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Getting Your First Design Job with Ram Castillo

An interview with
Ram Castillo


When you’re a new graduate or newly self-taught designer, searching for your first job in the design industry can be tough. Applying for job after job with no immediate success can leave you feeling low, and wondering if you’ll ever make it in the industry.

But you’re not alone, and this weeks episode is designed to give you some much needed motivation. Ian interviews Ram Castillo who shares some honest truths about the industry and advice for getting your first design job. We also discuss the most effective approach for finding and reaching out to mentors who can help you reach your professional goals.

Ram Castillo is an award winning Design Director based in Sydney Australia, and is best known for his podcast and blog, Giant Thinkers, where he shares expert advice for emerging designers to be employed.

Interview with Ram Castillo

Ian Paget: I understand that after graduating, your first job was in the mail room at Ogilvy & Mather and I assume that wasn’t a Graphic Design job. I’m curious, how did you go about getting your foot in the door to have a position in such an agency, and how did you go from that position to working your way up to actually start working on Graphic Design?

Ram Castillo: It’s an interesting start to a career when your whole life you’ve dreamt about doing something in the creative industry. And at the time, I studied Art throughout high school as some people do in the pursuit of Graphic Design and then what now is Multidisciplinary Design and in what spurts out from that. For me, I did finish Graphic Design in a design college and the first job that I got out of that was indeed in the mail room as you mentioned at Singleton Ogilvy & Mather, part of the Ogilvy & Mather group.

And I got that simply through a friend of mine who also started with me and his auntie was the managing director of Qantas. I didn’t dissect it at the time, I just went with it. But there is this little thing called networking and it’s who you know that really fast tracks where you could potentially be at. And for me, that was my foot in the door. It was a mail room job and I figured, “Yes, I’ll be collecting and distributing mail as the name suggests.” It was literally a mail room, but I was also changing light bulbs. I would clean the toilets, I would stock the fridges, order printer toner and was really the thing that spring boarded my entire career.

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