A new year brings new opportunities. Make sure you are ready for them with an updated portfolio! Follow the 6 steps outlined by Behance’s Chief Designer, Matias Corea and you’ll be in tip-top shape. 6 Steps To Creating a Knockout Online Portfolio
I know you have heard it a million times: network, network, network! I also know that the thought of ‘networking’ makes most people’s skin crawl. You hear that word and picture attending an ‘industry event’ and schmoozing your way around a room with a name tag and fake smile pasted on, schlepping business cards and shaking hands… ICK. Well, I have good news for you, it does not have to be that way AT ALL.
It is no big secret the best way to land a sweet gig is through a personal connection or referral. That is why 52ltd works the way we do. We sit down and get to know every person we match with a job and do the same with clients before sending anyone over. If you are looking for your next opportunity, start chatting up friends and old co-workers, people you met at that bb-q last weekend, and your friend’s roommate that has a million friends. Invite them to get coffee or meet up for happy hour. Start a conversation on your way out to float the river, or while you are out on a hike. Ask them questions about what they do, talk about what you would love to do and what you are good at. Just plant the seed so they are aware you are available and looking. Be nice. Be positive. Don’t be a salesman. You are just being friendly and hanging out, getting on their radar.
The Harvard Business Review talks about how networking is the key to breaking in to the ‘hidden’ job market. It really is common sense, and more painless than you think!
What is it about teams that work?
As a project manager I often get asked what makes a team work well together. I tried to distill it down to a few attributes that I think are what matters most.
They communicate directly and respectfully.
That may differ from person to person, conversation to conversation. Building a solid working relationship with your teammates is the key. Understanding that relationship should inform how you cater your communication style to match the situation and recipient.
They are clear with their expectations.
This means making sure each party has heard AND UNDERSTOOD the expectations, just because they are stated does not mean they are heard or understood.
They come from a position of understanding, not of being right.
For the good of the team, put your own agenda off the table. Being right makes someone else wrong. Work to understand the situation together and work together toward a resolution.
They are flexible.
Schedules slip, expectations change, time flies…find ways to work together to deal with change, if you’ve planned properly you’ve probably anticipated the change and can adjust accordingly.
They trust each other.
As we know, trust is earned; you earn it by setting expectations, meeting expectations and being consistent. It doesn’t hurt to be kind.
They deal with tension directly and swiftly.
Don’t let tension fester, if it happens, address it head on, trust that if you have a good relationship with your team you can communicate directly about the tension and work together to move through it.
They have more fun.
Work is called work, not play. Whatever…if you have taken the time to do all of the things listed above, work can and will be fun.
-A note from the ugly PM in the room.
Sure, we all know how lucky we are to work in the creative industry. We get to spend our days making things, shaping conversations, and influencing culture. We get to have those days where its hard to believe we get PAID to do all this cool stuff. Wouldn’t it be great, to every once in a while do all that cool stuff in service of a good cause impacting people’s lives instead of a company’s bottom line?
Burk Jackson, a Portland based photographer sure thinks so. He founded Creative Cares to match creative professionals with organizations in need—locally, regionally and globally:
Every night, 1,500 Portland families with children go to sleep homeless. What these people need is a graphic designer. Yes, a graphic designer, or a photographer, or even a videographer, anyone to help them tell their story effectively. And while we’re at it, they could probably use a web designer, a copywriter, a strategist, and maybe even a PR guru.
So we realize a videographer won’t exactly help put food on the table, and a web designer won’t build a roof over their heads—at least directly. But people, this is the advertising age, and the amazing souls who run the soup kitchens, staff the homeless shelters and work on the home-builds simply don’t have the time, knowledge or skills to keep up with it all. They’re a little too busy helping those in need.
But you know about all of that Photoshoppy, Facebook-y, Drupal-licious, Final Cut-erific, Twitter-tastic stuff, don’t you? You think you could help these nice folks out? They don’t need much to make a major impact: a few photos of a project, a simple blog, or a basic social media campaign. So we were thinking, since you are awesome at all this creative stuff, that it wouldn’t be that hard for you to knock a project or two out in the name of the Greater Good.
Actually, the hardest thing about any of this would be making the time to do it. But certainly you have a few hours to spare for your 1,500 fellow Portlanders who don’t have a bed to sleep on tonight. Right?
If homelessness isn’t your cup of tea, we have a whole bunch of amazing causes that need your help every day. Organizations like the Children’s Book Bank, Donate Life Northwest, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of the Gorge – all looking for wonderful creative folks just like you.
If you do, get in touch with us at CreativeCares. We’ll connect you with do-gooders like yourself who need your skills. The combination of their philanthropic vision and your creative passion is going to be awesome. We can’t wait to see the all the good you’ll do.
So, you are one of the lucky and talented ones that landed a new job, now what? No matter how good the fit, we all go through that awkward getting-to-know-you phase with our new co-workers. Starting off on the right foot can make a big difference in your productivity and success. Today Lifehacker has a nice write up about how to handle being the newbie:
How to Be the New Guy (or Gal) at Work?
Melanie Pinola — Dear Lifehacker,
I’m about to start a new job and I’m feeling a little anxious about it. How can I go about fitting in as “the new guy” at the office and start out on the right foot?
The New Guy
Congrats on the new job—and we completely understand if you’re both excited and anxious. Most of us have been and will continue to experience being that “new guy” (or gal)—in new jobs and as new members of teams.
It’s great that you’re getting prepared beforehand, since the first couple of months can really make a difference on your success and happiness in your new role. Here’s some general advice for getting acclimated:
Learn the company culture. Whether you’re coming in as a manager to shake things up or a staff member, one of the most important things to do is pay attention to learn the company culture and politics.Harvard Business School writes that for new leaders especially, this step requires the most preparation. Observe how others act—the hours they work, main modes of communication, lunch habits, etc. At US News & World Report, Alison Green writes that you could also just ask someone, for example, “How does lunch really work?”
In terms of dress code, look to your boss and choose similar job clothes.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Green says:
Frankly, it’s unnerving when a new employee doesn’t ask questions, because this signals you’re either too shy (bad-how will you get what you need?) or not paying enough attention to realize what questions you should have (really bad). However, to the extent that you’re able, save up your questions and ask them in bunches. This way, you’re interrupting less but still getting the information you need.
Take it slow with your co-workers at first. Listening more than answering is probably the wisest course for any new person. CNN says you should resist trying to impress your co-workers with all your great ideas or past accomplishments. Win them over by doing your job well and keep from being overly gregarious (which could make it look like you’re trying too hard). Soon you should be in a better position to be your true self.
Do, however, take lunch with your co-workers (if that’s the culture) and accept any offers of help.
Check in with your supervisor. We’ve previously mentioned this tip for starting out on the right foot: make sure you check in with your supervisor to see how you’re doing. Don’t wonder in silence, which could make you feel even more anxious.
You should ask your manager for the kinds of goals and tasks you should be accomplishing in your first few weeks—and then meet those to the best of your ability. One of the best ways to make a good impression is to find out what people need or what’s important to the company, and then help make that happen.
Even if you feel like you’re not cut out for the job, fake it ’til you make it. If you have little work experience or are in a new field, it’s normal to feel stupid. But you were hired for a reason, and as Bankrate advises, be the person your employers thought they hired. “Stop feeling stupid and focus on ways you can add value even if you don’t know anything.” That means paying attention to the culture, asking the good questions, and getting those small accomplishments under your belt.
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.
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.