How do I get my foot in the door as a web designer?
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If you want to create your own opportunities, build some of your own websites and experiment with driving traffic and dabble in affiliate marketing. There's nothing like real-life experience to understand what will bring visitors and how design and navigation influences visitor behavior.
If you want to work with a design firm, you can get your foot in the door with internships or by networking with existing company employees. If you don't have any work experience, building some of your own sites as mentioned above will help to convince prospective employers that you have the skills necessary to succeed.