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Entry-level prepress position

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  • Entry-level prepress position

    I have just graduated with my associate in desktop publishing. I am very good at Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark and InDesign. I want to get into an entry-level prepress position. I notice that most of the employment positions require or prefer experience. Any advice on how I should go about this and what would be a good starting point for me. Thx in advance!

  • #2
    Re: Entry-level prepress position

    I would suggest starting in a basic prepress role. Here you will learn valuable information pertaining to how different aspects of file design can cause issues throughout the printing process, be it digital or offset. If there is anyway you can get with an electronic prepress veteran (those of us who have been in this since the late 80's) you can learn a tremendous amount about file preparation for printing and usually how to get around different challanges that you will face.

    From my perspective (being on the hiring end) printing is hard to get into without experiance, but be persistent, take what is available even if it is not exactly what you are looking for, just to get your foot in the door. Make sure the perspective printing company you are looking at understands how eager you are to work for them. A willingness to go above and beyond will serve you very well when starting out.

    This will give you experiance and should help you go after the dream job you are looking for (assuming that exists in prepress... just kidding).

    To be successful in this business you need to rise to the top. Work hard, learn everything you can about the software/systems you use, and try to be the best there is at electronic prepress. When everyone else tells you something cannot be done, figure out how to do it. Nothing is impossible, there are just some things we haven't achieved yet.

    You learn new things everyday in this business, be open to new ideas and suggestions and embrace new technology as may be able to help you.

    Most of all don't give up. Be willing to work off shifts and keep trying to get in the door. Follow up resumes with phone calls to HR asking if they recieved your information. Follow that up in a week or so asking if they have made any decisions on hiring yet. If no, call back again keeping your name at the top of the stack. Explain that your the person they are looking for.

    Best of luck and welcome to printing.



    • #3
      Re: Entry-level prepress position

      Hi Lucero87
      Just a quick warning.
      You are entering a very challenging job, most of the times badly paid, full of stress, ingratitude and ignorance
      Be prepared to work with arrogant designers of big agencies who know less than nothing about printing and earn 10 times more that you do.
      Be also prepared for sleepless night and early rises.
      Besides all that I love my job and I wish you all the best
      Just a suggestion
      Try to enter an apprenticeship award.
      They start with a low pay but at the end you gain a great experience.
      Be ready to listen and work hard.
      Good luck


      • #4
        Re: Entry-level prepress position

        Start with Kinkos, Sudden Printing, PIP, Minuteman, etc... I know it seems "small" but those kinds of places you have to learn so many different skills that will really be the foundation of moving into what will eventually be a larger printer. If you're in Montana go see Printing For Less. Talk about an education in prepress... Getting into a small commercial printer wouldn't be a bad thing either.
        Matt Beals
        The views expressed here are my own personal views and are not those of my employer.


        • #5
          Re: Entry-level prepress position

          I may be the only one but I prefer to hire new people, that are smart, know the applications and have good attitude without experience. If they are intelligent I can teach them to do things the way I want them to work as I was burned few times by "experienced pros" with their attitude and arrogance: "I know what I am doing since I've been doing this for X years" or "that's the way I've been doing this for years and nobody complained" ...


          • #6
            Re: Entry-level prepress position

            I also started at a community college and took their graphics program (I didn't decide to enter the printing business until I was in my late 20's and luckily it was after computers were just starting to be used heavily). I now am at my second printing company. The first I was at 1.5 years and this one I am in my 12th year. The first one I made 8 bucks an hour and this one ALOT more than that. I also have 3 weeks paid vacation, excellent health benefits and a company profit sharing program. I love the company and enjoy coming to work. I love working with designers who don't know diddly about printing. The way I look at it, it's job security for me to constantly fix all their problem files. I guess it's all relative. I've heard of printers who over-work and under-pay and consider myself lucky to be where I am.

            Good luck!
            By the time I walk out of here, I'm going to be a lean, mean, prepress machine...


            • #7
              Re: Entry-level prepress position

              My only advice would be to ALWAYS be looking. I have made every advance in pay (other than a buck here or there) via moving on.
              You are never really appreciated as much as you are when you are gone. In 1997 I moved up $4 per hour PLUS another $2 per hour via
              cheaper medical just for moving to another company. Was I worth the $6 more per hour back at company A? You bet ya. However, they did
              not realize it until I was gone. Next move 3 years later went up $3 per hour.
              Try and get a $3 per hour raise from where you are. It just does not happen.


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