Marketing and Self-promotion Notes
Information provided by Andy and Kath Penaluna. Adapted from an online tutorial by David Denny.
The value of work
Ex Student’s Comments
HM Customs and Revenue Requirements Ex Student’s (Anonymous) Comments
Ex Student’s Comments
Standard Two-Page Printed CV One Page Summary CV On-line CV's Ex Student’s Comments
Guide to Job Hunting
Ex Student’s Comments
Hunting the Hidden Positions Ex Student’s Comments
Portfolios and Presentations
Ex Student’s Comments and Professional help
Coping With Interviews
Ex student’s Comments Professionals and Interviewers comments
Contacts in the Design world
Ex Student’s Comments Contacts in the Design Chart The Stages Of Design Procedure Chart
The Professional Brief Ex Student’s Comments
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The value of work
1. Costing and estimating, where do you start? It is true to say that the most common question asked by ex students is as to how much they should charge for their work.There is no straightforward answer to this. It is always a good idea to do a competitor scan to see what others are charging (as per your business planning in level 2) but the perceived value of a good and well-known designer will always be way above the amount a recent graduate can charge. Let's not forget how productive a professional with many years experience can be compared to a recent graduate. Your portfolio might well impress a potential client or customer, but they will almost certainly want to know what a similar job would cost, or how long it would take. You in turn, should know the value of your work and how much you are worth! College life does little to prepare you for this. Most students are far less productive than the industry demands.This above all things is one of the biggest shocks that students get when they leave. A typical project given in college may have a few weeks to complete; the real thing would probably have a few days if that! How many times do you hear “time is money”? The expression is particularly relevant in a fast moving industry like Graphic Design and Illustration…with all it's print deadlines and tight expectations of clients.
You will never have it as easy as you have had it in college! If you were asked to be specific about the exact number of hours spent on your projects to date, could you do it? Most probably not! From here on you will have to keep a record as an integral part of this module. It is the only way to learn how long things can take, something you need to be able to estimate and calculate into costing of jobs. You should keep a weekly timesheet; design an appropriate one for your diary.When you are recording your work try to note what different tasks have demanded in respect of time. At the end of each week you can then see how long different tasks have taken. After the first week take a look ahead at what needs to be accomplished to finish your project.Take one week away from the deadline to accommodate unforeseen problems, and then set your own interim deadlines.These will give you some guidance as to how well you are getting on. Leaving it all until the last minute is guaranteed to create big problems in college, but just wait until you try it in real life when additional work can be out upon you at any time. Your employer or client will most likely want to know how this will affect deadlines, how will you are able to answer?
2.What should you charge for? The actual job of designing and producing artwork can surprisingly end up as a small part of your business day.This is especially so if you are freelancing. Other considerations are: • Meetings • Letter writing • Phone calls - both time and cost of calls • Travelling • Making changes - invariably last minute! • Creative thinking and job consideration Material costs also need to be logged to keep a track of them. Once again in college this might be fairly minimal but in real life there are many overheads that will need to be taken in account (please refer to your business plans for further guidance on this).
3. How much will your time be worth? Again a difficult question to answer. In simple terms you can see the salary range that is being offered to graduates in job advertisements and use these as a guide. A £15K figure after tax may only be worth around £12K after taxes and deductions. Lets ignore those for one moment and use the figure as a guide only.
After considering how many weeks holiday you would prefer, say 4 weeks, you are able to guess that you will be working for only 48 weeks of the year. Let us assume the norm of a 40-hour week as well. By simply dividing the £12K figure by 48 we can see that £250 per week is a reasonable amount.Take this a step further and divide it by the 40 hours that you intend to work in a single week and you arrive at a figure of £6.25p per hour. As a basic guide you can use this calculation to put a value to your work. Please bear in mind that this does not take account of any taxes and deductions that you should normally pay. In practice you will not be productive those full 40 hours but will have administration tasks and many other duties such as responding to enquiries, keeping computers going and updating software etc. etc..
4. Conclusion Using this lecture as a guide you are now in a position to put together your weekly schedules of cost and estimated interim deadlines.You can only learn from direct experience so get used to this structuring of your time right now! Create a Gant chart as discussed in the lecture.This will identify the time that you have left for each of your projects with time slots allocated for each task that you still need to do. Spot-checks will take place to ensure that you are doing this...you have been warned!
