IDEO is an international design firm that's based in Palo Alto. Getting a job there is hard as a new grad, but if you love innovation, it's something to aspire to.

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Are you fascinated by innovation? Do you run out to the store when BusinessWeek publishes their issue on the 50 Most Innovative Companies? (Blatant Self-Promotion: Read our new article on how magazine lists can help you find a job.) Almost all of the companies on BusinesWeek’s list are companies that deal directly with consumers, whether they provide products or services, but IDEO is different. They serve businesses by helping them innovate through design. You’ve probably bought many products that IDEO has had a hand in, but you likely attributed the innovations in the product to the manufacturer. Think again.

IDEO is truly a different kind of company, and we don’t feel we can do it justice with just a little blurb. For an introduction to IDEO, read this BusinesWeek feature article on IDEO from 2004. After you get through that, visit the IDEO home page and poke around for a while to get a better feel for the company. Be sure to look at their locations, their portfolio, and their about page. Each of these pages has a multitude of links for you to visit with engaging text and photographs. You may also want to check out how IDEO is working to build a better bicycle or what life looks like through the eyes of an IDEO consulting design engineer. IDEO truly is a fascinating company with amazing ideas; we could read about them all day.

As for jobs, IDEO’s actual Careers page does not have a lot of information. Hopefully browsing around IDEO’s home page will give you a pretty good sense of what it’s like to work at IDEO. Many of the positions that are listed on their Careers page require 1-3 years of experience, but especially in the design industry, it’s possible that you have developed significant relevant experience while in college. These are the positions that we think may be worth a shot for someone who is about to graduate.

Palo Alto
Web Developer
Junior Interaction Designer
Key Client Coordinator

San Francisco
Entry Level Desktop Support

Business Development Coordinator

Entry Level Desktop Support
Recruiting Coordinator

Renderer (Dead Link)

IDEO is currently transitioning to a new online applicant tracking system, so there may be some confusion on their careers site. In the past they’ve welcomed applications for unlisted positions, but we don’t see that on their site anymore. It’s probably still worth a try.

We think getting a job at IDEO is probably a long shot, especially for someone fresh out of college, but if you love innovation in design, a career at IDEO is something to aspire towards. Why not try now and see what happens?

Note: On April 21st we revisited entry-level jobs at IDEO.

Links to Help You Begin Your Research

What do you know about IDEO and its innovative ideas? Tell us in the comments section.

We've identified IDEO as having career opportunities in the following categories:

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