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How does a cartographer sell herself as a graphic designer?

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#1
Mapper71

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I graduated with a geography degree in 1995 and have had a job in the mapping business ever since. I started freelancing on the side back in 2009, but as of May this year it has become my only work and not much of it at that. Since full time mapping jobs are basically non-existent, I have been trying to find a full time job in the production artist/graphic design field. I feel this is the logical next step since I am familiar with Adobe Creative Suite and the publishing industry. I've applied for about 50 jobs in the past 5 months and have only been asked to interview for one of those and that was a photo researcher. I didn't think I had a chance at that position as I've never done anything like it, but my resume was enough to get me in the door for an interview. I didn't get the job, which is no big surprise.

Anyways, my question is how does someone who has done nothing but basically maps get people to see past the cartography aspect and realize I can do more? It is hard to sell myself with my resume because they can't get past that the only thing I've made is maps when they need someone who can do brochures and print ads, etc. I understand Photoshop and Illustrator very well, but have just never had the chance to use it for any other job. I did some flyers for a friend and added those to my portfolio and also did a few graphs, but that doesn't seem to do much to sway anyone when there are so many graphic designers out there who can do so much more. Are there other job avenues I should be going down instead where my map background would work better?

#2
David Medeiros

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I have had the exact same thoughts myself and often do job searches based on Adobe CS skills. These invariably turn up graphic artist jobs and although I'm adept at Illy and PhotoShop, I'm not really a graphic artist. They usually want a large design portfolio and for you to be able to hit the ground running. My impression of GD is similar to that of cartography, knowing the software is only a very minor part of it.

Still, I'd suggest that if you want to go this direction you look for the most entry level jobs you can (even internships) and sell them on your value for not needing software training. Look for Craig's List ads wanting small design job help and start to build a GD portfolio. You ay even want to make some projects up just to use as work samples. Good luck!

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#3
Mapper71

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I have had the exact same thoughts myself and often do job searches based on Adobe CS skills. These invariably turn up graphic artist jobs and although I'm adept at Illy and PhotoShop, I'm not really a graphic artist. They usually want a large design portfolio and for you to be able to hit the ground running. My impression of GD is similar to that of cartography, knowing the software is only a very minor part of it.

Still, I'd suggest that if you want to go this direction you look for the most entry level jobs you can (even internships) and sell them on your value for not needing software training. Look for Craig's List ads wanting small design job help and start to build a GD portfolio. You ay even want to make some projects up just to use as work samples. Good luck!

That's exactly the same boat I'm in. I can't draw freehand worth a darn so I can't call my self an artist. I visited a creative hiring agency where I spoke with someone and she said that a production artist role would be great for me as that just entails putting pieces together and not drawing anything. I guess that's what I'm aiming for. I've also done some art editing so I am kind of looking for work in that area as well, but that's also very limited. It's editing, but only editing maps and illustrations, not text, so editing is also very limited.




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