What purpose does a portfolio serve?
A portfolio is a body of creative work used to showcase your aptitudes, conceptual and creative thinking, and experience. Every graphic designer and advertising art director needs one. By looking at your portfolio, a prospective employer will be able to evaluate your ideas, typography, visualization, composition, creativity, and tech skills.
What about presentation?
The quality of the work is paramount. After that, there are two main considerations:
An efficient and professional responsive web presentation. You also may want to have a printed portfolio or mobile app portfolio.
A well-written and designed résumé
What kind of content does a portfolio contain?
Your portfolio content demonstrates your knowledge, skills and creativity and also lets reviewers know which areas of visual communication (graphic design, advertising, UX, mobile design, motion design, or animation) interest you most.
What kind of job would you like to have and where do you want to work?
Knowing whether you want to present a variety of work or focus on a particular area of specialization is the first step. If you want to specialize in one area of advertising, such as social media, the work in your portfolio should reflect that area of interest.
Consider including a personal project that demonstrates what you’re passionate about.
What is the purpose of designing your personal brand?
Your portfolio presentation, your work, résumé, and any other materials you present define your own visual/written identity, your own “brand” personality. Although you are not a corporation or commercial brand, your materials should have a coherent look and tone.
Your résumé is information design (clear information hierarchy), visual identity design (your distinctive brand) as well as a promotional design project (differentiates you and promotes your capabilities).
What ancillary materials are required for a job search?
Along with an online portfolio and résumé, you need a cover letter (formatted to the specific job). Other materials might include a business card, letterhead, and mobile portfolio app.
Write an elevator pitch. Craft a three-sentence pitch with the following objectives.
First sentence: Draw interest. Hook the listener with an attention-grabbing, active first sentence. The opening line leads to more, pointing to a fuller story.
Second sentence: Content. Engage the listener with content about yourself. Show; don’t tell.
Third sentence: What value you bring—or—the essential takeaway message. What do you want to imprint on the listener?
Write a pithy “About me” statement or bio.
Where can you search for a job?
Many advertising agencies, design studios, organizations and corporations list employment and internship opportunities on their websites. You can use a search engine to find company websites by name, or if you don’t know the names of the studios or agencies in your metropolitan area, you can also use a search engine to find lists. For example, type in “advertising agencies in Cincinnati” or “graphic design studios in Miami” to find the names and links to potential employers.
Keep a running list of work you admire from various studios, agencies, designers, and art directors. Visit their websites to view internship and job postings. You can see professional work in advertising periodicals and annuals, as well as on advertising magazine and professional organization websites.
Subscribe to internship and job listings online on LinkedIn, professional design ad organizations (see below), and employment agency sites.
Check award listings for the names of creative directors, art directors, motion designers, and graphic designers. Follow them on social media channels. Follow agencies and design studios on LinkedIn.
Utilize creative recruiters who do not charge fees.
How should you prepare for an interview?
Know something about the company, especially the kind of work they do and who some of their clients are. If possible, try to get information about the person who will be conducting the interview. Be able to state the rationale for all your projects. Prepare a list of intelligent questions about their company and culture, their process, and the job position.
Read the industry news. Know what’s going on in the industry.
Be ready to honestly discuss your professional experience. Know what salary you are willing to take but don’t ask about salary on the first interview. If they make an offer, you can safely say, “May I sleep on your offer, please?”
Clearly state what value you bring, such as professional experience, internship experiences, skills, credentials, academic standing, and attractive personal qualities, like eagerness, being a self-starter, or being a quick learner.
Be ready with an example of how you contributed to a project.
Best wishes for success!