Just out of design school?
Get on the path to the job you’ve always dreamed of.

Searching for your first design job can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a process and tools in place. Being one of thousands chasing Indeed and Glassdoor postings is not the most effective way to do it.

Creative Career Starter courses teach you strategies that strengthen your job searches, introduction letters, interviewing skills and offer negotiations. And most importantly: focus and strengthen your online portfolio. So you can be confident as you line up interviews for jobs you’re excited about.

Creative Career Starter courses will help you:

- Clarify what you want to do as a designer

- Confirm what city or region you want to work in

- Identify and connect with the right firms and the right people

- Establish a consistent personal brand so you look professional

- Strengthen and focus your online portfolio to get the job you want

- Focus your resume so it’s relevant to the type of work you want to do

- Write smart, memorable cover letters that get responses

- Ace the interview process with confidence


tools to start your creative career


WHAT CAN Creative Career Starter DO FOR YOU?

As a design school professor working with seniors, I see first hand how overwhelming it can be to graduate and not know the steps needed to land a job that’s right for you.

That’s why I created my courses.

I offer honest, practical insight into what’s expected of young talent from an employer’s perspective gained from my own experience as an agency creative director and partner. As a freelance Illustrator with national clients, I have experience with self-promotion, client interaction and knowledge of what design talent the industry is looking for right now—and I share it all with you in my courses.



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. We will explore legitimate creative job boards, and identify the creative firms (and the appropriate people) to connect with. We will reframe your creative job search using precise, professional tools.


weeks 2 + 3: portfolio review and development

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 personal brand? Are you connected to the creative community in your market? We’ll dig in and strengthen the way you look to the world - and expand your 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. Then we’ll follow up and crit what you do! 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 refocused 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!