Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Capital D) Don't

I am very trusting, especially when it comes to portfolios. If you are showing me your book and there's a load of work inside, I assume it is yours. I trust it is yours. Why would I doubt otherwise?

Am I too trusting? Are there recruiters out there who keep an ounce of doubt wondering whether every piece inside is actually truly that persons? I never, ever would have thought so.

Until today.

There is a crazy story circling the internet today about a not-at-all-junior creative who has be outed for putting creative work he did not do on his portfolio site. Un-capital B-believeable.

Lots of thoughts are swirling through my mind:
     why in the heck would someone do this?
     have I been looking at bogus work from other people?
     how will I ever know what is truly legit or not?
     how many other people do this?
     why in the heck would someone do this?

Guys, this is never, never, never ok.

First, let's just say you get hired off a bogus portfolio. Day one on the job you'll have to prove your creative chops and when you come up short, you'll be found out anyway.

Second, let's say someone finds out (a la not-so-junior-creative referenced above). And not just someone, a large portion of the advertising community finds out. Well, you can kiss your reputation and hire-ability goodbye. And I will tell you, that is never going to be worth it.

Some advice: Be very clear on attributing who else worked on the pieces in your book. Be very clear about your role on the work. Be clear about what is your original idea and what is not. Be clear about whether you worked fulltime versus freelanced. Be clear on your title and role. Be clear about your salary (that's a whole other blog post by the way).

Be clear. Be clear. Be clear. And, god forbid, do not steal another person's creative work.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Work that doesn't suck

I found this website today, called Student Ad Finds, "Student Ads From Around The World That Don't Suck." Love it.

What a great place to see student work from around the world. Make sure to send yours in for consideration. I know I will be coming back frequently to discover new talent and schools I don't know about yet (Humber College for example).

I wonder, do other recruiters know about this site? Shhhhhhhh.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mix it up

With regard to creative portfolios, I try to express the virtues of being just a bit different in order to stand out. For you, it helps to establish a bit of differentiation from the next candidate. For me, it breaks up the monotony of looking at a billion books.

Kudos to Nick Ciffone for providing something just a bit left of an ordinary portfolio website. Nick sent me a link to his YouTube page, his entire book presented via couple of short videos. 

First, it is always fun to see someone's face in person and hear them talk. You can't really do that unless you have an in-person interview or chat with them over the phone. Very helpful to get a glimpse of Nick without all the hassle of setting up a meeting. Next, I was able to sit and "watch" his portfolio without having to click through pieces and parts. 

I appreciate the short explanation of the work, the music and seeing the visuals scroll before me. Refreshing format, which I am sure a lot of recruiters like me appreciate.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Miami Ad School or the Creative Circus

One of the cool things about writing this blog, is the techno, back-end information I get from the analytics. It shows me how may people read my blog each day. Or should I say how many people land on my blog each day, whether they read it or click right off is also something the analytics shows me.

My curiosity always gets the best of me, and I will look to see where people are coming from to find my blog. I can see if they were referred by another website, who was kind enough to link to me. I can also see what word or phrase they typed into Google, which is often pretty funny.

Here are the kinds of things people type in and get my blog as a return:

how much money do creative directors make
is advertising a good career
friendly reminder email recruiters
how many creatives are in miami (apparently, I might know)
creative directors who suck (this one made me chuckle)
should I use a recruiter

And then, someone did this search: "Miami Ad School or the Creative Circus?"

It is this exact question that helped me decide to open my new company, which offers college counseling to students choosing an advertising or design school. There are so many good schools out there, how in the world can you figure out the differences (without using google)?

Differences like:
Do you want to pay $30,000 or $60,000 or $90,000 or $120,000?
Do you want to go 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or 4?
How up to date is their curriculum?
How supportive are their placement services to help you land a job upon graduation?
Where does the school get their instructors from?
What is their industry reputation?
Are they winning awards?
Is the campus progressive with its curriculum and technology?
Does the city and campus reflect and support creativity?
Will you feel connected and comfortable at the campus?
Do you want a big city experience or a small, home town one?
Is international travel something you want to do?
What are the chances you won't be able to get an internship?
Do they reject anyone at all?
What is the quality of the portfolios from their graduates?
What do creative recruiters really think of portfolios from their school?
What do current instructors have to say about the school?
What do current students have to say?
What do former instructors and students have to say?
Are these testimonials non-biased or are they being filtered by the school?
Will the tuition you spend be proportionate to the value you get upon graduating?

I could go on a lot longer with the types of questions you should ask when considering a school. And nearly 100% of all schools will give you the answers to these questions on their own website or via an admissions counselor.

But, I caution you to look deeper before you make a final decision on a school.

Make sure you are getting at least some of the information you want about a school NOT from the school itself. All schools will tell you how great they are, but you really need to back that up with non-biased information, from someone not associated with the school.

Next time you feel the need to google "this school or that school," click here first.