SIGD’s Unique Approach Yields Strong Career Placement

Auburn University’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design (SIGD) has been hosting virtual career fairs for years, which put the school ahead of the curve when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. SIGD, whose academic programs reach a broad range of industry employers, was the first academic unit at Auburn to host a virtual career fair. This year, the CADC Office of Career Services has continued its unique approach in assisting SIGD students as they search for internships and full-time work.

In 2020, graphic design and industrial design graduates had a 90% job placement rate. In these design disciplines, firms typically hire only when they have an opening for a specific project, so making connections before graduation can be very beneficial for students. The school normally hosts a series called Design Talks where employers from specific industries, like theme parks or furniture or experience design, come to campus to speak about their work to students. SIGD held several virtual Design Talks in Fall 2020 that allowed employers from across the country to interact with Auburn students.

One of the most creative ways Career Services assists industrial design students is its business card package. In their senior year Portfolio class, students prepare for graduation by designing business cards and creating an online portfolio of work. Jalil has the business cards professionally printed and neatly wrapped. She sends the packages to potential employers who can browse through the cards and easily access each student’s portfolio online. “The business cards are such a great way for employers to get to know our students,” said SIGD school head Clark Lundell. “Each card is unique, and the online portfolios look so professional.”

Because graphic design students develop skills for work in a wide range of industries, their career preparation is different from industrial design students. Upon being accepted to the professional program, each graphic design student receives “The Book,” a publication from Career Services that guides them through resumé writing, interviews, portfolio development and job searching. “To compete in the professional creative world, our students need some guidance on identifying opportunities that allow them to align their diverse skills with unique career interests,” said graphic design program chair and professor Wei Wang. “Career Services has been excellent at providing valuable advice to our students at all levels.”

Senior industrial design major Brandon Stephens is excited to graduate and hopeful to land a position at a firm as soon as the semester is over. “I’ve been using Career Services for years,” he said, “so my resumé is polished and I’m ready to interview.”