Interior Design Graduates & My Meghan

Last summer I was lucky enough to have an amazing intern from my alma mater, James Madison University.  Her name is Meg Short and she recently graduated from JMU's interior design program.  She is such a sweetheart and tirelessly drew floorplans, helped source products, worked on design plans & boards, managed accounts and even helped entertain my toddler.  (She helped me with this project!)  She did everything needed, is souch a quick study, & was always a pleasure.  She's on the job hunt right now and she deserves to get snapped up right away!  (If I could, I would!!)

I'm writing this because I'm blown away by the number of talented design graduates who are looking for work right now.  It's a tough time to graduate and go to work in any field, but especially in this one.  I've been getting lots of resumes lately but am not currently hiring.  But, I'm really struck by the talent & drive and hard work these graduates have.  I feel for them and wish I could give them positions. 

{by Miles Redd via Belle Vivir}...  Just thought we could use a pretty pic

I'm often asked for advice from graduates and I guess mine is this: 
-If sending a resume via email: Make sure the email is personally addressed to whomever you're writing (and only them) and that the information pertains to them/ their firm.  We can smell the "general" query emails and much prefer something that includes an observation or compliment about us/ our firm.  (hee hee you catch more bees with honey! ;)  Also, I delete any mass emails thinking that someone else will respond

-If you can't get paid to do design work, work for free or for a low fee if you can afford it...  I did this when I first decided I wanted to get into the industry.  It's so cheesy but you're getting experience which is a crucial form of payment.  Once you feel you've learned all you can from a low or non-paying position, move on. 

-Hound people in the nicest way possible.  If someone says they'll get back to you and they don't, get back to them instead.  We remember those repeat emailers and I appreciate a reminder.  If I don't write someone back after saying I will, it's because it's slipped my mind.  As long as you're nice about it, we like it when you get back to us.

-Again, if your message is personal and feels sincere, designers will be more likely to send on your resume and letter to designer friends and keep you in mind for future open positions. 

-You can follow up with a phone call if you didn't get an email response.  A graduate called the other day and just had the sweetest personality over the phone and it made me want to help her find a job.

-Stay excited & be optimistic.  It may feel like forever away right now, but your time will come.  You will find a place and with hard work, determination & a constant search for knowledge, you'll succeed.  Don't ever let naysayers get you down and as cheesy as it is, believe in yourself.  There are days when you might feel like giving up, but don't.  (Hell, there are days when I feel like giving up!) It's normal (I think? ;) and it will pass.  You make your own future.

 xoxo, Lauren

ps-  If anyone needs Meghan's info, please email me.  She's the best!!


- said...

I was so excited when I read this post! I'm finishing my last year at JMU to grad in '11 (in Dietetics). I definitely feel for all of the recent grads who are having a hard time in the job market. Wishing your past intern the best of luck finding the perfect place!

Alicia B. Designs said...

I was just thinking this morning that I wished there was some ID blogger advice for getting a job. I am looking too!


Acanthus and Acorn said...

Some very good suggestions. Especially the need to intern for experience factor.

Often it is the interns that get hired first!!!

Anonymous said...


Sarah said...

Great advice Lauren, there is not a lot or any work right now depending upon where you live in the is depressing but I like to keep saying 'chin up' and something will happen with the right ingredients for the job search.

Anonymous said...

Lauren, your words to the grads are truly sincere and inspirational. I think it's great to encourage young kids just starting to make it out in the real world. Thanks!

Olivia said...

Go Dukes! Class of '04. Good luck to your friend!

LindsB said...

Really great advice Lauren!!

Mackenzie Wolfe said...

Thank you for your advice. I am a recent graduate who has been searching for months for a job. I am truly grateful for encouragement like yours. :)