Overcoming Career Obstacles: 5 Tips for Women in Graphic Design
If you’re a woman working in the graphic design field, you might be wondering how to maximize your career potential. Whether you focus on UX design, UI design, visual arts, type design, or another niche, you want to ensure that your hard work is noticed and rewarded. Yet as a woman in a technical field, you may face additional challenges.
Lack of Opportunities
In any field where professionals rely heavily on technical skills, including graphic design, women might find themselves at the short end of the stick when it comes to job opportunities. You may feel frustrated if your male colleagues have an easier time landing interviews than you do, or if you’ve ever experienced discrimination at any step of the recruiting and hiring process. In order to open up more doors in your field, you may want to invest in earning your degree.
While there are plenty of people who work in the graphic design industry without a relevant degree, higher education can definitely make you eligible for a wider range of job opportunities. You can even benefit from earning a degree in a related subject, such as computer science. A computer science degree can help you land a lucrative position at a tech company. By enrolling in a program through an accredited online institution, you can enhance your skillset while balancing your other responsibilities.
Passed Over for Promotions
Perhaps you’ve been working in an entry-level position for some time now, and when a managerial position opened up, you applied for a transfer right away – but someone else was awarded the role. Maybe this has happened to you multiple times, and your male coworkers are consistently promoted while you’re overlooked.
Being passed over for a promotion can be very frustrating, but you can take a productive approach to the situation. Payscale recommends creating a professional development plan for yourself outlining what you would like to achieve in the next few years – and if it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to do it at this particular company, it’s time to start seeking out roles elsewhere.
There is a persistent stereotype that women are simply not as competent when it comes to working with technical programs. Although this belief is unfounded, female graphic designers who work on the technical side of this industry might feel like their managers and co-workers consistently underestimate them.
Continuing to polish your skills with technical projects outside of work can help you in this area. You may want to freelance as a side hustle in order to enhance your portfolio – you could try taking on design projects for ecommerce companies, non-profits, universities, and other institutions.
A lack of mentorship can hurt women working in the graphic design field. But if you don’t already have a mentor, how can you go about finding one?
The Muse recommends looking to your co-workers, your family and friends, or your college’s alumni network to connect with a mentor. Look for someone who has accomplished professional goals similar to your own.
Maybe you’ve discovered that you’re making less than your male coworkers, and now, you’re gearing up to negotiate for a higher salary. Asking for higher pay can be nerve-wracking, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll want to come prepared with documentation of the new responsibilities and projects that you’ve taken on since your last performance review. Talk about how you’ve gone the extra mile to provide greater contributions to your team and rehearse your talking points ahead of time so that you feel confident as you advocate for yourself.
Women across STEM fields know that discrimination unfortunately still exists in the workplace, and this applies to the world of graphic design as well. But you do not have to resign yourself to lower salaries, fewer opportunities, or a lack of respect in the workplace. Instead, you can use some of these strategies to reach your full potential as a designer.
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