Friday, March 19, 2010

Perfecting your Portfolio

I Attended a talk put on by AIGA Called “Perfecting your Portfolio.” I have been working on my portfolio for over a year and this talk was a great motivator to get my portfolio finished and stop being such a baby about it.
The three panelists were Eric Heiman of Volume Inc, Liz Mullally from Apple and Henrik Olsen of Hot Studio. Here are some highlights from the talk, and a few added comments by yours truly. . .

-People are less specialized in their skill sets
-Most jobs are looking for a well-rounded designer

-Research the companies you want to work for, make sure they are right for you. Don’t send an interactive portfolio to a greeting card company, that will just make you look stupid.
-Think about the type of work you do and how it relates to the company you are applying to
-Don’t waste your time applying to companies that you really don’t want to work for
-Have good core design skills, and an open attitude
-Have good people skills and business skills

-snail mail (make it cool or you are just wasting time and money)
-Don’t send large attachments or any attachments if avoidable, they are annoying as hell.
-In your e-mail include a link to your URL, and resume
-If contacting an in-house operation go through the right channels (ie. Recruters, staff)

-You should have your portfolio in 4 formats: web site, PDF, interview portfolio, and a leave behind portfolio. All should carry the same look and feel. The interview portfolio will be an interactive portfolio with you and the interviewer. The leave behind portfolio needs to have more descriptions about your work because you won’t be there., doi!
-Your portfolio has 10 seconds to make an impression: GO!
-Relate your projects to their projects
-Make sure to include your perspective about your work
-Judge your portfolio by the worst piece in it, if one piece looks like crap, your whole portfolio is going to be crappy
-Self Edit, show 5 Totally Fuckin’ awesome pieces vs. 15 not so awesome pieces.
-Don’t put in boring garbage just because it got printed, nobody really gives a crap about that.
-Your Portfolio is about your potential
-Don’t let the design of your portfolio book or website be so cool that people stop giving a shit about your work. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).
-Don’t let the writing in your portfolio be corny, good god real people have to read this crap.
-Be clear on what parts of a group project you worked on. Don’t take credit for other people’s work because that makes you a liar, and nobody likes a liar.

-You are a designer so make your resume clear and well designed
-Name-dropping is actually cool on your resume, unlike anywhere else where it makes you look like a real douche bag.
-Just give the facts, no body cares if you like to hike, or that you have 3 cats all named fluffy
-How should we send our resume? E-mail is probably the best way. Include a link where they can download a PDF from your site, nobody likes dealing with attachments.
-Tailor your resume to each firm
-Use common keywords in the descriptors of your resume, if you don’t know any keywords: google it dummy.
-You really don’t need objectives on your resume, they usually just make you sound stupid.
-As a new grad should you include other non design jobs? No, it’s not really needed and nobody cares that you worked at Starbucks or folded tee shirts at the Gap. The only exception would be if design is a second career and you were a rocket scientist in your former job, because that’s just awesome.
-Put your experience section before your education section.

-Don’t show up late for your interview unless you don’t want to work there.
-The interview is about getting to know the interviewee. If someone has to sit next to you for 40 hours a week, they want to make sure you don’t smell like Doritos, or have a weird tick. So let the interviewer know who you are, be confident!
-How do you talk about your work? Can you communicate effectively?
-An interview is a two way street. Ask questions about the company, show you know about the company.
-Let the interviewer drive the interview, they don’t have all day.

-Send a awesome e-mail
-Mail a cool note
-Bribe the interviewer with cookies, beer, or cash
-Keep following up, about once a month

Hope this was helpful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i like your sketches of the speakers
and also this post is amazingly helpful. i heart it!

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