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Original articles from Derek Walker.
 
You Might Want to Leave That Out!
I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in portfolio reviews during the hiring process and heard someone say, "This person has some great ideas, but he or she can't recognize the good from the great." You might think that isn't too bad a comment, but it is deeper than many realize.

You Might Want to Leave That Out!
Quality trumps quantity. Remember that. Your portfolio is an honored place, a place where only your absolute best work resides. It is hallowed ground — the Valhalla for your creative, a place where your greatest ideas are gathered, waiting for that moment when you will call upon them to do battle for you, either in a job or client search.

No One Likes a Know-It-All
“I don’t have a clue what you should do.” ​Here was our biggest client, a Fortune 500 juggernaut, and the first question they asked as the meeting started was, “So, what do you think we should do?” Our CEO said, “I don’t have a clue what you should do.”

No One Likes a Know-It-All
“I don’t have a clue what you should do.” ​Here was our biggest client, a Fortune 500 juggernaut, and the first question they asked as the meeting started was, “So, what do you think we should do?” Our CEO said, “I don’t have a clue what you should do.”

Trust Issues: Can Clients, Employers, and Coworkers Trust You?
“As long as you work for me, don’t you ever hold your tongue when you know that what is being said isn’t accurate or true,” my new CEO said to me across the conference table during the meeting, his eyes locking with mine. The room seemed very small as everyone looked at me, the junior copywriter, as he continued, “I hired you because of your creativity and because you see things differently. Speak up. Don’t let them go down the wrong path.”

We've Made a Mess of Advertising and We're Leaving It for You to Fix
Yeah, we “screwed up advertising pretty good,” but I wrote this because I honestly believe the mistakes of the past can be corrected. I have hope that things can get better. It is going to take a lot of hard work and passion to shift how we inside the industry view what we do, and ourselves, but it has to happen.

Are You Selective When You Sell Yourself?
Be honest. Does every piece of work you've ever done really represent your very best? What you show the world should be a highly curated selection of your absolute finest accomplishments. There’s no room on your resume, on your website, or in your portfolio for work that's "meh."

You’re Fired! Losing a Job is Not the End of Your Career
“I’ve never been fired. I’m that good,” proclaimed the young art director to those of us sitting around the table in the bar. Our creative director’s shoulders slumped and he breathed heavily. I wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else — this wasn’t going to be pretty. The rest of the creatives around the table were all of a sudden very interested in their drinks or ceiling tiles or something other than looking at what was about to happen.

Your Creativity is Not Defined by the Medium You Work In
There’s a school of thought among some advertising professionals and clients that it takes a specific type of creative person to create great advertising for a specific medium; i.e., it takes a great print writer to write long copy or it takes a digital writer to write great digital or... That’s pure crap.

You’re Fired! Losing a Job is Not the End of Your Career
“I’ve never been fired. I’m that good,” proclaimed the young art director to those of us sitting around the table in the bar. Our creative director’s shoulders slumped and he breathed heavily. I wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else — this wasn’t going to be pretty. The rest of the creatives around the table were all of a sudden very interested in their drinks or ceiling tiles or something other than looking at what was about to happen.

You Might Want to Leave That Out!
Quality trumps quantity. Remember that. Your portfolio is an honored place, a place where only your absolute best work resides. It is hallowed ground — the Valhalla for your creative, a place where your greatest ideas are gathered, waiting for that moment when you will call upon them to do battle for you, either in a job or client search.

Your Technology Won't Save You
I remember getting my first Mont Blanc “writing instrument” (that’s what they call it) as a graduation gift. As I held it in my hand, my father said to me, “A fancy pen (I wasn’t going to correct my dad) won’t make you a better writer. It’s only as good as the mind that creates the words. ”

Who Do I Notify as Next of Kin?
I will remember that question for the rest of my life. Before we could start our presentation to our largest client, one of the franchisors sitting at the table stopped us and started to tell us everything he and the other franchisors had agreed that they wanted and didn’t want concerning their advertising.

