Portfolio, Portfolio! Wherefore Art Thou, Portfolio?

Remember the days when your resume was enough to get your foot in the door at a company? In 2013 if you are a Creative, chances are your portfolio is more important than your resume. As a recruiter I’m finding that, especially with recent advancements in digital media, having a resume just isn’t enough anymore. Your portfolio is your visually attractive representative, which should speak volumes about you. Ya know, kind of like an online dating: a hybrid of content and images.

Here are a few recurring issues I see with portfolios and how to fix them:

Thing 1: “The User Experience”

User Experience (or UX) is exactly how a person feels about using a system. For example, ever try to purchase concert tickets, or airfare online and can’t find anything you are looking for? How do you feel about that? Probably not motivated to go back to that website, right? Here’s the deal: your goal when creating a portfolio of any kind is to make it as easy as possible to navigate through and get to the areas you are looking for.

Thing 2: “I’m Ready For My Close Up”

Copywriters, listen up. I’m entering your portfolio to review the concepting behind the taglines, short form, or long form copy you have written. Screen shots in super small font are not only frustrating for the individual, but raise concern that you are “trying to hide” your work and just showcase the prestigious client/brand. If I need to move reeeeeeally close up to my computer screen, my first constructive criticism will be to ask you to change the font.

Thing 3: “A Little Make-Up Never Hurts”

Hi again, Copywriters. The reality is this: we are looking at your portfolio to see your content and how conceptual you can be. But a little visual stimuli can go a long way (remember, we want our viewers to have a positive user experience, right?). So, I would definitely encourage you to pump in some color, contrast, images, logos, whatever you think is going to best showcase your sense of individual style.

Thing 4: “Can I Have a Bedtime Story, Please?”

Well hello, Information Architects and UX professionals. In addition to seeing samples of your user personas, workflows, wireframes and sitemaps, I want to see a storyboard. Talk me through the process of “what goes on.” How did you get from the requirements to the end product? Everyone loves a good story.

Thing 5: “Separation Anxiety”

Okay, this is my major pet peeve and it ties into Thing 1. If I’m looking at Copy or Art samples in the Health and Wellness category, it would be a time saver if there are labels which differentiate the Health Care Professional work (HCP) and the Direct to Consumer (DTC) and Director to Patient (DTP) work. Why? Because even though recruiters analyze portfolios, we kinda, sorta need you to spell it out for us. That’s why you are the awesome, talented Creative and we are the Talent Finders. Make it easy for us! Group your pieces in the Health and Wellness category, but differentiate the goods.

So, what have we learned today, class? Make your content easily readable, add a little panache, talk us through your work and differentiate your materials. Why? Because the end goal is to engage your audience and create a positive user experience which will increase the number of clicks your portfolio receives every day.

For more information on job opportunities, portfolio advice, or interview skills, connect with me on Linkedin and get on my radar!

Jana Kleinman Photo
jana kleinman graduated from suny buffalo in 2005 with a ba in psychology and concentration in marketing. she began her career in media buying and planning at Universal McCann and Cline, Davis, Mann in nyc before discovering her true calling as a talent scout for advertising and media agencies. jana pursued a bs from the school of psychology and education at touro while working full time as a recruiter. with 6+ years of talent networking experience, want to get on jana’s radar? connect with her on Linkedin.

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tips for surviving meeting overload

we’ve all been at the meeting that feels interminable. the person in charge is shuffling through papers, or speaking in a monotonous tone, or there’s no end in sight or agenda. or there’s an agenda, but people meander blithely off topic and take merciless tangents. you dream of being able to do something more constructive — like your work.

here are some tips for reclaiming your sanity, and expanding work time:

  1. ask your boss if someone at the meeting can fill you in later, because you’re on a creative roll and don’t want to stop working. extra points for being so inspired.
  2. if the meeting is mandatory, and you suspect no one would buy your “on a creative roll” excuse anyway, then jot down work ideas as you’re listening. just as some people take better notes when simultaneously doodling, you may find paying attention easier when you’re able to simultaneously jot down an idea. be sure to participate in the meeting though, so it doesn’t seem like you’re working on your novel.
  3. honesty is truly the best policy – bosses need and appreciate feedback. if you can’t manage to slip in some work at the meeting, then be frank with your boss and say you need a better balance of work vs. meeting time for your projects. your boss should recognize the magnificence of this request. you should be instantly knighted.
  4. if you have a boss who doesn’t appreciate your quest to work more beyond meetings, and you’re expected to fully participate in lots of meetings by talking and strategizing, then you may have to concede that your job is to be in meetings – at least for the most part.
  5. if you have to work overtime in order to meet deadlines, then you’ve reached that proverbial fork in the road where you must ask yourself if it’s worth it. Ideally the answer will be yes. and that’s how you deal with it. if the answer is no, then join The Copy Lab, network with people from other agencies and recruiters, and find a better job with a more satisfying meetings-to-work-time ratio.

how do you deal with meeting overload? send advice!

by kim taylor

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.

what kind of person becomes a copywriter?

i’ve had a few people ask me if they’re suited for copywriting.

copywriters come in all flavors and sizes, with backgrounds that include playwriting, scriptwriting, journalism, PR writing, catalog writing, sketch comedy, linguistics, fiction writing, editing, marketing, and account management.

do you love words? are you interested in cultural nuances, or psychology, comedy, food, drink, parenthood, childhood, pets, music, fashion, sports, or the arts? if you do crossword puzzles, or know latin, or love film and fiction, or if you’re a polyglot with a gimlet eye for the persuasive, you can be a copywriter.

if you relish slang and love to communicate, you can be a copywriter.

if you don’t mind rewriting and polishing, then reworking, then starting over, then reworking again, you can be a copywriter.

If you can take negative feedback with grace and a somewhat philosophical attitude, if you can sit through long and tedious meetings, and if you can work well both on your own and in teams, you can be a copywriter.

if you get excited by creative possibilities, if ideas spew forth and unfurl like dazzling fireworks, and if the mere thought of being a copywriter excites you, then welcome to The Copy Lab: you are already a copywriter at heart.

if you are a copywriter, how did you know that you wanted to write? what’s your writing background for bridging into advertising?

by
kim taylor

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.