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Viewing: Resume Application Process Portfolio

The Secret Handshake is an online resource for student designers and young creatives (18-25) looking for insider insight, honest answers and solid solutions to help you go pro.

Stefan Sagmeister
Stefan Sagmeister

Be nice. Most people don’t want to work with talented assholes.

Stefan Sagmeister @sagmeisterwalshFlaunt
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Tobias van Schneider

Slideshows with extremely small images & without any description or any story behind a specific project. Don’t treat your portfolio as a folder where you dump old projects.

Tobias van Schneider @schneidertobias
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Jeff Finley

What’s your specialty? Make it clear the type of work you are looking to do.

Jeff Finley @jeff_finley
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Lotta Niemenen_900
Lotta Nieminen

Don’t overlook the power of well executed presentation. Put time and effort into figuring out the best way to document your projects.

Lotta Nieminen @lottanieminen
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Taylor Vanden Hoek 900
Taylor Vanden Hoek

Do your research. Use the power of the internet to find your way to the decision maker. The time and attention up front will pay off during the interview.

Taylor Vanden Hoek @taylorvdh
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Jason Schwartz
Jason Schwartz

Kill it. No mediocre bullshit. Ever.

Jason Schwartz @jaycrimesBright Bright Great
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will_bryant
Will Bryant
Get a website. Seriously, you need a website! You don’t have to update all 17 social media/portfolio sites, but it doesn’t hurt to be present on several. The majority of my client work comes from the internet. I try to populate & edit each site I use (behance, dribble, working not working, instagram, twitter, Facebook, and my portfolio) with different projects and glimpses of my process. You never know where work will come from. Also, keep that in mind when posting bathroom selfies.

 

 

Will Bryant @willbryantplz
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Josh-Berta
Josh Berta

It’s better to show fewer great pieces, than a whole bunch of mediocre work. Show systems (i.e. logo, printed collateral, packaging, web, etc.), not one-offs: it’s about great ideas, and how they extend well beyond one singular expression. And show a variety of work: varying styles, varying industries, varying touch points. Again, it’s about showcasing your ideas, not your acumen for one kind of thing.

Josh Berta @prttyshtty
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Jessica Hische
Jessica Hische

I’m a huge believer in a portfolio that’s easy to change and edit. Like a web site, if it’s not easy to update, in the long run, you never will.You’d wind up starting over again in six months, when you have newer, and better, work.

I always try to include a few actual pieces, along with the portfolio—seeing and holding books or packaging inperson is different from seeing it printed out on paper.

Jessica Hische @jessicahischeFlaunt
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Celeste Prevost
Celeste Prevost

Keep it casual. At this point I’m more interested in the person than the work. Keenness, good ideas, great personality. Remember that you’re also bringing something to the table, it’s why they called you in. Don’t forget to ask questions, you’re also there to determine a fit.

Oh, and relax on the compliments! Nobody likes being praised too much.

Celeste Prevost @celesteprevost
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David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy

You can’t bore people into buying your product.

David Ogilvy @ogilvy
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Michael Beirut
Michael Beirut

I look at portfolios more quickly than their owners would like. I can usually—almost right away—tell whether or not someone’s work appeals to me. If I’m reviewing in person, I try to say something constructive.

If it’s a drop-off, or something e-mailed to me, I almost always write a note.

Michael Beirut @michaelbeirutFlaunt
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Dax Justin
Carefully choose your client prospects and have a constant sense of purpose.

 

 

Dax Justin @daxjustin
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cartogram-matt
Matthew Seccafien
In a professional atmosphere, it’s best to keep it professional and treat the “Rockstars” like any other regular person.

 

 

Matthew Seccafien @studiocartogram
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Petrula Vrontikis
Petrula Vrontikis

Not doing enough research about your reviewers. Knowing more about the person looking at your work will help stimulate and guide the conversation. And when you haven’t asked enough questions after the person has looked at the work—this is a missed opportunity to gain valuable insights.

Petrula Vrontikis Flaunt
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Jason James
Jason James

Don’t show shitty work.

