A guest post by Tom Savage from www.3desk.com

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You pick pixels and place them in perfect patterns: Graphic designers are some of the most commonly used freelancers or temporary workers in the market. Yet there are also a lot of them around and sometimes that creativity doesn’t always stretch to winning business.

At 3Desk we have more designers than any other type of freelancer. In this article I will explore some methods for helping you find work in your local area:

Use Twitter

Twitter is very powerful.

It’s not so much about who you’re following and your followers. Engage in conversations rather than start them. Use platforms like TweetDeck – and Hootsuite, which have search features in order to identify relevant opportunities in your area. i.e. graphic design London, or HTML Bristol

Identify keywords that are relevant to your work. Start interacting with people you think are the movers and shakers. If you’re looking for work, ask for people to retweet a tweet asking about work, you’ll be surprised how helpful people will be.

Use Klout and WeFollow (Klout scores are also calculated in Hootsuite) to determine who is worth interacting with and keep a column (meaning a filtered group of Tweeters) of the people in your area tweeting about your sector. Make sure you communicate with them, praise them and show them some love.

Twitter also enables you to interact in a way that you wouldn’t by email – just to say things like ‘love your work’, or ‘can you keep me in mind if you see something like this’.

Twitter is best used a little and often, to keep your network alive, should you need to top up your work.

Use Networks

There are some great platforms to help you showcase your work, which recruiters and employers will use to find people. Try Dribbble, Behance and of course Linkedin.

Most employers now use Linkedin, so remember that although it’s not design specific, it’s very useful. Just because you can’t upload images, doesn’t make it invalid. Use your address book and other networks to maximize your connections. Remember how people ‘search’ on linkedin, so ensure your skills and summary are up to date.

Don’t post everything you’ve ever done on these sites – less is more. You want to leave enough to pique interest, but not so much that someone might decide they like some, but not all of your work.

Your own website

No-one is going to hire you on the back of your own website – they’ll communicate with you first. Too often I’ve seen websites that are poorly put together. This can do more harm than good. Make it minimalist. Link to your other networks and remember to hold stuff back to wow people when they get in touch.

There are plenty of great blogging platforms like WordPress that can be used to present your work in a clean format. Employers are more likely to look at the work you’ve done for other clients, rather than the quality of your site when they are making decisions.

Your CV

Unless you can really improve on the CV format, don’t bother designing something too fancy. It’s better to focus all your attention on one place (like your designs themselves). Also remember that if someone is looking through 10 or 20 CVs, if they’re long or all different formatted, they can be more confusing than they are helpful. You might not even have to write a CV if your website, or your other profiles are good enough.

Good luck and if you have any additional tips, please do comment below.

tom savagerTom is an award winning entrepreneur and runs a site for local freelancers called 3Desk www.3desk.com. He also blogs on simplicity at www.simpletom.co.uk.