The value of work
Ex Student’s Comments What to expect? Being asked how you would cope with tight deadlines? How long would it take to design and create a full colour brochure, booklet, advertisement or even a website? Mark Goulden (Businesslink)
Ben Hutchins (Teletext New Media)
ok number one thing i can't stress enough is DON'T BULLSHIT, designers, printers etc who have been in the trade for years can smell a liar at ten paces, it annoys them loads because it's a waste of everybody’s time and their time is expensive and precious (at college, time is not a real concept), just be honest and tell them your knowledge but also your willingness to learn new software, techniques, show them that you're a quick learner and prepared to learn in your own time. (it benefits you)
Never be to shy when asked your Salary expectations but make sure it's not stupid request. Also make sure you ask about any benefits. Most companies offer plenty of these; company car, pension, health care, travel expenses, etc.
Know your worth !! Don't go into the company with a rough idea of a wage, have a fixed one, a realistic one. Remember, the highest bill the company pays is a wage he will pay you the minimum, its a business not a charity.
Colin Higgins (Century Media) Never, ever discuss your wage with anybody within the company. In my 1st job, i made the social blunder of doing this faux pas and the bloke I told was 40 and had been in the company for 5 years, I was on £1000 more than him and he consequently stormed into the MD's office demanded a raise and didn't get it.... everybody was not best pleased with me!!! buenos dias keep chillin'
Martin Stopher (Kingston Technology) Do some market research, what are others charging? Never cost below the value of the work... work out an hourly rate, don't just dream it up! Be prepared to back it up... write it down! Don't work in a third world country like me, you learn a lot but you ain’t got no cash!
Aron Cserveny (VMF Hoffman) Being able to quote a figure for my work got me in I was told. Students are generally lazy b******s and don’t think to bother.Would you send your car into the garage without asking for even an estimate? Course not... use your brains and cost it out now guys!
Stuart Palmer (Manchester United Interactive)
Anne Scourfield (Blacksheep / Hello Advertising)
What can I say about work? The biggest thing I’ve noticed is the timescale for projects, there’s not enough time. Deadlines can range from a couple of days to half an hour. I don’t often get time to mock up ideas, I design as I go.
…and Andy, all that you said is true. Nothing can prepare you for industry, it travels at a completely different pace and if you think commitment and determination finish in the third year you are sorely wrong. Don’t get me wrong… really enjoying the experience but it’s bloody hard!
Simon James (Swansea College Web Designer) My first tip to you all is don’t forget to complete all your tasks for this module including the timesheet!! I know of at least one person who failed and didn’t get their degree because a timesheet was missing. If I was back in college now my advice would be ...don’t leave it until next week, do the work week by week, it is more than you think! College work is a piece of piss, you have so much time, prepare to be shocked when you get a job! For example my colleague and me had to produce a 25page proposal in 5 hours a few weeks back.
Alex Murphy (Graphic Designer) Quickie just to keep you informed… Finished a brief stint of freelance and managed to get my hands on some print prep and tidying up for Honda UK! Put the finishing touches to the Civic brochure and a lot of Photoshop work and some layout for the Accord Tourer.Tell your 3rd years that as daunting as freelance and working for yourself is, the pay's better than bar work and negotiating hours and rates is so much easier!
Damien O’Farrell (Freelance Illustrator/Guardian Newspaper artist) It is amazing what big firms will pay… (I worked as a student) for a big construction firm. Its hilarious because I was labouring for them… worried about paying the bills.They are now a regular client … they have no problems in paying well.Tell this year’s third year not to undersell themselves. I’m pleased I did your module in the final year.
