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Motion Graphics Designer Job Search Tips & Best Practices

You’ve done your homework: your portfolio site looks great, friends and colleagues have reviewed your resume, and your LinkedIn profile is complete – your personal brand marketing tools are ready to deploy! The next step is looking for a job or assignment.

Motion Graphics Designer Job Search Tips & Best Practices

Given the increasing popularity of using video as a marketing tool and the traditionally broad market for freelancers/contractors in design studios, many organizations are setting up motion design departments or hiring motion designers for that dedicated job title. There has never been a better time to enter this field.

For a deep dive into the how-to process of looking for motion design work, read “The Freelance Manifesto” by Joey Korenman. It’s explicitly written for freelancers, but the tips and tricks work for any job search.

Jobs can be bifurcated into two categories: benefitted (sometimes mislabeled as “full time” or “perm”) and freelance/contractor. Both refer to jobs that typically require around 40 billable hours a week. Freelance/contractor jobs are sometimes mislabeled as “part-time,” which is more appropriately applied to jobs under 30 billable hours a week. Many freelance/contractor jobs are short-term. For example, a motion designer is hired to design and produce a specific deliverable by an agreed-upon deadline or to fill in for a staff member who is out of the office for a specified period.

Another vital qualifier is when the job starts (and ends if freelance/contractor). Recruiters are frustrated by candidates who make it to a final round of consideration, only to discover they cannot start at the specified start date or work through to the specified completion date. Don’t be that guy!

Once you have sorted out the basics, it's time to start marketing yourself to land a job or assignment. There are numerous and varied ways to find jobs, and some processes may work better for you than others – it’s all good. The important thing is to get your foot in the door!

A word of encouragement: finding a job is hard work and requires perseverance. Many times, you will apply for a post that is perfect for you, and you won’t hear back from a recruiter. Unfortunately, this is typical, though perhaps it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone in your experience. It’s a “numbers game,” and you only need to win once. Get your game face on, and go get ‘em!

Where to Find Motion Design Jobs

Luckily, there are diverse places and methods to find motion design jobs:

  • Fire Up Your Network! The easiest and most fun way to look for work is to spread the word among your friends, former colleagues, former employers, people you went to school with, people you have met at conferences and events – basically, everyone you know. Be a sharing machine: mention it to everyone you come into contact with. Many people claim they found their jobs via someone they already knew. It’s also a great way to catch up and stay in touch.
  • Online Searches are really popular these days since they efficiently cull job postings from a wide variety of sources:
    • Dedicated job sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and even Craigslist.
    • Freelance job boards like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.
    • Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. LinkedIn is a great place to network and apply for open positions; they even have an “Open To” button at the top of your profile to activate that green arc around your profile photo, indicating you are looking for work.
    • Most schools and training facilities have employment referral webpages; some even have placement assistance.
    • Social sites like Adobe Behance Jobs.
    • Employment agencies like Robert Half, Aquent / VitaminT, Creative Circle, The Creative Group, Artisan, and Syndicatebleu.
  • Direct-to-Employer Initiatives: this is a bold move. Perform Google searches for the type of organizations or design studios you would like to work with (within the same time zone is a good start), find a contact and a way to contact them directly, and approach them. People are busy, so this is the 21st-century version of cold calling, but it does work. It helps if you have something in common with your contact – social media can help here. Again, it's a numbers game; if you get one response for every 20 or more attempts, you are on your way.
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