How to get a job in the interiors industry
IDO’s in house Careers Coach Sheridan Hawkins guides our Cert IV and Diploma students on their interiors career path. She’s been working as a recruitment and careers professional for over 12 years – so she knows more than a thing or two about how to get a job!
We asked Sheridan to share her top 10 tips on getting a start in the interiors industry.
1 | Know the industry and network
Spend some time learning about the interior design industry in your local area. Which studios are winning awards? Who inspires you? Where do you see yourself fitting in? When you’ve researched studios and projects, visit the spaces – experience inspiring work first hand! Who are the key suppliers in your area? Attend trade shows, suppliers’ product launches, visit showrooms and attend industry awards and speaker events. While you’re there be open and genuine and chat to people without an agenda. You never know who you’ll meet and what connections you’ll make.
2 | Embrace social media and be engaged
Social media, in particular Instagram, is a fantastic platform to immerse yourself in local and international interior design. You can make important connections via your social media presence. Curate your feed with the things that inspire you and reflect your aesthetic (be sure to always credit the source of photos) and engage in a thoughtful way with your peers, the industry and suppliers.
3 | Learn from those who’ve gone before you
Connect with people working in the area of interiors that you’d like to enter. Everyone had to start somewhere and people often enjoy sharing stories and tips. Be sure to attend design events when you can. Be engaged. Ask questions!
4 | Work on yourself while you study
A strong sense of self and a good dose of self confidence goes a long way. If this is something you need to work on, there’s no better time than while you’re doing your course. Take this time to become confident in communicating ideas and presenting your work – practice on friends and family. Film yourself so you can see where you might need to improve. Design studios expect graduates to have the confidence to share their ideas.
5 | Perfect your portfolio
Only show your best work and don’t be tempted to include things just to fill up space. Start and finish with your best projects – that way you’ll make a great first impression and finish on a memorable high note. Importantly, let your work speak for itself. Be wary of using fancy fonts, too many colours, or tricky design features. Err on the side of simple design and let your work be the star.
6 | Create a high impact resume
The importance of your resume can’t be overstated as it’s usually the first impression a prospective employer will have of you. Put in the time and effort to perfect your message – be relevant, refreshing and effective. This is something that I’m on hand to help you with. Make the design clean and simple – and proofread, proofread, proofread! Then ask someone else to proofread for you. Always email your resume as a PDF file to preserve it’s formatting when opened on another computer.
7 | Let your personality shine
The interiors industry is one that values creativity and diversity, so ensure your personality and individuality shine in all you do! Professionalism is important but so is ‘personality presence’. Always consider what impression you’re projecting – during your time studying, in your portfolio and resume, on social media and even the way you write emails.
8 | Get real world experience
Internships and work experience opportunities are undoubtedly the best way to learn about different jobs. In addition to invaluable on the job experience, you’ll be creating connections and gaining something impressive to add to your resume – and it can often lead to a job offer on graduation. Be professional when seeking out these opportunities and be prepared for some knock backs – not everyone is in a position to offer internships or work experience.
9 | Be proactive and ask questions
You can miss some fantastic opportunities purely because you’re afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions. ‘Would you consider hosting me as an intern?’, ‘Would I be able to pop in to drop off my resume?’ or ‘How did you score such a great job at this firm?’ are all simple but valuable ways to start conversations that could progress your future career.
10 | Make the most of careers support
When you study with us you can take advantage of my expertise and support as a dedicated Careers Coach. I’m always happy to email or chat with you to discuss your career path and help with your resume. If you’re coming to Sydney make an appointment and we can meet face to face. It’s a competitive industry so the extra support from myself and our Educators is an invaluable and unique resource – use it!