HM Customs and Revenue Requirements
Whether you are working for yourself of in employment you will need to register with the Inland Revenue to ensure you pay any appropriate tax and national insurance contributions. 1.Working for yourself Bear in mind that you fall into this category if you are in receipt of income for freelance activities in addition to that of your employment. Goods and services for which you receive payment must be declared. As soon as you start working for yourself you must register, as failure to do so by the end of the third month can result in a fine of £100. The self-assessment system makes keeping accounts a legal requirement. You need to keep accounts, maintaining a record of all expenses and receipts in a logical manner. There are many cash-books and similar items commercially available along with software packages. Your records should include allowable expenses (i.e. those items purchased exclusively for the business, including materials for the preparation of artwork, business items such as postage, even going to the cinema may be considered, if it is for the purpose of research - (you only - no guests!). Other allowances are made for “capital” items i.e. plant and machinery, which generally qualify for a 40% allowance in the first year and 25% of the reducing balance in subsequent years. Information technology (i.e. your computers) now qualifies for 100% in the year of purchase.
You may be able to make a claim for use of the home as a studio, claiming a percentage of your utility bills, likewise your car expenses if it used for business. Whether you need to pay tax or not will depend on whether your income is greater than your tax allowance after expenses have been deducted for the year. The basic personal allowance for 2006/2007 is £5035. NB. Keep expenses receipts and record them now When you start trading, discuss with the Inland Revenue your purchases, with a view to them being treated as pre-trading expenses. When you receive payment from selling artwork or services you may be able to offset some of these expenses to reduce your net profit. 2. National Insurance Contributions Self-employed people are liable for Class 2 National Insurance contributions, but they may also have to pay Class 4 if their profits or gains are above a certain limit. Class 2 rates for the 2006/2007 tax year are £2.10 weekly, however you can apply for exception from paying if your annual income is below £4465. Class 4 is payable at 8% on taxable profits between £5035 and £33.540 and 1% on additional income. You may have to make contributions if you are selfemployed in your spare time.This applies even if you
are paying class 1 (as an employee) your total income is included and the Inland Revenue will calculate what is due from your self-assessment form. (You may have to request one of these).
If you are registered for paying VAT, you will be able to reclaim the VAT you pay on business expenses but you will also have to pay Customs and Excise on your receipts (i.e. your invoices).
You may decide you wish to register for VAT voluntarily. Consider your individual case on its own merits, depending on your purchases and the clients you are likely to have.
As an employee, it will be your employer who takes care of your employment taxes in the form of PAYE (Pay as you earn) an amount for tax and national insurance contribution will be deducted and shown on your salary slip. Note:You will be responsible for declaring any additional income on a self-assessment form.
4. Freelance/Self-employed You may find you are freelancing for one company who advise you that you need to make arrangements for your own tax and consequently be treated as “self-employed”. Take advice from the Revenue who will guide you through the question of Status.
5.What about VAT? You don’t usually have to register for VAT until your turnover reaches a certain amount in a 12-month period. The figure is currently £61,000.Turnover is not profit but the total amount of money coming into your business from the goods or services you sell.
6.Who can help?
7. I am ready to start selling, what do I need to do?
To get started contact your local Inland Revenue office or view their website at:
You can start trading today as a self-employed sole trader.
• www.hmrc.gov.uk/startingup • Help for start-ups is available by ringing 08459 15 45 15. • National Insurance Contributions • www.hmrc.gov.uk/nic • Self-Employment Contact Centre – ring 08459 15 46 55 • Business Advice centres can also help Consider employing an Accountant, they have the skills and knowledge to guide you through the process. Your record keeping is still of paramount importance; not only for Inland Revenue purposes but also as an aid for costing future jobs.
i. Decide what you want to call your business. If it is not obvious from your business name (i.e. it isn’t your name) you must include your name on business stationary. Your business name must not be misleading or imply a link to another firm. It may be helpful to you if you include your services in the name e.g. D Zine, Graphics or Artcre8tor Illustrations. ii. Advise the Inland Revenue. iii. Open a bank account in the name of your business. iv. Clarify what you are selling and the terms and conditions of payment, e.g. 30 days, copyrights etc.
