How to Land Your Dream Job With the Best Interior Design Firm

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 19, 2018

Oct 19, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Ever wish there was a job that made for the perfect marriage of your HGTV-obsession, your desire for stable income, and a dynamic creative release?

Turns out, there is! The job you're after is none other than interior design.

With over 66,500 jobs in 2018, its good news that interior design is such a desirable field for new and veteran professionals alike.

There are several measures you can take if you're looking to land your dream job at a top interior design firm. For our top 7 tips to get you to the best interior design firm for you--read on!

1. Get Started...Now

One of the most crucial steps toward becoming an interior designer for a top design firm is to get started in your career as soon as possible. And that's not to say that if you're not a fresh high school graduate, your time has passed--it means that, if you've decided to pursue interior design, you'll need to dive in headfirst as soon as possible!

Even before you've chosen an interior design program or decided on your dream design firm, you should take the initiative to do everything you can in order to immerse yourself in the field.

Regardless of what "getting started" means for you--finding an internship, offering interior design consultations for friends, establishing a website and portfolio--start now. The more wholly you submit yourself to everything interior design, the more quickly and aptly you'll learn.

Be a self-starter...now!

2. Get Educated

A beautiful aspect of interior design is that it's something that can be studied and observed and practiced in everyday life. But even so, it's typically crucial that you're also educated in the principles of design and evaluated and challenged through traditional schooling.

Most interior designers at the top firms have achieved a 4-year degree with a major in interior design. The best design schools are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, and you'll want to ensure you check all your potential schools' accreditation status before committing.

For students who aren't entirely ready to leap headfirst into the field, there's also the option of pursuing a (slightly rare) Associate's degree in interior design or simply starting out by getting their feet wet through taking an introductory design course at junior college.

Similarly, students who have already graduated with a Bachelor's degree in a field other than interior design can return to school in the pursuit of a Master's in interior design.

3. If Necessary, Get Certified

Certified? What?? But I already have a degree!

It may seem a little silly or like an annoying hoop to jump through, but it's not uncommon for certain states to have regulations beyond an academic degree that allow interior designers to practice within that state.

Do a little research to see whether your state requires board certification--ask a mentor, professor, interior designer, or a quick Google search for clarification.

One positive side to this quirky sometimes-requirement is that, if you can show up for your interview at a top interior design firm and show them that you're already board-certified, you'll come off as extra-prepared and ahead of the game!

1 point: You.

4. Expand Your Design Skills & Interests

Your academic studies in interior design will surely work wonders for your knowledge and interests throughout the field of design. In most cases, however, securing a spot at a top interior design firm will require a little extra obsession on your part.

Was there a style or subject you studied briefly in class that really stood out to you? Is there a particular demographic or region whose design needs struck you as especially interesting? Dig deeper into that.

Buy all the interior design books you can. Read all the academic and popular articles you come across. Pick the brain of every related professional you meet.

Top interior design firms know the sort of thing you'll learn through your program--it's your job to expand your skills and passions further to demonstrate how committed you are to making a change in the field.

5. Compile a Killer Portfolio

One of the best parts of job searching in interior design is that the field actually requires you to show exactly what you can do. In large part, this allows the job market to be one that functions off talent alone.

In order to showcase what you can do with interior design, you'll need to spend a lot of time compiling and curating a portfolio. Learn more on how to market yourself as an interior designer!

The top firms will want to see evidence of good taste, knowledge, and obvious skill in your portfolio. In order to do this, you should create a portfolio that boasts work from several different projects; from class projects to internship assignments to personal and professional work. You should include before and after images to really demonstrate the transformations you've allowed.

While the physical portfolio is always a great way to go, you might also consider curating a website to serve as an extended portfolio, as well.

6. Network...Then Network Some More

As much as it may pain the world of interior design's introverts, one of the more crucial job search strategies involved with snagging a spot at a top interior design firm is networking.

Networking in interior design, as with most fields, comes in many forms. Networking may mean keeping in touch with professors or previous clients. It may mean taking the initiative to reach out to someone whose work you admire. It may mean joining an organization, like the International Interior Design Association, that'll help connect you directly with other professionals.

If you hate networking, it's okay. Just keep in mind the fact that most jobs are never posted for the public to see--and that, for every interior design position that becomes open, there are loads of other killer portfolios submitted along with yours. Networking is just an extra means of setting yourself apart from the crowd.

7. Find a Firm that Aligns with Your Passions

Securing a position at a top interior design firm is tough. But it's even harder when you're working to secure a position with a firm whose main goals and vision don't align with your own.

On one hand, if you're looking for a job with a firm whose mission is far different than your own interests, it'll be difficult to showcase the right skills, knowledge, and samples to convince them that you're the right fit. Even if you're an extremely knowledgeable designer with a wide portfolio, most firms will know when you're stretching the truth in terms of your passions.

On another hand, finding a top interior design firm where the work feels..."meh" in relation to your interests and skills is probably a sign that you won't be able to commit wholly to the work, regardless.

Find a firm that's a good fit, where you feel excited and at your best!

Want More on How to Find the Best Interior Design Firm for You?

There are lots of measures you can take toward becoming a great interior designer and finding the best interior design firm for you to finally land that dream job!

If you're looking for more information on snagging the perfect job, check out our page!