Monday, February 4, 2008

The Job Search Basic Five

This weekend I ran into Angie, a student at UMKC who heard me speak earlier in the week. She thanked me for the advice I had given. When I asked what helped the most, she simply answered "the basics."

Seems a good place to start. When starting your job search, these are the five essentials:

A Portfolio That Shows Off Your Skills. Your portfolio should consist of 12-15 of your best pieces. Keep in mind, I'm going to judge you by the worst piece in there. After all, nothing else you've ever done is as good – or it would be in there instead. Also, mix up the pieces. Don't show all the ads, then all the logos, etc. Keep the reviewer interested.

A Relevant Resume. I never hired anyone because they worked at Wal-mart while in college. And I damn sure never hired anyone because they were the rush chair for their sorority. Only cover the relevant, such as ad club, the school paper, internships, related jobs, even your ad campaigns class. Those things tell me about you as a creative. If you make me wade through the other crap, I may not see the things that matter to me.

Take Care of the Details. If you don't take care with your own resume and portfolio, what's to make me think you'll take care with my clients? Details matter. Details win or lose the job. Take care of them – spelling, production of your samples, the right name (and spelling) on the cover letter. Don't lose your dream job because you didn't take a few minutes to read everything over one last time.

Professionalism. If you come off as a student (by your dress, answers or demeanor) I'm not going to hire you. You need to come across as a professional. Dress right for the interview. Be prepared. Be polite. Be humble. Send a thank you note immediately after the interview. Act like a professional and I'll see you that way.

Make Me Remember You. If I don't remember you, I won't hire you. Do or show something that makes you stand out. We're interviewing lots of people and, I hate to admit it, sometimes people start to blend together. Be memorable.

There's your basic five needs. We'll address each of them in more detail.


Jodiah said...

Regarding the thank you note, you can e-mail a thank you immediately following the interview, but I'd also follow up with a handwritten note, as well. It's a "detail" thing.

Angela said...

When is a good time to start applying for jobs as a graduating senior?

Also, what are you thoughts about leave behinds... what is an example of an appropriate leave behind and are they a good idea?

Alistair Tutton Photography said...

Darn good post - I would add that it's worth being real creative and appropriate on any initial contact materials.

I've always liked having something that was truly creative and also tied into that person's portfolio coming in the mail instead of the usual cover letter.

Sometimes you see 100+ apps for a job; it's real easy to throw out the average and risk overlooking a good candidate who doesn't start off looking good. Right from the word go you need to look the part of who you want to be.

On the thank-you note do one, write it, the moment you get home. You need the position more than they need you! I write the darn things for almost everyone I meet; sometimes I'm writing ten a day just to make sure people know I care.