HM Customs and Revenue Requirements Ex Student’s (Anonymous) Comments
I’m a bit confused, I thought that getting a job would mean that I wouldn’t have to worry about tax and stamps etc. for a ‘little extra’ freelance work… this situation is pretty common I’m told. Perhaps you could include it in your talk about tax for next year’s lot? Yeah your info was right, it was my own fault really. The taxman has no sense of humour or faith of any kind as far as I can see. My client (friend??) just dumped me in it. Have sold the car and should get it all paid off in a year or so...interest allowing. Nuts really, isn’t it? …so to conclude, Mr Taxman doesn’t like getting ripped off, even though I put it down to simple ignorance on my part, its no excuse! I was pretty naive really wasn’t I? I thought I’d just get a 9 to 5 and leave it there. It didn’t seem to make sense that I WAS self employed! Luckily my dad’s accountant sorted it in the nick of time. I had my receipts from college too - all I wanted was a job after all!… so it all worked out in the end, thanks for telling me to keep them with my project.
1. Internet Applications In the UK, the percentage of jobs advertised on the Internet is rapidly expanding. A good job search strategy should therefore include a well-defined on-line action plan where registering and posting or building an electronic CV is a critical part.You can also use the Internet to access information anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night. Recruiter's websites, company websites, on-line journals/newspapers and dedicated employment sites are all examples of where you can find a potential job through the Internet. On-line employment sites, as well as some company sites, often include a CV builder.This is a step-by-step programme that takes candidates through the process of filling in an on-line CV.The process can be time consuming. However, once your details are on an employment site, there's a large potential pool of employers and recruiters with access to your CV. Using a CV builder also means that the format of your CV matches the requirements of the database on which it sits - so the search engine which matches vacancies with CV in the database is more likely to match your CV with something suitable, in a shorter time. You will find more detail about on-line CVs in the notes on CV Preparation.
Many sites have an e-mail facility that will let you know about appropriate matching jobs.This is a useful feature, but not a substitute for your continuing to visit the site and search through the jobs available at least twice a week. Hyperlinks to get started on your on-line applications; • • • • • •
http://www.monster.co.uk http://www.tmpexec.co.uk http://www.fish4jobs.co.uk http://www.e-cvs.net http://www.paler.com http://www.elanit.co.uk
2. Letters of Application The letter of application introduces you and your CV to a recruitment consultant or potential employer. Such a letter should contain four distinct parts: i. Introduction and statement of source ii. Reason for interest iii. Statement of relevance to role advertised iv. Conclusion i. Introduction and Statement of Source The first section should clearly state the source of the advertisement, i.e. the newspaper name, Internet or other source, the date that it was advertised, the job number and reference number, if provided. Examples of the first paragraph in a letter of application are: "I am writing to express my interest in applying for the role of Graphic Designer, advertised in The Times on 13 May, 2000, Reference number MX/67845." Or "Following our recent conversation, I am writing to express my interest in the position of Designer that was advertised on your Internet site on 13 February, 2000."
similar titles at the same time, and advertise these on similar dates.The first paragraph should give you a fighting chance for the job by at least getting your application into the right pile. ii. Reason for interest Any number of "blind" letters can reach an employer. Do a bit of research; look into the company, does it fit in with what you want as a job? Tell them why you are interested - referring if possible to something that is specific to that company. For example, you may be able to comment on the size of the company, be it small or large, and state a preference for that sort of environment. Perhaps they specialise in one particular area of design. If it were shall we say packaging design, then comment on a past project that you enjoyed doing this or that packaging design has always been something that you've wished to get into. Make it seem that they are specifically suited to your ambition, thus giving the message that you would work well towards a common aim and that you have targeted them! It always help to get an individual's name whenever possible and write to them personally.
The purpose of this first paragraph is to clearly put you in the running for the job you have applied for. Busy recruiters recruit a number of positions with
iii. Statement of Relevance to Advertised Role
iv. Concluding Section
The second section of your letter of application should clarify why you are an appropriate candidate for this particular job. In preparing to write the second section, you should read the advertisement clearly and identify the selection criteria articulated in the advertisement.You should also be guided by conversations that you have had with recruitment consultants or company recruiters, so that you clearly understand what they think is important in the role. They often give you extra clues that are not in the advertised media. How you express this section is up to you. For example, you might be more comfortable with the succinct: "I believe I am ideally suited to this role because I have over 2 years experience in sales and advertising, tertiary qualifications, have studied the subject of Graphic Design for 3 years culminating in a BA (Hons)" or you may prefer bullet-point form, for example: "I believe I am ideally suited to this role because:
In concluding your letter, express your interest in the job and provide any particular contact details that may be unique, for example: "I look forward to discussing this application with you in the near future. I can be contacted on XXX or alternatively, XXX during work hours." Another example might be: "I look forward to discussing this application with you in greater detail in the near future and will be available for interview at a mutually convenient time."
