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Applying to a design agency - what is important?


Applying to a design agency - what is important?

A young man arrives unannounced at our office, puts his skateboard on the table and introduces himself: "I'm Huy!" The self-made board is made of light wood and has green wheels, matching our company color. On the underside is written in black foil letters: "half wild. half amazing. "This scene took place ten years ago in our Gelsenkirchen office. What was it all about? A design student from Cologne was standing in front of us, who not only used our company name creatively with his gesture, but also revealed his hobby. Curiosity about the applicant was accordingly high - and our CEO Markus Wild invited him to an interview.

Many interns and a few years later: today the roles are no longer green

At WILDDESIGN, we create one or two new jobs every year , hire freelancers and offer around 15 internships for our German locations throughout the year. Under normal, non-pandemic conditions, we receive several hundred applications per year and look at every one of them. We are able to take on around two percent of the applicants. So how do you manage to stand out from the many candidates?

Courage and individuality

An example of this has already been described at the beginning. The self-confident applicant was able to secure his internship. With a little more effort than usual, courage and individuality, he stood out from the crowd of applicants.

This doesn't mean that you have to develop crazy ideas to get a job. Just a mix of a positive attitude, effort and curiosity is a good recipe for success. For example, very few applicants simply turn up on our doorstep or give us a call. Why not? Certainly not every company likes that, but the creative and design industry is relaxed enough.

Get a taste of WILDDESIGN during an internship

Let's start with the internship: We can always offer a total of five internships at the same time in Gelsenkirchen and Munich. Interested students from all over the world apply for our internships of three to six months. Our intern flat share in Gelsenkirchen is particularly popular. This unusual housing option is attractive for interns: they don't have to worry about their accommodation if they come from far away, and they also have a team to spend their free time with after work. In this way, we have already created intern dream teams from many cultures.

Also good to know: we recruit 60-70 percent of our employees through internships. Former interns simply knock on our door again after completing their studies. So an internship at WILDDESIGN pays off in many ways!

What is the job situation like for designers?

Industrial design is in our DNA and medical design is our core competence. This requires competent product designers with an understanding of complex technical devices. However, our work is constantly being expanded to include other specialist areas: the field is becoming more open, disciplines are becoming broader and requirements more diverse. One design discipline in particular is currently in vogue: UX design. Our need for good UX design is also increasing because, for example, more and more user interfaces are being integrated into medical devices. Dedicating course content, projects and training to UX and UI design is therefore time well spent.

With a generally low staff turnover, we at WILDDESIGN are pleased to have employees who have been with us for many years. So even if your dream job is not currently advertised, we look forward to receiving your unsolicited application.

What matters

How do we select and what requirements do we place on our applicants?

Training & practical experience

During your studies, you will learn a structured approach, which is very important in our industry. When it comes to your previous practical experience, it doesn't matter whether you have top brands on your CV. You can also learn a lot from small or unknown companies. What is particularly interesting is your reflection: why did you choose a station and what did you learn there? Software skills such as SolidWorks, Adobe XD or experience with model making and 3D printers are an advantage for us.

The presentation

The first impression of the application naturally plays an important role, even before you meet the applicant in person. An interesting portfolio with a clean presentation is therefore very important for a successful application. This usually consists of three parts: the cover letter, the CV and work samples in the portfolio. The motivation for the job should come across particularly clearly in the first part: A standard cover letter that could also be sent 1:1 to other companies - or even sent to them in CC - doesn't really convey the enthusiasm for exactly our position. When it comes to the salutation "Dear Sir or Madam", we usually don't read any further.

The form of your CV is also important: we like to see a properly formatted CV. Last but not least, this also includes a high-quality photo. CVs are often graphically illustrated to add a special touch. Better be careful with that! And - templates do not reflect the individuality of the applicant.

Design of the portfolio

Our tip for illustrating CVs and for the portfolio style is to keep it simple. The portfolio fulfills a special purpose:

It serves to bundle and present the creative works and not to create a work of art. - Markus Wild

Design instead of art: A clean and restrained design emphasizes the content and your own skills. If the design does not distract from the content, the typography is restrained and the content is communicated in an exciting way, the portfolio fulfills its purpose.

The right work

We attach particular importance to the approach and selection of the work. What is interesting for us is the design process, the consciously chosen path to the result. Research, sketches, prototypes - the creative path is characterized by trial and error, documentation and explanation. In this way, the design grows before the eyes of the viewer and you are led step by step to the final design. The work shown should be relevant to the desired position and, in our case, demonstrate an understanding of technical ergonomic problems. If you then have medical design projects in your luggage, you have selected the right work samples in our case.

Convince in a job interview

Social skills, communication and understanding are important among colleagues. The interview is your chance to convince us of your skills. Communication is particularly important here. For a permanent position at our German locations, you should be able to explain your work fluently in German; B2 is the minimum requirement for us. We can also communicate in English during the internship.

Applicants can be a bit excited in the interview and should be bubbling over with excitement to show me their great projects. They should ask smart questions and not just recite their memorized story. It's a natural conversation. - Markus Wild

We appreciate it if you have discussed this with us in advance. Honesty is also important: Feel free to address any gaps and problems in your CV yourself and explain them.

Hopefully our tips will help you through the sometimes disappointing application process. If you actually have to wait several weeks for our response, we are already sorry. Unfortunately, it's not always quicker, but we do our best to send all applicants an answer on time.

Good luck with your application!

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