Your first creative job is out there.
let's go get it.

If you’ve just finished Design School - or are about to - and you’re feeling “that feeling” every time you think about finding a job...well, that’s normal. But if you don’t know what to do or where to start, or you’re just walking around in circles worrying and stressing about your future professional life, send me a note.

I can help you get your first real job in the creative industry. Not at a print shop or an art store - but in this business! It can be a daunting proposition, especially if you don’t have a process and knowledge of professional tools. I have helped countless young Designers get their careers in gear and I can help you.

My name is Chris Lyons and I'm a Creative Career Starter. For the past 15 years, I’ve been guiding Design School grads as they launch successful careers at places like Time Magazine, ESPN, Huge, Stink Studios, Nickelodeon, Sports Illustrated, Big Spaceship and lots of regional agencies, studios and corporations. I have over 30 years of creative experience, starting as Milton Glaser’s intern and ending up a Partner and Creative Director at 2 different firms. I'm now a Freelance Illustrator and a Design School Professor. And I can help you do this.

Emerging creative talent is the lifeblood of the creative industry. If you’re not connecting, not sure what to do (and getting nervous), let’s work together and get your creative career started. Have a listen: Then send me a note!


tools to start your creative career


WHAT CAN Creative Career Starter DO FOR YOU?

Without a solid strategy, job searching is hit-or-miss at best (like being one of thousands chasing Indeed and Glassdoor postings...). I will strengthen everything from your agency searches and introduction letters, to your interviewing skills and contract negotiations. And I will also help you with the hard work of improving and focusing your portfolio. My promise is to have you energized and confident as you line up interviews!



week 1:  develop your career launch strategy

What's your plan? We’ll figure out exactly what you want to do and where you want to do it. Then reframe your search using precise, professional tools. Not random job boards.


weeks 2 + 3: portfolio review

We will discuss what goes into a successful portfolio. Creative Directors and Design Directors have certain expectations. You need to understand them and deliver a portfolio that resonates and excites! We will strengthen your existing work, and create new work based on your career goals, then critique your ideas and progress every week.


Is your resume (and LinkedIn profile…) smart, well-written and well designed? We'll get it there. How's your website and your personal brand? We’ll dig in and strengthen the way you look to the world.

week 5: writing THE PERFECT cover letter

You need to nail this and I’ve got a formula that will serve you for all your letters. We’ll look at examples and you will write the perfect letter!

week 6: the interview

How to prepare and deliver - from the handshake to your thank-you note, to negotiating your first contract. You'll be ready!



PORTFOLIO Power hour

We’ll take a SERIOUS look at your portfolio. Send me a link to your site (or a portfolio PDF) for me to review, then let’s spend an hour strengthening your good work, editing, and developing project ideas for new work. If your current portfolio is not ringing the bell, let’s make it stronger. You must have a good book to get a good job!


interview prep session

We'll spend an hour via ZOOM to go through all the steps to ensure you nail this thing. From the handshake to thank-you notes, you will make a strong, professional impression.


cover letter WRITING

There is a right way (and many wrong ways…) to write an effective letter of introduction. You can disqualify yourself with a stinker. Let’s write a strong, memorable note. The format will serve you for all your letters.



Whether you’ve decided to leave your first job or you’ve been “downsized”, it is a big deal and it can stop you in your tracks. Let’s spend an hour discussing and solving this!

I will help get you focused and efficient and energized about your next move. I have worked with countless young designers “in transition” and I know how to get you pointed in the right direction.



How to generate some revenue while you search for a job
Focus is on the business aspects of running a freelance practice: how to price a project, self-promotion and project management, billing and taxes. You’ll need experts, collaborators and mentors - so here’s a primer on how to find it all from a freelance veteran.


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Chris Lyons offers a unique blend of optimism and realism to both inspire students to achieve their career goals and give them the tools they need to make them happen. I wouldn’t have been able to land my job without the interviewing and networking skills he taught me.
— Ben Picard, Product Designer, Action Network

Chris provides a sense of assurance and has an innate ability to instill a sense of confidence in young designers. Let’s be real… we all feel that imposter syndrome. With the countless designers Chris has taught and mentored, he has a unique perspective of where you land in the spectrum of talent.
— Phil Czapla, Art Director/Designer, Kettle, Fjord

Chris Lyons is a staunch resource of support and knowledge. What sets him apart from the average “advice-giver” or mentor remains his tenacity – not just in his own efforts, but in pushing you to achieve your goals in tangible, proactive ways. I leave every conversation or correspondence armed with a game plan.
— Danielle Smith, Assoc. Art Director/Designer, Partners + Napier

How to properly write a cover letter; it’s a small step in the application process, but a crucial one. Chris’ methods not only helped me write cover letters efficiently, but seriously allowed me to get more responses and make connections with recruiters. I’ve shared this secret with a number of colleagues and they’re constantly impressed by not only its effectiveness, but its brilliant simplicity.
— Lauren Mays, Designer, Chase Design

Chris stressed the importance of a consistent personal brand and a focused, targeted portfolio. That was invaluable during my job search process.
— Liz Wells, User Experience Designer, Stink Studios

let's talk

If you are ready to get after the job search process like a real professional, send me a note and we can get started!