With a Masters in Fine Arts under her belt, a career in marketing just didn’t feel right for Shillington Manchester graduate Jess Mosoph. More and more she felt the pull of graphic design and finding self teaching not paying off, Jess turned to Shillington. After graduating from our part-time course, Jess started the job search whilst turning her hand to some amazing side projects. She soon hunted down a job at Dinosaur, a favourite of hers that she had presented on at Shillington. Knowing she had to stand out from the crowd, Jess took a fresh approach to the job application—but you’ll have to read on to find out more.
We caught up with Jess a few months after she started at Dinosaur to talk about her time on the part-time course, taking on side projects after graduation and, of course, that extra special job application.
First up, why Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?
In all honesty, Shillington was the only course I properly scoped out. I had tried a couple of times to self-teach and it was hard to gauge—even if I was covering the basics.
After a chat with someone in the design industry, who had spoken highly about Shillington graduates, I attended an Info Session. I got a great feeling and from that point, I knew I wanted to apply myself 110% to the course.
What have you been up to since graduation? You recently got a job with Dinosaur?
The time between now and graduation has flown by, but yes, I landed a job at Dinosaur. As a lover of side projects, I’ve been doing a whole bunch of things to branch out into the industry. Some of the highlights include attending an online program with M&C Saatchi London, developing concepts for quick-fire briefs, attending online events and recently participating in the #happytohelp initiative which offers help and support to the Class of 2021 during the pandemic. I feel all of which has been influential to my ongoing design journey.
Your application was a little different from normal—and included a love letter. Can you tell us some more about that? What you did and how you did it?
It sure did. The application consisted of everything you’d expect; except I swapped out the cover letter for a love letter. Already being a big fan of Dinosaurs’ work (I did my #ILoveTheseGeniuses at Shillington on them!) and knowing that other advertised roles had around 500 applicants—I knew I had to do something extra special. I wanted to come up with a way that genuinely displayed my excitement and ambition.
To start I’d noted down key points from Dinosaurs’ website, and “emotional connection” was an important outcome for their work. With time being of the essence, I put the wacky ideas to one side and narrowed it down to something I could achieve with confidence. At that moment the love letter was formed!
How have your first few months at Dinosaur been? Have you got your teeth (pun intended!) into any projects yet?
It’s been such an enriching experience so far—being hired during the pandemic, Dinosaur has done a great job of virtually welcoming and supporting me while I got into the swing of things. I had a couple of days to settle, then introductions to live briefs started. My working week tends to vary from working independently on smaller seasonal campaigns, to collaborating across the team on bigger projects for Silentnight, Bupa and more!
Can you give some advice on job applications to recent graduates who might find themselves in the same position you were a few months ago?
Always ask for feedback!
Similarly, try to keep in mind that you might not be everyone’s cup of tea—for some studios, you may not be “the right fit”, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. Keep your spirits high and keep on applying. I had received this feedback on a couple of occasions.
Luckily for me, Dinosaurs don’t drink tea!
What were you up to before Shillington? After a Fine Arts degree and Marketing, what pulled you into graphic design?
I think there have been hints of graphic design all along. While studying Fine Art, I took to typographic art, usually with a sarcastic or witty nature, which led to me rejecting the serious side of Fine Art. My degree alongside my marketing experience helped me understand the importance of building a good concept. As a natural creative, I ditched the data and went all-in on design.
What was your favourite brief on the course? Tell us your process!
Personally, I enjoyed the bigger briefs. But the campaign brief and the Soapbox festival were the highlights for me. I had a great time experimenting with the tone of voice and dabbling with copywriting.
Did you face any particular challenges during your course? Can you tell us about them? Obviously the pandemic springs to mind!
Portfolio time in the first wave of the pandemic?
Challenging is a nice way of putting it—even with a year of hybrid (office/home) working under my belt, I was still anxious to see the course move online, but the team at Shillington made the transition so natural.
Everything was put in place to make sure that the classes rapport and vibrant energy kept going. It wasn’t just reassuring, but a positive distraction at times.
Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course? Did the transition online help to make the connections even stronger?
It’s quite hard to answer that question without sounding cheesy! I’ve made amazing connections from the course with both teachers and students. Some are professional and others have formed into friendships, both equally valued. I don’t know if the transition online made them stronger, but we always had high spirits within the group.
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?
If you’re a motivated person and believe you can do anything if you put your mind to it — all you need to do is take the same mindset and apply it to Shillington, they’ll give you all the right skills to hit your goals in no time!
Jess’s story got you wanting to make the jump to graphic design? Learn more about Shillington’s 3 month full-time and 9 month part-time courses Online or on campus in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.