Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Portfolios aren't just for Creatives

I was an OC Ad Fed Career Night panelist last week and was asked about the importance of portfolios.

If you are a creative, this is like asking the importance of air. But, for non-creatives, I am finding more reason to believe a portfolio is a great idea.

In fact, in 1998, when I interviewed for a print production job the manager asked to see my portfolio. I was like, whaaa?? She wanted to see a sampling of all the things I had printed, which seems obvious now. At the time, I naively thought portfolios were only for creatives.

Even if you are straight out of college and no real work per se to feature, you could still create a portfolio of sorts to differentiate yourself from the candidate pool.

Take Lauren Murphy. She's in her senior year at UC Riverside, scored an awesome internship at Innocean last summer and has a passion for innovation and product design. Her portfolio site helps to showcase her critical thinking skills together with her creative side.  This is tough to do in an 8.5" x 11" white piece of paper we all call a resume.

Lauren's site gives a peek into her personality, has very cool formatting of experience and skills, links to the projects she worked on during school and an option to download her resume. An excellent showcase for someone looking for a position outside the creative department.

If you are interested in planning or art buying or account, you too could find a way to create content to showcase during an interview. I guarantee you will have such a different experience if you reference your portfolio site during the interview.

For instance, if you are interested in photography and a possible job in art buying. Wouldn't it be great to start researching photographers and shooting styles now? You could show what photographers you are inspired by and state why. You could collect and display samples based on different possible clients or brands. Now I am just making this stuff up here, but I can tell you if a young grad met with me and pulled out this great photo reference they'd been working on, I'd be blown away by their initiative and passion.

Think about your resume and the type of job you want to go after. Is there a way to translate it into a portfolio and give a bit more depth to what you're all about? I am certain those who take this step stand a head and shoulders about the rest.

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