In this interview Ryan MCleod talks about how he got his first design job through a clever cv campaign
Tara: Please can you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you work and the type of work you do?
Ryan: I work for a full service digital agency called Equator in Glasgow, Scotland (www.eqtr.com). We do a whole host of digital media based work like websites, campaigns, social media stuff and apps. I’m part of the design team who work on all the concepts and visuals covering a few disciplines but mainly graphic and interaction design. We work with a whole range of companies across many sectors including hotels, energy, financial and consumer goods.
Tara: You got yourself noticed by creating a really clever promotion to get yourself a job out of University, please could you explain what you did and how you came up with the idea?
Ryan: After graduating from my undergraduate degree (Interactive Media Design) I decided that I wanted to stay in academia for another year and do a Masters in Design. It was early in my masters year that I decided my next step would be into the industry of digital design so I decided to craft myself a CV and associated campaign. Before I started coming up with ideas or creating designs, I sat down and wrote out all the elements I needed to consider in my application:
- I wanted a job doing digital design
- I wanted to stay in Scotland
- I wanted to aim high and work for the best company possible
- I needed something that would catch an employer’s attention
- I needed to create something memorable
- My campaign had to have the flexibility to be customised for each job
- The job had to start in September after I had finished my Masters of Design
Taking all this into consideration I started to brainstorm some ideas. I wanted to create an application that was memorable and I felt the best way to do this would be through a physical object. So that even if I didn’t get the job, they would keep the object and I would be kept at the back of their minds until the future. So I decided to go with an object that every office has lots of and something people use multiple times a day, a mug but I couldn’t write my CV and qualifications on a mug. I decided to make my entire application digital as it would be easier to customise and I already had an online portfolio. I sent out the mug with a card inside that said ‘The countdown has begun’ with a URL and a password. The URL revealed a countdown timer, which counted down to the point at which I finished my masters and was available for employment. Once the password was entered it revealed my customised covering letter with the company logo and links to my portfolio, CV, twitter, blog and contact details. I had planned to roll this out across several agencies but in the end the campaign worked first time and landed me a job at Equator, the biggest digital agency in Scotland.
Tara: You have now created a guide for design students and graduates looking for work please could you tell me a bit about it and why you created it?
Ryan: It’s an aim of Equator to influence design education and help students be better prepared when graduating and as a graduate of Art College I feel I have a bit of a responsibility to share the knowledge I have gained working in industry. As part of this objective I have been guest lecturing and tutoring on the Digital Interaction Design course at Dundee University. As part of this I have tried to give the students an insight into agency life and an overview of the processes we use on a daily basis. During one of the Q&A sessions I had I noticed a lot questions about CVs and self promotion. So I decided the best way to help the students would be to create a simple guide to creating a creative CV. Initially the guide was only intended for the students I was working with but I soon saw the potential it had to help anyone looking for employment in the creative industries. After uploading the document to slideshare and emailing it out to all the design courses in the UK there has been
nearly 10,000 views, nearly 400 downloads, 220 facebook likes and 150 tweets about it.
Tara: Both you and the company you work for are trying to have an impact on design in education, please could tell me what sort of things you are doing?
Ryan: Equator have been working with a couple of other Universities, sending in members of the design team to talk to the students about industry life and tutoring the students through creative briefs as part of their course work. This work and the CV guide are starting points in having a positive impact on design education and something which Equator is aiming to build upon in the future. In terms of the guides, I have already created a second guide on inspiration that will be getting released shortly and I have been speaking to more students about what kinds of guides they would like to see next. The plan is to develop a site to showcase all these guides and create a useful resource for students, graduates and anyone else who might be interested.
Tara: Where can people find out more about you and connect with you?