Finding and Applying for Jobs in Interior Design

Job search

Start your job search by looking at Finding Job tab on this site, for general help on how to find graduate and internship vacancies as well as part-time and vacation work. Use specialist websites and recruitment agencies relevant to your area of work, there are some suggested links in the right hand column to get you started. Don’t forget to consult the university career websites in the city or region where you wish to work. 

Speculative Applications

Speculative approaches are generally more effective ways to find jobs in the design/arts industries.  A speculative application involves approaching a company about the possibility of working for them rather than applying to an advertised vacancy. It could be an effective way to bypass the huge number of applications that any individual company may receive to one advertised vacancy. Also remember that many SMEs (small medium sized companies) very rarely advertise vacancies as they receive sufficient speculative applications to recruit in this way. Design Directories such as The Directory of Design Consultants can provide a useful list of companies to approach. 

Top tips 

  • Research the company you wish to approach
  • Tailor your CV/portfolio to reflect their work
  • Contact the company to ask for the name of the most appropriate person to email your application to – this demonstrates initiative!
  • Ensure that your email (cover letter) is well written, articulate, demonstrates your knowledge of the organisation/gallery and your desire to work for them
  • Follow-up your email within a reasonable delay with a phone call if no response is forthcoming


Graduates who have studied a design degree will be expected to produce a well-designed CV. However, it is important to strike a balance between creativity and professionalism. The primary purpose of a CV is to demonstrate how your skills, knowledge and experience match the qualities that the potential employer is looking for. This can be best achieved by giving clear examples (using the STAR framework) of how your skills and experience make you the ideal candidate. 

Please note: The general rule for CVs is that it should be no more two pages long, but the majority of employers in the creative / media industry prefer a one page CV. Employers will be more interested in your portfolio as a means of deciding whether to invite you for interview or not. 

For more information and advice on Creative CVs see the CV section or look at the Creative CV booklet (PDF) 

Portfolio Advice

They showcase your work and demonstrate your innovative and creative skills. When appropriate, do not forget to include a portfolio link on your CV. You will be offered a work based on the strength of your creative ability all of which will be evidenced in your portfolio of work.

Key points to remember:

  • Whenever possible try to provide information on the conception, development and realisation of your project.
  • Research the company/gallery before sending your portfolio - identify their main area of work and ensure that your portfolio is relevant and highlights your strengths.
  • Organise your work in a coherent and logical manner: show the progression.
  • Quality not quantity - present your best and most relevant work at the beginning and at the end of your portfolio for the greatest impact
  • Remember to add the link to your CV or cover letter (email).
  • Make it available online via your website or blog

Artsthread offers online portfolio service for graduates and there is a great section on portfolios from Brighton University


There is no such thing as a standard interview. Employers will have developed their own interviewing techniques which best meet their criteria for recruitment. For some, interviews will take the form of a one-to-one informal chat with the main focus being placed on your portfolio. Others may involve a more formal panel interview and a requirement for you the interviewee, to deliver a presentation. However, whatever style of interviewing is adopted it is likely that you will be asked a mixture of generic and job specific questions all tailored to examine your suitability for the job.

Typical interview questions may include:


  • What do you know about this company / gallery /studio?
  • What are you looking for in a company?
  • Why are you interested in this post?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Can you give an example of when you have dealt successfully with a conflict of interests?
  • How well are you able to prioritise tasks – can you provide an example?
  • What personal qualities can you bring to this role and the company in general?

Creative industry specific

  • Can you provide an example of when you have successfully followed through a creative/innovative idea from its original concept until its successful launch/exhibition?
  • Give an example when you have presented your work to others and have had to deal with critical questioning from your audience. How did you approach your responses, and how successful were you in arguing your case?
  • How is your work influenced? / What are the main influences in your work?
  • How do you measure your own creative/design success?
  • What major issues are currently affecting the creative industry?

There is further information available in the interview techniques section and a range of helpful videos on the Career Player site.

Current issues in the design industries

The best way to keep abreast of the latest factors influencing or affecting the creative industries is to read regularly, specific trade newsletters and publications, and consult related professional organisations/associations. Employers will expect graduates to be aware of relevant current issues as well as the latest and forthcoming sector exhibitions and events. They are likely to assess your knowledge and understanding at an interview. In addition to area-specific skills it is very important that you are able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the commercial aspects of the work you are or will be involved in.

The links below will help you keep up to date with the latest industry news, trends and events.

Chartered Society of Designers UK professional body for designers

British Institute of Interior Design professional support, development opportunities and education

Design Council – advice into all aspects of design, career progression and life in design

Last modified: 
Monday, July 16, 2018 - 15:53