• I have 2 years experience in sales and advertising. or live projects etc. • I have tertiary qualifications in sales and marketing • I have studied the subject of Graphic Design for 3 years culminating in a BA (Hons)
3. Responding to Ads Before responding to advertisements, you should - if it is appropriate - contact the owners of the job or the recruiters who are managing the recruitment assignment.Written advertisements give you a clear indication of whether you should be making personal contact or whether the job owners or recruitment firm would prefer an e-mail or hard copy of the application first off. Suppose, for example, the ad says: "E-mail your address here, or for further details contact so and so".Take the opportunity to discuss the job with the recruiter. As you prepare for this conversation make sure you clearly understand the ad, and make bullet points about why you are appropriate for that job. You should also phrase a number of other questions, which would be appropriate to ask at the time, for example: "Can you tell me more about the role.
What sort of salary would this position attract? Why has the job become vacant? etc, etc." The aim at this stage is to have a meaningful conversation with the recruiter or the owner of the job and to decide jointly whether it is worthwhile forwarding an application for the job.
4.Working with Recruiters When you're on the job hunt the last thing you want is a series of rejection letters.You need to stay in control of the process.You can do this by talking to recruiters, deciding jointly whether you would be an appropriate candidate, and designing an appropriate letter which reminds the consultant that you have had a conversation with them and why you are appropriate for that role (if that's the case). This approach allows you, at a later date, to follow up with the same recruiter and get some honest feedback about why you have been successful or unsuccessful for the role. It also allows you to make yourself known to a recruiter. Even if you're not appropriate for that first role, and don't put in an application, you will have made contact with a recruiter who knows about you and will look more favourably towards having a conversation with you in the future.
9.00am or 5.00pm and 6.00pm recruiters are usually at their desks, preparing for the day or tidying up after it. At these times they are therefore likely to have more time and a clearer head to talk to you.
5. Samples Just as CVs will need to be tailored, so too do letters of application...don't be lazy!
The best time to get a recruiter on the phone is generally at the beginning or the end of a working day. Monday morning, during peak ad response time, is not appropriate. However between 8.00am and
Ex Studentâ€™s Comments
Ben Hutchins (Teletext New Media) "Yeah, graduating . . . well all I can say is that for me my post college job hunt was mainly split into two chapters.The first was the often humiliating quest of applying to jobs directly that have been found via The Guardian or TotalJobs.com, etc . . . and the second is the frustrating route through the dreaded agencies. Once the website and portfolio is sorted you literally bombard both agencies AND companies directly. A good way to do this is to simply send out e-mails (which is allowed because it is your medium). But be sure to resist the temptation to write one copy and send too many. .These things HAVE to be tailormade. Include a few comments and questions in the e-mail about the company and ask if they could send some information (having commented on how beautiful their website is!). It helps if you add a link on the e-mail to your 'on-line portfolio'. (Which should contain not only your work but also links to other works that have been and inspiration).The response is usually pretty quick so you have to be ready to 'up and go' when the interview dates start rolling in. As far as the agencies go they can be a pain. First you have to be interviewed by them and then you have to push, push; push them into actually lining you up with anything (in my experience anyway). Although they ask you what your job specifications are they rarely abide by it.They may try to put you forward for jobs that were so far removed from what you asked for that you are left wondering if they
actually speak the same language! (My first job was as a result of an agency that made the job look like it was a dream come true. It turned out to be a total nightmare and had to wait three months, until my 'probation' period had run out, until I could tell them to "f**k off!" Then I was straight back to the agency to give them some stick). It seems to go in one ear and out of the other.You may find that you are rung and asked: "would you be interested in a print job? It's not brilliantly paid but has plenty of opportunities . . . etc" which basically boils down to "crap job, no prospects and awful pay". It seemed to take more work and effort using agencies than it was to go directly to the companies themselves. Ironic really." Note Many students have also commented that the agencies require a lot more info than most jobs do. This is because they may be putting your talents up against a number of alternatives in order to find you a job / get their commission. Just like you they will need to modify the information according to the job specifications. There is some hope of finding a job soon though as also I applied for two positions last week and have seen another 5 or 6 this week in some of the local recruitment papers so who knowsâ€Ś
Heather Pontin (ILAM) â€ŚHi Andy Sorry I didn't get a chance to tell you that I had given your name as a referee. I have finally got a job...after nearly 40 applications and 11 rejection letters.They said that my letter stood out, so thanks to you for that. (I did do different versions) I am joining the design team at the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management near Reading on 4th March AND I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!! I will let you know how I get on.
