It’s that time again- when students graduate from 2 year portfolio schools, 4 year colleges, getting their MBAs and are looking for a job in advertising, graphic design, web development, planning, copy writing, media buying and account management.
This year, we’re even looking- for one of those “trumpeter swans” that David Ogilvy mentioned in his classic “Ogilvy on Advertising.” Hopefully, they are a skilled designer- who can work in all mediums- print, web, video - but, that’s not what this post is about.
It’s about selling yourself with your book. Which is kind of an old school term for a portfolio- in an age of Kindles and iPads and Droids etc. We’ve written previously about the interview process- having a story to tell, putting your best work together- the advantages of PDF etc in posts that together create the category: “Careers in Advertising.” You can read all the posts (now at 43) and there will be a test later.
However, with the country suffering 13% unemployment- and budgets moving online- things have changed since we’ve written our last how-to guide. So here are some new tips:
- Make sure your stuff works on all devices and all browsers- that means no Flash- which can’t currently be viewed on most Apple iOS devices.
- If you are going to claim to be an expert on social media- make sure you’ve been posting stuff that isn’t stupid- it will be checked. I’m also not just going to see what you said- what you retweeted- but who you follow. Pick wisely- I’m more impressed if you follow @rajsetty or @fredwilson than if you follow someone in the business directly- and if you follow @mrskutcher be prepared for questions why.
- Using tools like QR codes is fine- but, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason- getting a PDF with a QR code makes me get annoyed- if there isn’t a link right next to it- what, you want me to print it out and scan it. But if you do it right- and it adds a lot to your message- like the following- you’ve got a winner
- While I love looking at great work- I’m not impressed by people using these portfolio sites that have standard interfaces: Behance be damned. If you can’t come up with an original site to showcase your work- or have a blog of your own, you aren’t really ready to work in this field. You’ve got to have the ability to do your thing online- or you need to go back to school.
- Be on LinkedIn and have a network. I know you just stopped being a student, but- that cute girl getting an MBA- you want to be connected to her so when she ends up as the CMO of a major corporation in 15 years- you can get your new boss in. Even your parents are potential leads for work- use the power of the network.
- Tell EVERYONE you know that you are looking- and ask them to look for you. While we post our open positions on Craigslist- we’ve been getting more leads from Twitter and even through Facebook these days than through conventional ads. It’s more about who you know than ever- your power to connect is greater than ever.
- I’ve seen arguments about internships, paid and unpaid, but in this incredibly competitive market- now, more than ever, getting in the door, showing what you are capable of, is the best thing you can do- especially if you are trying to get into a “hot shop.” When I first started in this business I offered to work for an hourly rate that barely got you lunch at McDonalds just to get started (this was before the “value meal”- so I guess McD’s wasn’t a value then). I don’t regret it.
- Lastly- have a story. Yes, it’s about the work- but, at the end of the day, after looking at 20 books- the things that stick aren’t your GPA or your one or two killer pieces- it’s that story about how you got interested in this business, met Martin Sheen once, or lettered in Fencing. Personality is part of branding- and being just another pair of hands makes it hard to remember you. Read this book- “Personality not included” or if you need a crib sheet.
And once again- meaning to write a short post- I gave you more than I planned. I apologize for not having time to write a shorter post (and if you know what quote that ties back to- good, someone taught you right)- best of luck. If you are looking for a job in Advertising in Dayton Ohio- don’t forget our directory listing of Advertising agencies that aren’t The Next Wave- ti’s a great resource.
And- after posting this last night- I saw a tweet about 50 things every Graphic Design student should know:
From speaking to friends, colleagues and recalling my own experiences I’ve complied The 50, a list of 50 things I believe every graphic design student should know on leaving college. Some of these points are obvious, others less so – but all are brief, digestible nuggets of wisdom that will hopefully go some way to making the transition from graduate to designer a little bit smoother.
And if you read it too- you can argue with us on some of the points that don’t concur.