When You Need to Get Out of Advertising
“Write whatever you are thinking,” was the advice from the people at Talentzoo.com. I had nothing. 2013 was winding down and 2014 was ramping up. Then this morning the video of Leo Burnett’s speech on “When to take my name off the door” appeared on my LinkedIn feed. He is talking about when to take his name off the door, but it is also a message to some of us about when we may need to get out of advertising.

You’re Fired! Losing a Job is Not the End of Your Career
“I’ve never been fired. I’m that good,” proclaimed the young art director to those of us sitting around the table in the bar. Our creative director’s shoulders slumped and he breathed heavily. I wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else — this wasn’t going to be pretty. The rest of the creatives around the table were all of a sudden very interested in their drinks or ceiling tiles or something other than looking at what was about to happen.

Your Creativity is Not Defined by the Medium You Work In
There’s a school of thought among some advertising professionals and clients that it takes a specific type of creative person to create great advertising for a specific medium; i.e., it takes a great print writer to write long copy or it takes a digital writer to write great digital or... That’s pure crap.

Toughen Up. Learn to Deal With Criticism.
Neal Howard is not a shark; he’s more of a Killer Whale. The first day of his class at The Portfolio Center, he moved among the students talking and laughing with us, regaling us with stories of working in advertising, telling us what he thought was great about advertising and what he thought was wrong with advertising. He showed examples of great work and poor work, and explained why he thought it did or didn’t work, but no matter what — he always seem to get a laugh out of us.

Confessions of an A$$hole
Hi. My name is Derek Walker and I’m an a$$hole. I’m not only “an” a$$hole; I’m “that” a$$hole. I know once or twice in my career (who am I kidding, it has been a lot more than that), I’ve caused people working with me to mutter, whisper, or even shout, “That a$$hole!”

Selling Ourselves Short: Why Ad People Need to Charge What They're Worth
Although I am a creative, I like to think that I am also a businessman (there are days I wonder about that). I understand that the economy is rough, and it feels like there are more agencies and creatives than there are assignments or jobs. However, we have to understand that by constantly lowering our rates or fees, we cheapen our brand in the eyes of our target.

Not Everything Deserves to be in Your Portfolio.
Your portfolio is an honored place, a place where only your absolute best work resides. It is hollow ground - the Valhalla for your creative, a place where your greatest ideas are gathered waiting for that moment when you will call upon them to do battle for you either in a job or client search.

Creativity is the Ad Industry's Secret Weapon
“Creative” has become a dirty word to some. It represents work that is pretty or clever but lacks substance. Advertising people use the word “creative” like it is a curse or a slur. Pitiful. That just shows that some do not understand what creative is and what it can do.

The Reports of Advertising’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated
Isn’t advertising supposed to be dead by now? I mean, wasn’t interactive, digital, social, or whatever supposed to kill off advertising? Wasn’t technology supposed to usher in a new era of creative that would be authentic and user driven? So, what happened?

Overexposure: Be Selective With Your Online Portfolio
“Stop showing all of your goodies; give them a reason to get to know you,” I overheard the older lady tell a group of young ladies. I guess she was giving them life advice, but it got me to thinking: Advertisers need to stop showing all of our goodies.

Do You Deserve 'A' Level Talent?
Every now and then, I get curious and check out the employment ads for creatives. You know, the job listings online and in the trade publications. And very quickly I’m reminded why I started my own shop. Folks have lost their “ever-loving minds!”

Career Advice for Creatives on Starting Out

What Advertising Can Learn From...Well, Advertising

Your Creativity is Not Defined by the Medium You Work In
There’s a school of thought among some advertising professionals and clients that it takes a specific type of creative person to create great advertising for a specific medium; i.e., it takes a great print writer to write long copy or it takes a digital writer to write great digital or... That’s pure crap.

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