Ben Spurling (Dorset Health Illustrator / Designer) My letter that I did for this module got me a real job interview
Dai Rees (Crush Licensing) A journalist got in touch with me after seeing my stuff in computer arts and wanted me to write something for their magazine. He sent me a load of questions about how I found job ?hunting, advice to future students, where I see myself in 5years time (that? type of thing). â€Ś ?Looks likely ill have a decent bit of page space. Made sure I plugged the fine work you were doing in the marketing and self-promotion elective.
2. Principles and Guidelines
Most of you are already more than a little familiar with preparing CV's but here are a few more pointers by way of a checklist / reminder.
The decision to recruit is like a buying decision on the part of an employer.This creates a very clear picture of what a CV must include:
CV's are called a variety of things (eg, curriculum vitae, resume).There is no universally accepted format.The most important attribute of a successful CV is that it clearly explains to the reader what it is that you can do for them.Your CV should be:
1. It must meet the needs of the target organisation where possible.This means a single generalist CV is unlikely to be sufficient.
• A well-presented, selling document - well designed too! • A source of interesting, relevant information • A script for talking about yourself The purpose of your CV is not to get you the job. Its purpose is to get you an interview, and after your meeting to remind the person you met with about you. Remember: you are not writing a CV for yourself, you are writing it for the reader. So, as you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes of the intended reader. Let us look at the content and detail of effective CVs: • A standard two-page printed CV • A one-page summary CV • An on-line CV
2. It must highlight your achievements and how they relate to the job you are applying for. It must give the reader a clear indication of why you should be considered for this role. To decide what to include in your CV and where, follow these principles and guidelines: • Generally, the document should contain no more than 2 pages. Sometimes, a one-page summary is all that is required. • Your CV should be honest and factual. • The first page should contain enough personal details for a recruitment consultant or potential employer to contact you easily. • Choose a presentation format that allows you to headline key skills, key achievements or key attributes.
3. Creating a CV • Your employment history should commence with your current or most recent job and work backwards. • Achievements should be short, bullet-pointed statements and include your role, the action you took and a comment on the result of your action. • Where information clearly demonstrates your suitability for the vacancy you're applying for, and enhances your chances of being short-listed, include this information near the beginning of the CV. • Leave out information that is irrelevant or negative.
The most common contents of a CV include: • • • • •
Personal Details Skills and Career Summary Key Achievements Qualifications Career History
Don't forget:The ultimate test of YOUR CV is whether it meets the needs of the person making the buying decision, and whether YOU feel comfortable with its content and style. Detailed description of how to achieve this follows.
• Include details of recent training or skills development events you have attended which could be relevant. • List all your professional memberships and relevant qualifications. As we work through examples in this section, we will continually refer back to these principles and guidelines.
Standard Two-Page Printed CV When you submit a printed CV to a recruiter or a potential employer, it is likely to be the first thing they get to see or read of yours.Therefore, you need to present your CV well and make it user friendly.They may have literally hundreds to read, so quick and easy to follow is the way to go. For exampl: • Use a good quality paper, typically 100gsm in weight and watermarked. In most cases, be conservative and print your CV in black ink on white paper. Covering letters should use identical stationery.
• To save space, write your address on the line- as a string of text with commas separating your house name/number, street name, town and postcode with commas.
• Lay your CV out neatly.
• Type in your contact telephone numbers. If you're still at work and are able to take calls in privacy, you could give your work number as well as your home one. Give your mobile number too if you wish. An email address (if you have one) should also be recorded in this section.
