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From design graduate to design employee

You’ve graduated…so what happens now?

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We had done it. After 3 years of drinking, listening, learning, crafting, constructing, worrying, stressing, (and of course, a little bit of crying) we had reached the finish line; graduation.

Norwich Uni Graduation

Graduation day for Alisa (pictured in the centre) at Norwich University

Various stories and rumours had been passed around during our time studying so I was pretty sure I had it sussed. “Let’s go smash some interviews, be great interns and get hired,” I thought to myself. Interview > placement > job. Continued by a career in a world-class design studio. Sweet.

I didn’t anticipate that the following 7 months were to be the hardest I’d ever have. Or quite how little I knew about… anything.

While interning, naturally, you experience rejection; something I underestimated the difficulty of handling. And with every goodbye came more pressure for the next. Why wasn’t I hired? Was I not good enough? What could I have done better?

I interned at 6 different companies. These ranged from two weeks to two months. Some were amazing and others not so much. But the knowledge I gained over this time was fairly mind-boggling. I didn’t have a job, but I had learnt that no two companies were the same, and had realised that, in my haste to find a job, I hadn’t been thinking of what I wanted from my future employers. So looking back over the months, I thought about what I wanted:

Great people, great passion, strong morale, a sense of community, a constant strive to be better, and of course, great work.

We are: Looking for fantastic minds – Junior Designer. As with a lot of design agencies, I’d heard rumours about Bulletproof. “They’ll work you hard! Say goodbye to your free time!” But frankly, I had worked hard and late at almost every placement for 7 months! Bulletproof were creating amazing work, and after watching the intro video on the website, it looked like somewhere I wanted to be. So, I went for it.

I applied, had an interview, and within a couple of weeks, I was in the Bulletproof studio. My first week came and went, where I found myself ticking each one of my mental tick boxes. I was welcomed, challenged and appreciated – a combination I hadn’t experienced anywhere else. Within the first week, I didn’t want this to be another ‘hi and bye’ scenario. I wanted it to be a ‘see you on Monday!’

So I tried hard. I worked with great people and learned more in two weeks than I had done in months. And thankfully, as I started to see the dreaded end of my placement approaching, I got the amazing news – I had been asked to become a fellow Bulletproofer! Woohoo!

I now know what a ridiculous amount I need to still need to learn, that it’s going to take a long time, and there’s a long journey ahead! But I’m so glad it’s started and that it’s with such a talented and united agency. I really couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Alisa Barter

Blog post written by Alisa Barter, junior designer and Norwich University Graphic Design Graduate 2013.