After College Portfolio Tips

So you’ve graduated college and you don’t know what to do. I’m sure I’ll be there in a couple years, but HEY! congratulations you made it.

A few months ago, I had a little seminar/chat thingy with a professor who gave me some tips and tricks on what to do afterward and I thought I’d share with you.

  • Step One: A real career
    • Is it right for you? Do you have roots anywhere? Travel first. Once you get a career, you’re locked in.
      • But a gap in a resume can be killer and draws attention
    • Location: it’s all about your personality, you have to like where you live.
    • Experience with Reservations: don’t get a soul-sucking job
  • Step Two: Welcome to the Jungle
    • What type of gig is it? Don’t appear too desperate when hiring, then you’re easy. Different jobs are connecting points to each other and the latter up.
    • Opportunity: you can have a day job that will support you until you can get to your dream job
    • Culture: Does the company care about their employees? Beware of gimmicks that get you to stay, lack of dental insurance in exchange for free coffee.
    • Are they connected? Big names à working with each other à it’s who you know
  • Step Three: Finding a Job
    • Indeed.com
      • Taylor the portfolio for the company
      • Make it as personal for the hirer as possible
      • Try to drop it off in person; physical rather than digital
    • Shutterfly? Other printing sources
    • Glassdoor.com
    • “Headhunters”… like Creative Circle
      • Pretty much sells you to companies
      • It sucks that the system is rigged, but it happens
    • Network!!!!!
    • Go to visiting artists
      • Don’t be a rude.
      • People want to work with people that they get along with
  • Step Four: Common Creative Gigs
    • Freelance
      • Pro: Your hours, your money, you choose, build your name
      • Con: Client is the boss, TAXES, inconsistency
    • In-house Industry
      • Pro: Doing something you love, clocking in and out (most places don’t pay overtime), moving up
      • Cons: Consistency, politics, glass ceiling, company pace
    • Creative Agency
      • Pro: Creative living, variety, good pay, great opportunities
      • Cons: Small fish big pond, design culture can suck, trust in leadership
  • Step Five: Present Your Work
    • Know the market: be prepared, double check, present your work, don’t be vague
    • Fake it ‘til you make it
    • Student work: have you peaked? Continue to work, work outside of class
    • Portfolio site, is it updated? It should be about the work that you want to do.
    • A little mystery is okay, but don’t go crazy
    • 10-16 pages of work…20 maximum; make it efficient
    • Reels: 2:30 or less. Make it good enough that they want to see more
  • Step Six: Resume
    • Keep it clean, HR doesn’t care about your icons; it’s a resume not a poster
    • It’s not fun
    • Make it easy for them to see the information
    • It doesn’t need to be cute or creative
    • Copy and paste will make your life easy
  • Step Seven: Showcasing
    • Know the role you want; assess your clients’ needs
    • Don’t include every piece of work
      • That lucky shot isn’t enough; you have to be able to nail it
    • Photo and video are mashed together now, am I skilled for that?
    • Understand your client
      • Your reel should reflect the clients
    • Music selection can make or break you; play it safe
      • Audiojungle.com
    • Viewer fatigue is real
    • Show work that benefits the employer and the customer
    • Explain your role
      • Context to show how you work
    • A wide range of work is okay
      • Unless you’re going for specific companies
    • Make your portfolio easy to update
      • Make it presentable in every way
      • It’s okay to have different versions of the portfolio
  • Step Eight: Show That You Care
    • Hard work is obvious
      • So is laziness
    • Half of design is marketing and presentation
    • Where?
      • GraphicBurger, Pixeden, Dribbble, PSDCovers, Behance
      • Not all are free, but they’ll be worth the investment and a tax write-off
    • Showcase your work, but don’t distract
    • Don’t put it on a loaf of bread just because you can
  • Step Nine-ish: Process and Details
    • Employers hire people for talent…and to make it easier
    • Be a jack of all trades on styles, learn how to replicate and understand
    • Show off your ability to conceptualize and execute in short and long term
    • Have 10 ideas and pick the best one
  • Step Nine-ish: Webheads and Tech Nerds
    • UX/UI people
    • Show that you are a great communicator
    • Employers need to see that you can handle structure and a lot of information
  • Step Nine-ish: Photography isn’t Magic
    • Be prepared to achieve the results you promise
    • Show variety
    • Adapt with new technology
    • Do you know your equipment, lighting, and studios?
  • Step Ten: Interviews
    • Congrats!!! You’re qualified!
    • This is NOT show and tell!
      • They’ve already seen your work and they like it.
      • Bring another portfolio with different stuff unique to the employer/company, if you want to
    • Communication is as a creative is employable
      • Communicate with employers, coworkers, clients
  • Step Eleven: Checklist
    • Printed portfolio (or iPad) ready to go
    • An extra copy of your resume
    • Business card, makes you stand out
    • Dress to impress
    • HANDSHAKE
    • Don’t overtalk
    • Be cool, be respectful, be yourself
  • Step Twelve: Interviewing Basics
    • So, why do you want to work here?
      • Research the company
      • Kiss booty
      • Be prepared
    • What can you bring to the table?
      • Note some of the campaigns, expand on ideas, show your own creative thinking
    • What about your process? And your struggles?
      • Stick to the basics
      • Collaborate, learn, adapt
      • Don’t say that you’re a perfectionist.
    • Any questions for us?
      • NEVER SAY NOPE!
      • Ask about their favorite project, challenges
      • Learn
    • Should you follow up?
      • YES
      • Only after an interview
  • Backwards Step One: Didn’t get the Gig
    • Don’t get discouraged
    • Occupy your time
    • Find your stoke
    • Persistence pays off

 

  • Closing Checklist for the Real World
    • You’re outward facing in many ways
      • Control your social media
    • Is your work readily available, how is your brand?
      • Site, reel, business card, resume, portfolio, do they all have the same theme, are they consistent, is it great?
      • Update often
    • Are you evolving?
      • Work will evolve; design and visuals change.
      • Make sure you know the trends
      • Does it look current for what people are paying for?
      • Know what people want
    • Double check the contact
      • Have it simple yourname @gmail.com
      • Make your brand consistent
    • Earn it!!!!
      • Do whatever you can to progressively make yourself better every day.

 

 

If any of this is confusing, comment below so I can clarify for you.

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