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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.

Shawn Smith – "Shawnimals"
Shawn Smith

Overly corporate emails are boring and weird.

Shawn Smith @shawnsmith
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Damien Correll
Damien Correll

Edit, edit, edit. Don’t be afraid to cut a project if it is not the direction you WANT your body of work to head in. Even if it flexes some skill or boasts some big brand’s name.

Damien Correll @damiencorrell
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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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David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy

You can’t bore people into buying your product.

David Ogilvy @ogilvy
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Josh-Berta
Josh Berta

Don’t lie. I’m not even a fan of exaggerating or glossing over potential shortcomings. It’s ok to talk about challenging circumstances you’ve had with clients, bosses, or teachers, as long as you’re fair and truthful. Present them as learning experiences, and explain how that knowledge now informs your choices as a designer, an employee and what you believe will be a good fit with an employer.

Josh Berta @prttyshtty
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Josh-Berta
Josh Berta

Many young designers tend to “brand” themselves. I’m not a fan. Avoid over-designing it. A resume is meant to communicate clearly and efficiently, not be a showcase for creative excellence.

Josh Berta @prttyshtty
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Jeremy Wisecup
Jeremy Wisecup

Create something for yourself, by yourself. It shows craftsmanship—an ability to create something from a blueprint. If well-executed, it will land you a job. After all, it worked for me.

Jeremy Wisecup
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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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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

Only show work you like, or you’ll end up being hired to do things you don’t like.

 

Victoria Pater @typeis4lovers
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cartogram-matt
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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sophia_chang
Sophia Chang

Play with the name of job titles. Studio Intern, you may write Fine Art Studio Assistant. Make yourself sound a little fancier!

Sophia Chang @esymai
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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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Allan Yu
Allan Yu

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get the job, sometimes it’s not you, it’s “them.”

Except for the people on this site, in that case it’s always you.

Allan Yu @allanyu_SVPPLY
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Adrian Shaughnessy
Adrian Shaughnessy

It is important not to have too much. As a general rule, don’t show more than one or two examples of the same sort of work—if you’ve designed three logos for three bars, only show one or two.

Adrian Shaughnessy @AJWShaughnessyFlaunt
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shelby_white
Shelby White

Be interesting, but be yourself. Your resume doesn’t speak a thousand words, you do.

Shelby White @ShelbyWhiteDesignspiration
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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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victoriapater_Tsh
Victoria Pater

Never exceed 1 page.

Victoria Pater @typeis4lovers
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Jeff Finley

Don’t focus too much on yourself. Your online portfolio should showcase how you help your customer.

Jeff Finley @jeff_finley
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Will Bryant
Be interested in what you’re doing, talking about, and who you are talking to.
Will Bryant @willbryantplz
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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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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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tsh_shaz
Shaz Sedigh - zadeh

Don’t make someone have to dig around to figure out what you do.  Clear copy for readers to see is always best.  If you are a conceptual art director, call that out.  If your are a hands-on designer, make that clear.  If you do both, mention it.

Shaz Sedigh - zadeh @shaz
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Jason Schwartz
Jason Schwartz

Stay on your grind 24/7. Always keep your work online. Always be available. Always be on the lookout.

Jason Schwartz @jaycrimesBright Bright Great
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Jason Schwartz
Jason Schwartz

Apply intelligently. There are no sure-things when it comes to getting a job, but everything you do RIGHT, puts you ahead of someone who did something WRONG.

You have 10 seconds to make a killer impression. Apply intelligently and don’t get weeded out for the wrong reasons.

Jason Schwartz @jaycrimesBright Bright Great
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Jason Schwartz
Jason Schwartz

I don’t give a fuck if you were a lifeguard in 2009. Unless you were the lifeguard at Pentagram, kill it off your resume. There has never been an instance of a design agency being like, “Oh my god, you we’re a lifeguard? Me too! You’re hired.”

Jason Schwartz @jaycrimesBright Bright Great
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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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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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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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Petter Ringbom
Petter Ringbom

Don’t include work just because it’s real. The fact that something was actually printed and used doesn’t make it more valuable.

Petter Ringbom @PetterRingbomFlaunt
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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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Nkrumah Ferrar
Nkrumah Farrar

Learn how to merchandise your work. The pieces in your portfolio may very well be outstanding, but if you don’t get the thumbnail right, I’ll never click through to see it.

Nkrumah Farrar @nkrumah
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Shawn Smith – "Shawnimals"
Shawn Smith

Be succinct, use proper grammar, and triple check your spelling.

Shawn Smith @shawnsmith
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Josh Smith
Josh Smith

Be smart about it. Keep it simple. They only care about the portfolio.

Josh Smith @joshsmithnyc
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Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson

Ideas, followed by great ideas, and yet more great ideas hot on their heels. We can teach people how to use design software—it seems much harder to teach people how to have ideas.

Michael Johnson Flaunt
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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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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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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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Armin Vit
Armin Vit

Proofread.

Lay it out like if it were the last piece of design you will ever do. In other words typeset it nicely. Use hierarchy. Make it easy to browse.

Armin Vit @arminvit
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Jessica Hische
Jessica Hische

I’ve seen some amazing and intricate portfolios with crazy die-cut covers or hand-bound edges, but in the end you should try to create a portfolio that makes your work look best.

It’s not always the flashiest one that is best suited for the job.

Jessica Hische @jessicahischeFlaunt
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Tsh_Jennifer Carpici
Jennifer Cirpici

Don’t forget to sleep and spend time not in front of a screen.Stay healthy.

Jennifer Cirpici @JenniferCirpici
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Stephanie Landes Burris

Lose the objective statement. Instead, try a really quick, engaging profile statement that captures who you are as a designer AND a person.

Stephanie Landes Burris @stephthetwit
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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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Jessica Helfand
Jessica Helfand

A resume that is poorly designed tells us that you are not detail conscious, or that you are incapable of making sound judgments about something as marketing- specific as a resume when left to your own devices.

It is easy to overlook, and impossible to dismiss, since your resume, left on the interviewer’s desk, is the sole reflection of you once the interview is over and you have gone home.

Jessica Helfand @DesignObserverFlaunt
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daxjustin_2
Dax Justin
Carefully choose your client prospects and have a constant sense of purpose.

 

 

Dax Justin @daxjustin
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Steve Liska
Steve Liska

We look for thoughtful ideas and problem-solving abilities. Then we look for breadth of visual styles, project types, mediums, and good typography.

Steve Liska @LiskaDesignFlaunt
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Adrian Shaughnessy
Adrian Shaughnessy

People who talk too much and think you have unlimited time to spend.

Having said that, I’m very sympathetic to job seekers. It’s not easy, and a certain amount of pushiness is required. I like folks who are determined, and it’s a good sign when they happen to know something about my studio—it appeals to my vanity.

Anyone who has plucked your name out of a list without having done any research is committing a grave, and common, mistake.

Adrian Shaughnessy @AJWShaughnessyFlaunt
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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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Bud Rodecker

Don’t mount your work on sheets of glass, or any other tricky presentation method. Just like your resume treat your portfolio like a design problem… The purpose of your portfolio should be to frame your work. Don’t let it overshadow the work inside.

Bud Rodecker @budrodecker
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Armin Vit
Armin Vit

Follow the rules, the process.

Follow-up. There is no shame in wanting to know what’s going on. Call and ask. Be polite. Ask if you should call again.

Armin Vit @arminvit
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