• Don't make the margins too deep or too narrow. • Resist writing lengthy paragraphs - be concise • Careful use of bold type can be effective • Typefaces such as Times New Roman or Arial are fairly standard, use alternatives to enhance design without losing clarity. • Do not use a type size less than 11pt. • Check for spelling or typographical errors whoever actually types your CV, errors are YOUR responsibility. Don't rely on a spell checker. If you're not sure about a word, resort to a dictionary. Sloppiness and lack of care could be heavily penalised.
Contact Details A 2 page CV typically has the following sections: • At the top of the first page should be your Contact Details.
Employment History Starting with your current or most recent job first, compile the following information: • Dates: Quote from/to in years only, e.g. 1998-date, 1994-96.The dates should be placed vertically in either the left-hand or right-hand margin.This makes it easier for the reader to scan up and down to check for continuity of employment. • Organisation and Location (city or town name only): Not everyone works for an organisation whose name is well known.Therefore, underneath the organisation's name, give a brief narrative about the core business and annual turnover, for example, "One of the UK's leading manufacturers of plastics, employing 3,000 on four sites.Turnover 1999-2000 £230m". Maybe a list of Clients would be more appropriate to give better impact if you have been
working for a small company.This allows the reader to quickly make comparisons about the size and complexity of the organisation, number of employees, complexity of challenges, market position, focus of organisation, etc. • Job Title: Underneath the job title, construct a 'function' statement, i.e. what you were employed to do. Be selective in what you write here: mention the principal tasks and responsibilities of your role, to include those things you enjoy and are good at doing. It might be best to omit other things you do but don't enjoy so much, unless they are crucial parts of the job you're targeting.The function statement should be no longer than 4-5 lines in length (your consultant can give you advice about this). • Achievements:These, potentially, set you apart from the competition. Each achievement statement should have three elements: • An ownership statement, for example, "Part of a team of four..., Initiated..., Implemented...".
Achievements should be written in the form of short, punchy, bullet-point statements of fact.They are designed to arouse the reader's interest and generate questions like how? what? why? etc. so that the decision-maker will shortlist you to obtain the answers. Repeat the process for the previous role, and the one before that, etc. Give full details only of jobs going back 7-10 years. Beyond that, you may prefer to just list the dates, employer's name and job title, or have a summary paragraph such as, "Prior to these roles, I held a series of positions with a number of blue chip organisations". If you have worked for the same employer for 3 years or more, try to break that period up according to the different roles you've had, with different responsibilities and achievements. There's no need to provide salary details or reasons for leaving on your CV.Your employment history is quite likely to run onto the second page of the CV. Then, if appropriate, you can describe the training and skills development from which you have benefited recently. Likewise key areas can be highlighted.
• What you did, for example, "Produced..., Designed..." • The result of your actions (this can be quantitative and/or qualitative) All of these things can be applied to your college work, work experience is especially useful.
Training and Development
The events you list under this heading should add value to your CV. So don't list events like 'Half-day course on the Emergency Evacuation Procedures from XYZ House'. Management development, computer skills courses or specialised training in your field could be listed. Specific Modules such as some of your electives might highlight a requirement of the job.The details to include are:
This is often the most contentious part of the CV. How much should you reveal? For example, should the over-50s executive reveal his or her date of birth? Should the twenty-something female reveal her age or marital status? Different authors of books on CV writing say different things. In the end, it's down to you.
• Date (year only) • Event title (and duration if over 2 days) • Name of provider (in-house or external)
Education and Qualifications This section should include all professional memberships as well as your general academic attainments. Employers like to see a good standard of general education. If you're currently studying for an additional qualification, this should also be included (at the top of the list). Lay it out in reverse chronological order, in a fashion similar to your Training and Development section: •Date(s) •Name of establishment •Qualification(s) gained The older you are, the less need there is to list all the subjects and grades at which you passed at every stage. It is quite sufficient to say "Passes in 3 subjects at 'A' level and 9 at 'GCSE' (or 'O') level.