Don’t do your own dev unless you really know what you’re doing.

Don’t show only print projects unless you want to be unemployed forever.

Don’t make me go back to the index just to get to the next project.

Don’t upload gigantic images that take forever to load.

Jason James @jas0njames
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daxjustin_2
Dax Justin
Be unexpected.
Lead with confidence, care and passion.
Dax Justin @daxjustin
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Patric King
Patric King

I feel like I have about an hour of attention to give. Anything more than that brings us into the long-meeting zone, and I start to wonder if my clients are calling.

Patric King @patrickingFlaunt
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Petrula Vrontikis
Petrula Vrontikis

I suggest ten to twelve projects, maximum. If projects include multiple components, or fully designed books, eight to ten projects will be enough. One of the main parameters for a portfolio review is limited time. Presenting the work should take a maximum of thirty to thirty-five minutes.

Many designers show, and say, far too much, leaving little time for an authentic conversation to develop.

Petrula Vrontikis Flaunt
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Taylor Vanden Hoek 900
Taylor Vanden Hoek

Don’t assume a resume has to be a piece of paper.

Taylor Vanden Hoek @taylorvdh
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Timothy Goodman

Persistence is great, but don’t be annoying. Learn how to be pleasantly aggressive.

Timothy Goodman @timothyogoodman
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Jeff Finley

Be short and concise. Clean and minimal.

Jeff Finley @jeff_finley
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jon_contino
Jon Contino

I don’t need to see that you demonstrated leadership at your camp when you were 11. Just the important stuff, please!

Jon Contino @joncontino
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shelby_white
Shelby White

Start with a goal for your portfolio because designing without goals is like going to the grocery store hungry.

Shelby White @ShelbyWhiteDesignspiration
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Shaz Sedigh - zadeh

Proudly display your personal projects and experiments that aren’t tied to “9-5  paycheck” work.  It tells the reader a lot about your real passions.  If you don’t have any to display yet, start now.

Shaz Sedigh - zadeh @shaz
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sophia_chang
Sophia Chang

Write clearly. I usually write all my applications in capital letters.

Sophia Chang @esymai
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Tobias van Schneider

Be on time. Be Informed. Infect people with your passion. Bring a gift (this always works). And as my mother always used to say: Be a red sheep.

Tobias van Schneider @schneidertobias
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jessica_walsh
Jessica Walsh

Work your ass off, stay persistent, and be nice to people. Most importantly, have a lot of fun.

When you’re having fun and really believe in what you are doing, other people are more likely to respond to it as well.

Jessica Walsh @jessicawalshSagmeister & Walsh
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Tsh_Jennifer Carpici
Jennifer Cirpici

Become interesting, not average.

Jennifer Cirpici @JenniferCirpici
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Matthew Seccafien
Approach conference speakers/professional designers with something valuable. I’ve witnessed too many awkward, small-talk encounters between headliners and those attending events who want to “Say Hi” in the interest of making connections. Be constructive, ask a legitimate question, or provide an idea to discuss. Valuable connections are formed through sincere and meaningful discussion, not from getting face-time.
Matthew Seccafien @studiocartogram
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Damien Correll
Damien Correll

Brevity goes a long way. Concision in your communication is generally always preferred to the long-winded approach.

Damien Correll @damiencorrell
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Takashi Kusui
Takashi Kusui

In my opinion, a portfolio has to be something you are proud of, and something you can speak about with passion and conviction.

 

Takashi Kusui @tkusuiFlaunt
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will_bryant
Will Bryant
This is probably already on the site, but you should hear it again—only showcase work that you want to be doing. If your web skills are iffy at best, only show web projects if that is a challenge you want to take on.
Will Bryant @willbryantplz
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Armin Vit
Armin Vit

Unless it’s a job to design iPad applications I do not want to see your portfolio on an iPad. I can look at your work on my own iPad in my own time. If you come in to show me your portfolio, show me things, don’t show me JPGs.

