5 Ways to Boost Your Value as a Designer

It’s getting towards to end of the year and while for some that might mean holiday mode, it’s actually the perfect time to take your skills to the next level so you’re ready to hit the ground running in 2016. Learn something new, add to your network, broaden your skillset and be more in demand. Here’s how.

1. Brush up your digital skills

Since that lovely invention called the internet took off it’s no secret that digital design skills are high on the checklist for employers and clients alike. Whether you’re an established print-based designer or a recent graduate, keeping up with digital trends is imperative and can be overwhelming given how quickly the field is moving.

If you have a colleague or friend in the digital field try and get involved in one of their projects. Find out how it works and how it was built. Getting a broad understanding is a great start. If you’re looking at delving further into the field, short courses are ideal to help you transition between traditional and digital design.

Image source: Chris Griffiths — Tractor Graduate. 2. Network

The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is well-known for a reason. Plenty of amazing opportunities never make it onto job boards simply because of the amazing networks designers can build up. Events, exhibitions and launches are great places to interact with your peers and designers you admire, and can be a breeding ground of opportunities. Attending these functions also helps you keep up to date with new trends, skills and what’s going on in the industry. You might even get a free feed. At Tractor we love TDK Tuesdays, Creative Mornings and Sex, Drugs & Helvetica just to name a few.

Image source: The Design Kids
3. Podcasts, blogs & social media

Don’t get bamboozled with white noise! Quality over quantity is the key on social media, so be selective in who you follow. Find out who the key influencers are in your area of interest and make a list specifically for them so they don’t get missed amongst any cat videos and dinner plans. Blogs like The Design Files, Creative Bloq and Design Milk can be great as authors are given a chance to go into a bit more detail in their posts. Prefer to listening over reading? Chuck on your headphones and tune into Australian Design Radio (ADR) and Breakout if it’s podcasts you’re after.

Image source: ADR 4. Get a mentor

Mentoring can be an invaluable opportunity not only for graduates but those looking to take the next step in their professional careers. A mentor’s role can range from a career coach to a sounding board, or simply a source of inspiration. For those looking to participate in any programs either as a mentor or as a mentee, check out Creative Partnerships Australia or Incubate.

Image Source: Incubate

5. Work on your own brand

Sometimes with the pressures of client work the presentation of your own brand can suffer. Your own brand defines the personality of your business and your unique value. This can be an amazing opportunity to show your skills and expertise not only to your existing clients but new prospects. Your branding encompasses everything from your website or folio, proposals and online presence. It can be an amazing creative outlet as well as an invaluable professional tool and well worth monitoring and keeping up to date.

Keep an eye out through our social media channels for more sneaky tips and tricks!

Image Source: Giphy

Originally published at www.tractor.edu.au.

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