Friday, May 2, 2008

Creating a Portfolio When You have No Samples

"I'm graduating in a few weeks. I decided four months ago that I want to be an advertising copywriter and I've only taken one marketing class. I have initiative and ideas, but my portfolio is severely lacking because of the short amount of time I've been interested in this. In a few months I'll be moving to Chicago and hitting the pavement hard; what would you recommend about a portfolio?"

Find a way to show your abilities – even though you don't have the education or training of your competitors. Creative directors hire talent over training every time. The best art director I know has a divinity degree.

Lock yourself in a room and start creating ads – print, radio and TV. If you have a designer friend, team up and create ads for both of your portfolios. Make creating ads your full-time job. 

Showing up without samples only leads to the shortest interview of your life.

Come in with around a dozen pieces. You'll need that much to show you have the ability to do the job. Creative directors are not going to take your word for it that you can create advertising. They need some proof.

And be patient. You've gone about this the hard way. Set up informational interviews and get your portfolio critiqued. Then go back, fix what needs to be fixed. And do it again. And again. And again.

Remember, you're asking someone to take a very big chance on you. They're going to have to teach you what you didn't learn in college. You have to possess some serious talent – and drive – to overcome that obstacle.

1 comment:

Alistair Tutton Photography said...

Kevin is spot on with his comments on portfolios. It's a never-ending experience where you are constantly working on creating more pieces and more work to show your new found capabilities.

In the photography realm we often work on developing imagery that follows a mission statement that develops as our skills and interests change. That may be analogous to design; so possibly think of a mission statement to center your portfolio around to make it easy to create a cohesive portfolio.