Raymon Sutedjo The
Art Director at Decision Counsel
Raymon is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before landing his first "real" job he had completed two pretty cool paid internships: the first for Orbitz and the second for Edelman.
G2G: When did you know what you wanted to do?
RS: During the first year of college, I had no clue as to what I wanted to do (and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to be in the arts). But after doing a little bit of exploration, I found my niche in visual communication: by the middle of my second year, my mind was set.
In addition to the design education I received in school, I pursued my personal interest in web design in my own time. This eventually came in handy, as it helped me transition from a (print) graphic designer to a web designer.
G2G: What was the biggest challenge about getting hired?
RS: Convincing the employer that you're the best person to do the job was challenging. On the other hand, you need to be careful not to "oversell" yourself and turn your interview into a sales pitch. Doing your research is essential: find out what the employer needs (at least to some degree), and respond to that need accordingly.
G2G: What was your first job and how did you get it?
RS: I started work as a designer at Sender LLC shortly after graduating. I was contacted by Sol Sender after he came across my profile on the AIGA design job board (AIGA = American Institute of Graphic Arts).
G2G: What do you like the most about your current job?
RS: Due to my fairly versatile skillsets, I get to be involved in many phases of a project, and I enjoy the variety of tasks that I'm given. I also enjoy the diverse clientele that I work with.
G2G: What do you think helped you the most during your job search?
RS: I think being organized helped me tremendously.
Try to keep track of your progress throughout the job search, e.g. which job postings you responded to, company information, interview dates, etc. When you start looking for work, things are very overwhelming; organizing your information & resources will help sort things out into more manageable bits.
G2G: What advice would you give college seniors and recent grads who are looking for work now?
RS: I think you should start preparing for the working world while you're still in school. Start building a personal network, be a member of professional associations, become an active presence in the community, etc. Be savvy about your field of work.
It's important to identify your assets and strengths, so you can confidently show the prospective employer what you can bring to the table.
When looking for jobs online, it's a good idea to use specialized job boards if possible (dice.com for IT, coroflot.com for design, etc. The signal-to-noise ratio is likely to be much higher, since the listings are more relevant to your skills and interests.
If possible, do some small freelance projects. These will help sharpen your skills and add some experience while you're looking for a full-time position. Though I do acknowledge that it's easier to find freelance work in some fields more than others.
Being persistent and trying to keep a positive attitude are crucial, though hard to do. Getting rejected sucks, but looking for work is a process that doesn't happen overnight.
G2G: Is there anything about working that surprised you?
RS: Definitely. While in school, much of the emphasis was placed on developing one's skills and creating good (well-designed) products. Although doing good work is still paramount, I came to realize that good management skills, in particular time management and planning, play an important role as well.
G2G: Did you have to negotiate salary when you started or was there a fixed offer?
RS: I negotiated my salary.
G2G: If there was anything you could do different, what would it be?
RS: I would've liked to build an even stronger online presence, so people could find me more easily. I also would've liked to experiment with my portfolio presentation.
G2G: Thanks Raymon. We are honored to have you as our featured "Great Grad"!