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Creative Organizing for Success
By: Tom Roarty
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If you are a designer, in time you will eventually, if you are lucky, amass a large amount of work that will represent your abilities. It is pretty wild to look through your portfolio even when you are not actively looking for a job, to see the progression of your career. But as an employer, it is not always easy to sort through the visual journey, which may make you a great candidate for a position. So how do you make sure you keep the attention of a hiring manager? Organization.
For years, I have had a habit of adding any design work I have been happy with to my portfolio, which currently resides on an iPad. I have a master section, which consists of all 87 pieces spanning print, digital, and animation. I also have each of my skill sets broken down into mini presentations for specific jobs I may apply for. However, when meeting with recruiters, maybe showing all of your abilities isn’t such a bad thing. The more diversity you have, the more marketable you are. But presenting to a recruiter is much different than meeting with a hiring manager for a specific position.
In a recent interview with a recruiter, I was asked to show all of my abilities to show the different areas I could potentially be placed in. At the end of the very long presentation, the obvious was stated: My portfolio needed to be broken down into sub-sections for quicker viewing. So I showed her the sections I had already developed, but then came the big request: “Can you create PDF files of each of these sections?” I understand that in doing so, any potential employers would be given a streamlined version of my portfolio based on their specific requirements, but after four hours of formatting and organization, I now have my 23-year career spanning 12 categories.
In an effort to save you time, my creative colleagues, my suggestion is if you’re already building a large collection of work that you are proud of, start organizing it now because hiring processes tend to move very fast once things get rolling. Even though you may feel your best work is web-based, if an employer looking for a print designer has to journey through your digital work to see what they are looking for, you may lose their interest.
If you have to send in your samples, send those that are specifically requested in the job description you are applying for. Let the work you show represent your abilities based on the available position. When having an actual sit-down interview, it doesn’t hurt to include your best pieces across a variety of media, so long as they are arranged in a way that gets the viewer the information they want to see first. In the end, the fate of your next gig may be reliant on both organization and speed of delivery, so stay organized to stay ahead.

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