Business Magazine

7 Things Portfolio School Grads Should Do

Posted on the 21 March 2011 by Happygrc
In just a few months, those of you who are in portfolio schools will be graduating. High-fives on that. This industry is a lot of fun.
You're probably too busy putting your final books together to even be reading this blog. But for those of you who could use a little last minute advice, here are some of the things the time-traveling version of myself would have told the portfolio student version of myself more than a decade ago:
1. Look for work in any city you can.
Don't limit yourself to a single geographic location. Cast a wide net. Got your fingers crossed for a gig in New York? Fine. But don't rule out Boston, Dallas, San Francisco or anywhere else that might be hiring. I've seen students say, "I'm looking for work in [fill in the blank]," only to spend month after unemployed month in that city, scheduling and rescheduling interviews, hoping somehow, someday a window would open.
Tony Marin's a friend of mine that I taught at the Chicago Portfolio School. He, like everyone else in his class, wanted to land a job in Chicago. And after he graduated, he did some nice work freelancing for some decent shops in town. But then he took a job at R&R in Las Vegas. I don't think anyone in his class even knew there was an agency in Las Vegas. But he moved to the desert and ended up producing some of that great "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" work. Not long ago, he returned to Chicago where he's working as an ACD. He was willing to go anywhere to build a great book. And that let him go exactly where he wanted to go.
2. Check out the outliers.
Every graduate coming out of portfolio school wants to work at Wieden, Goodby, and Crispin. Why wouldn't they? What a great way to start your career, right? But what about Boone/Oakley? Or Walrus? Or Stick and Move? Or Richter7? Or Trumpet? There are great agencies everywhere. Make sure you know about them. And make sure they get a good look at your book.
3. Know what success means.
If there's a downside to portfolio schools, it's the competitive nature that fertilizes the idea that if you don't get a job at a Wieden, a Goodby or a Crispin, you've failed. That's one of the biggest lies you can tell yourself. Go where you can do great work. Might be at Wieden. Might be in Omaha or Baltimore. Take the interviews and find out for yourself.
4. Do your homework.
Know who the leaders in the agency are, not just the marquee names. Know who the writers and art directors on your favorite work are. Find out what the ECD has said in recent interviews. I once read that Teddy Roosevelt would stay up all night before an important meeting reading up on whatever interested the person he was going to meet with. You can at least invest a little time finding out about the individuals you might be meeting with. And in the Age of Google, there's no reason not to know any of this stuff.
5. Be thoroughly prepared.
Make sure you bring a hardcopy book to any interview. Even if your book's all online, you'll be glad you have the backup. Make sure any CDs, DVDs, or apps are working properly the week before, the night before, and the morning of any interview. If you don't care enough to be thoroughly prepared for your interview, how can they expect you to do any better with their clients?
6. Know what you want to know more about.
When you start going to interviews, don't just plan on sitting in the chair like you're on trial. You should be interviewing the agency as much as they're interviewing you. Here are a handful of questions I've usually kept as standards:
  • What's the culture here like?
  • What's the best thing about working here?
  • What's the worst thing about working here?
  • Who's the creative engine of the agency? Would I be working with them? How much exposure would I have to them?
  • What's your opinion of award shows?
  • Say you hired me; what would you expect me to have done within the first six months?
7. Make sure you have your Five Criteria.We've written about this before. Click here to read about your Five Criteria. It's worth your time.
Good luck, grads. And have fun.
7 Things Portfolio School Grads Should Do

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Ralph's Top 10 Blogged Band Chart - as Played on Radio KC - 28.5.17

    Ralph's Blogged Band Chart Played Radio 28.5.17

    Click here for the Ralph's Life websiteTracks from the Top Ten Blogged Bands are played every Sunday 5-7pm on Radio KC as part of Ralph's Indie Show.LISTEN TO... Read more

    6 hours, 1 minute ago by   Mike Lindley
  • Top 3 Ways to Improve Your Health

    Ways Improve Your Health

    I recently listened to an American comedian, who in a sketch was advising a man whose girlfriend had just left him to let her go. "She's not worth it" she told... Read more

    6 hours, 2 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
  • Maria’s Pancakes

    Maria’s Pancakes

    Meal plansGet lots of weekly low-carb meal plans, complete with shopping lists and everything, with our premium meal planner tool (free trial).... Read more

    6 hours, 59 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
  • Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2017 Preview: Zac Brown Band Top 10

    Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2017 Preview: Brown Band

    If you love country music, and you love festivals, and you love to party... then Sunday night at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival is def. going to be your... Read more

    7 hours, 30 minutes ago by   Phjoshua
  • My Envy Box May 2017 Unboxing

    Envy 2017 Unboxing

    Hello everyone, what’s up? How are you surviving this heat? I fell sick so many times while I was out in the daytime. Please drink lots of fluid and stay... Read more

    7 hours, 36 minutes ago by   Jhilmil D Saha
  • Holiday Beauty Prep • Made Easy

    Holiday Beauty Prep Made Easy

    We are fast approaching the summer holidays where the only stress of our day should be deciding what cocktail to order. Hot sunshine, white sands, crystal... Read more

    7 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Kellilash
  • Softening the Edges

    Softening Edges

    This post will probably be of interest to anyone who is growing trailing plants, such as tomatoes, courgettes and squashes, in containers. Read more

    7 hours, 55 minutes ago by   Mwillis