For you to fully benefit from this article series I need you to have the following (ignore the paragraphs after each item if you have them):
1. A fully-functional online or offline portfolio
No portfolio is ever complete. It will always be a work in progress. What I mean by a portfolio is you should have something together (without typos please!) and ready to present at a moment’s notice. You never know when you’ll encounter a CD who wants to have a high tea with you the next day. Don’t rush off to the printer the day before. Leave the day before for prepping questions you want to use to impress the CD.
2. A professional email and business card
This was covered in first year but I am aware this has been an issue for a few people. I switch between firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and most industry professionals do the same. I’m not saying this is best practice, but it certainly makes remembering your email easier when they want to offer you an internship.
3. A résumé which has been reviewed by Humber’s Career Center Résumé Review service or some other form of screening
Get your résumé screened for typos and irrelevant content prior to sending it out, and triple check your contact information (well, duh but you never know what happens in the middle of the night right before you’ve been invited to meet with a CD when you’re scraping something together from your old retail résumés). If you have questions for what counts as irrelevant content, feel free to ask. I can write up an article on that if there is interest. Usually it’s just common sense.
4. An updated LinkedIn Account
Your email applications will most definitely be screened via LinkedIn. Make sure it’s updated with the correct information. (Again if there is interest, I can cover LinkedIn and how you should maintain it)
5. A good sense of what an eye-catching cover letter should cover
I will devote a good portion of an article to cover letters but here are some basics if you’re getting ahead of me:
A. Read the job listing
B. Google is your friend. Use it and abuse it.
C. Being concise is beneficial to you AND the poor person reading through thousands of cover letters.
D. Read the job listing
E. Summarize your relevant experience/education and explain how it makes you a great candidate in a few sentences (or less)
F. Read the FREAKING job listing
G. Read your cover letter aloud, to yourself, to your mom, to your siblings and to your grandparents if necessary (goodness knows they’d love to talk to you about something other than doing your laundry and why you need to get a job soon to pay back your student loans…*ahem*)
Before I sign off I must say this: I’m quite serious about reviewing your résumé. You may think it’s good but you don’t want it to be good, you want it to be stellar.
“But Janet!” you cry at your screen “No one ever hires based on your résumé in advertising!”
Let me say this: I was hired in my internships and agency job with my résumé alone. Creative jobs require portfolios, but an inconsistent résumé clearly indicates lack of professionalism, attention to detail and respect for the position being applied for. I’m not asking you to obsess over every word, I’m asking you to demonstrate professionalism and respect.
I will come back tomorrow with another portion of this series as you busy yourselves with these items. Make sure to leave a comment if you disagree, or feel free to email me and I’ll cover your questions in the articles to follow.
Janet is a freelance copywriter and social media consultant currently in her fourth year at Humber College’s Bachelor of Creative Advertising program (aka CABA). She is obsessed with rap, knitting and food.