bership in a dialog with IDSA.
organizations; outstanding graduating 27 active chapters located in
• speaking for the industrial senior from each industrial cities across the US;
design community to federal design program; • distributing Design Pers-
agencies and state govern- • conducting annual pectives, the monthly
ments, and testifying before Student Chapter Officer newsletter to members;
Congress on design-related Orientation Programs • organizing the annual
issues; (SCOOPs) in each of the dis- national and district confer-
tricts; ences, prime venues for net-
working and information
exchange;

35 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB
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GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB 36
Industrial Designers Society of America
1142 Walker Rd., Great Falls, VA 22066
703.759.0100; Fax: 703.759.7679
E-mail: idsa@erols.com

39 GETTING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN JOB

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