If you’re just starting out in your career, and have no idea how to navigate the swathe of competition ahead – you’re in the right place. We understand that looking for a job might not be the easiest for recent fresh graduates, especially with the COVID situation this year, so this article will provide you necessary tips you can adopt to accelerate your career in the industry. Ultimately, what will set you apart from others will be your mindset. I always believe that while skills can be trained, intangibles such as soft skills like having tenacity, grit, resourcefulness – and basically having the right character is a tad harder. You see, these character traits will be essential in navigating tough situations in the near future. Life’s never a bed of roses, nor is it a movie where all the characters get what they want and live happily ever after. No doubt, there are problems we have to tackle each day – but make no mistake: our attitude and mentality will be the key game changer on how we propel forward in our career moving forward.
I’m a firm believer that we should not be a worrywart, but we need to have the confidence and inner peace to take each day as it is. As long as we do ourselves justice and we know we have done our best, there wouldn’t be any regrets. And even if it’s a failed venture – you can at least say that you’ve done your best, and it’s easier for you to move on thereafter. If you’re keen on the advertising industry, it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. What you can do however, is to take actionable steps to make yourself a versatile creative, who’s always dependable and resourceful.
Hence, let’s go into the 5 ways you can jazz up your creative portfolio:
1. Do more of what makes you happy
(Here are some of the illustrations I do in my own free time!)
And yes, this works. You love to write? Write. You love to design? Keep on designing. Don’t shortchange yourself on the happiness and satisfaction by telling yourself you’re not good enough. I get it, there’s that inner critic that makes you wonder if you’re ever good enough. I’d say comparison is the thief of joy because there’s always someone better. But if you adopt the mentality that you’re outdoing your previous self, this will be essentially more effective – because there’s that personal growth. But more imperatively, life is simply too short to not go after what you want.
2. Build a repertoire of works
Whatever you’ve worked on, big or small – squeeze what you can out of it. Write down whatever ideas come to your mind – have a habit of journaling so you keep track of your thoughts. Don’t discount yourself and instead, be proud of who you are and your achievements. Consistency is key. You do not have to be great. You just need to be good, every single day – and you’ll eventually become great. Success doesn’t happen overnight – I’d say it’s a good mix of luck and opportunity, but the first thing you need to put in is the hard work so that people can get to notice you. Remember, it’s a process. And life is a marathon.
3. Brand yourself well
Now that you’ve applied the above 2 points, it’s time to consolidate what you have into a solid portfolio online. Branding is so important and I can’t stress this enough – this will help you get your hiring manager’s attention. You may either upload your works on Google Drive, but if there’s a certain look and feel you’re gunning for – you may choose to host your website on Squarespace or Wix and get yourself an official domain. It will be a great channel to blog about thought leadership articles on your personal webpage and to showcase the kind of artwork you’re capable of producing. If you’re a minimalist – opt for clean visuals, that’s high on natural lighting for the perfect laidback vibes. If you’re a little whimsical/grungy – showcase some of that personality in your website. If you’re sassy and intelligent, and you know it – show it.
4. Take on Internships
If you’re pretty fresh, and have no experience whatsoever – take an internship so that you’ll be exposed to an array of brands and projects you have to work on. This will edify your portfolio and also give you the rough feel of your job scope and what the industry is like. No two industries are alike, but they certainly do have their distinct cultures. Having the chance to mingle with your seniors and ask them more on their experience will be great in terms of setting your expectations right and getting the relevant insight you need. This will effectively help you plan ahead for your career advancement, once you understand how the industry works.
5. Remember, the devil is in the details
Always check through to make sure whatever you’re presenting is thorough, and suited for the job description. You want to make sure what you can deliver and your skill set matches up to it. Sloppiness and being lacklustre is a no-no because you want to make sure your repertoire of work stands out. Eradicate grammatical or spelling errors, just because you can, and you always should. Always go the extra mile to showcase your talents – because it’s 2020 and there’s no need to be paiseh if you can deliver well on your job.