Armin Vit @arminvit
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Jason Schwartz
Jason Schwartz

Have a personality and a perspective.

Jason Schwartz @jaycrimesBright Bright Great
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ryan-essmaker
Ryan Essmaker

Don’t follow up an hour or even a day later to see if they’ve received it. Wait at least a week or two to follow up.

Ryan Essmaker @ryanessmaker
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Steve Liska
Steve Liska

We prefer an e-mail with a link to a web site, or sample printed materials. If we like either, we put you on the list of people we will see, so long as you bother to call and follow up. If we are not looking for help, we will try to give a half hour informational interview, followed by referrals.

We are generally honest and straightforward, and will try to help you with the process of finding a first job.

Steve Liska @LiskaDesignFlaunt
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dylan
Dylan Lathrop

Don’t struggle against the work. Go to an extreme where you include everything, then edit it down, edit it again, take a break, edit it one more time. Just kidding, you’ll want to edit it again. Okay, you’re all set now.

Dylan Lathrop @DylanLathrop
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Shawn Smith – "Shawnimals"
Shawn Smith

While your job at an electronics store is just fine, it doesn’t need to be on your resume.

Shawn Smith @shawnsmith
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Tsh_Jennifer Carpici
Jennifer Cirpici

Do not be shy or egotistical about promoting yourself and your work. Just because you do not hear many people talking about self-promotion does not mean no one is doing it.

Jennifer Cirpici @JenniferCirpici
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Josh Smith
Josh Smith

Don’t list hobbies like reading or skydiving unless it is a very interesting part of your life.

Don’t list the computer programs you know. If you can use Photoshop we can already tell.

Don’t put a bunch of marketing jargon about your experience. Use real words to say what you learned and the things you did.

Don’t use weird typefaces, “personal brand logos” or illustrations. You can ignore that only if they are extremely awesome, but it almost never happens.

Josh Smith @joshsmithnyc
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Josh Smith
Josh Smith

Edit.

Even if you are only left with 3 projects. One crappy project will kill your chances. Leave them wanting more.

Josh Smith @joshsmithnyc
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Brett Burwell

Be confident, but humble. This isn’t the place for bravado.

Brett Burwell @ThisIsStatic
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Matthew Seccafien
Passion for what you do and eagerness to be involved in the community are important, but so is self-awareness.
Matthew Seccafien @studiocartogram
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Stefan Sagmeister
Stefan Sagmeister

Your portfolio should be as varied as possible. We are a small company, so we all have a great amount of differing tasks to attend to. I am looking for the same varied qualities in the people I hire.

Stefan Sagmeister @sagmeisterwalshFlaunt
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victoriapater_Tsh
Victoria Pater

Never exceed 1 page.

Victoria Pater @typeis4lovers
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Jason James
Jason James

Keep it to 1 page.

Keep the page feeling mostly full, students tend to have thin resumes, pad it with true things. Have a lot going on: organizations, design collectives, exhibitions, awards & scholarships, & work history. Focus on the typography and layout.

B&W is preferable, comes across as serious and doesn’t get fucked up by shitty B&W printers.

Print it on the nicest paper you can buy, appropriate weight and color, but it should feel nice. Have a plaintext version for online applications. Save it as a PDF, no other formats are acceptable.

BONUS: Have an html/css online version that’s responsive hosted at your domain.

Jason James @jas0njames
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Sam Becker
Sam Becker

The best portfolios can be consumed quickly; they allow the work to speak for itself. In my opinion, it is the best way to gauge a designer’s type and layout skills, because, presumably, they created their portfolio without the benefit of a design director.

Sam Becker @sambeckerdesignFlaunt
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dylan
Dylan Lathrop

Don’t think you are being a pest when you follow-up on an application. Give them time, but there is nothing wrong in seeking information on a potential job.

Dylan Lathrop @DylanLathrop
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jessica_walsh
Jessica Walsh

Seek out studios or creatives you’ve always admired, and figure out a way to work or learn from them.

Jessica Walsh @jessicawalshSagmeister & Walsh
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