If you have been honest about the dates of your education and employment, most intelligent people will be able to work out your age to within about 2 years. So you might as well show your date of birth (not age). Other things that candidates sometimes add include: • Nationality • Status (it can be advisable to avoid using terms such as separated or divorced, as the reader might assume you're still carrying some emotional baggage) •Full driver's licence •Willing to relocate •Non-smoker Whatever you include, keep it short and keep it relevant. For example, if the position required you to be mobile, then it would be helpful to tell the employer you have a full driver's licence. Include outside interests and hobbies only if they add value to your application. Some people get involved in activities outside of work that demonstrate the use
of completely different skills sets. You may be surprised at what things can be considered relevant. Working in a petrol station might help to give an impression of trustworthiness whilst handling large amounts of money.Voluntary work shows willingness etc etc.
employer is interested in.This will enable the referee to have a relevant, constructive conversation with the employer/recruiter.
Referees Before you commence your job search activity you need to contact potential referees to obtain their agreement to act as referees. It is not conventional to reveal the identities of your referees on the CV. Some employers will request such information prior to an interview, in which case you provide the names and contact details in your covering letter. Other employers will wait until they have met you and decided on whether they want to take matters further. On leaving college it is normal to put down a lecturer or Programme Director. Be aware of their limitations, they have strict guidelines to follow. Perhaps you should discuss this with them when asking. You are responsible for referee management.That means, when a potential employer or recruiter asks you for your referees, this is the cue for you to also contact them. Explain to each referee the nature of the role you are applying for. Detail the skills the
One Page Summary CV This is a stand-alone page, which gives the reader a snapshot of your skills, competencies and/or previous achievements and provides some compelling reasons why you would be a good candidate for this specific job.The following areas must be included. Personal Details
The recruiter or potential employer needs to have enough information to contact you easily during this job search. Provide as many of the following as you can: • Name • Address • Telephone • Mobile • Alternative telephone number • E-mail address
Key Skills/Competencies/Attributes Summarise the things about you that are relevant to this role.You can present the information as a list of achievements, a summary of skills, or a list of key competencies (this choice should be made in consultation with your career consultant). Give as much evidence as you can to suggest that you are suited to the career that you are pursuing. A reminder:You will find a list of your skills in the summary pages.The one-page summary CV may also include one or two of the following sections if you consider they enhance your application.
Marketing and are applying for a Marketing Director role, you could include that qualification in this section. Non-tertiary qualifications should only be included in the summary page if they are particularly relevant to the role. Career Summary or Experience Summary: - This is a 4-8-line summary of your career to date and generally doesn't include any employer-specific information. It should be clear about where you have come from and should create an impression in the reader that your application for the position is a logical one.
Career Goal: - You would normally include this in your CV if you were significantly changing your career direction.This section summarises the new direction and gives the reader some insight into why you have chosen this course: For example, if an accountant was choosing to move into career counselling, then brief descriptions of his/her motivations to move into this area should be summarised. If the same accountant wanted to further their career in accounting, then obviously this section would be irrelevant and should not be included. If you are changing your career dramatically, you may also wish to include relevant short courses and programmes in your Qualifications.
Qualifications: - Include qualifications directly related to the job that would specifically enhance your chances of moving to the next step of the job search process. For example, if you have an MBA in
Career History: - This would normally be presented as concisely as possible, 97-03 Design Manager, Design shop 93-97 Design co-ordinator, Print works 90-93 Self-employed - Freelance designer.
On-line CV's On-line CV's (also known as Electronic Résumés) are different in style and function to a traditional hard copy or printed CV.This is because the rules that you need to follow are set by how a computer works, rather than how a reader thinks. • Your on-line CV needs to be sharp and short.The maximum length is generally 1.5 pages. If recruiters or potential employers are interested, they will ask for more details. • Your on-line CV needs to be transferable across different types of software and machines. So don't store it in the latest version of Word - it may look nice, but will frustrate anyone trying to read it using an older version of Word, or other word processing packages. Store and e-mail on-line CVs in ASCII or plain text format (Simpletext on the Mac).This is the simplest form of text that all computers can read and understand. • The presentation issues are different in on-line CVs. There is no need to worry about italics, underlining, bold and fonts etc.The key is getting the information in order and using appropriate keyword nouns or phrases.
Using Keywords in On-line CVs Your CV should be packed with nouns or noun phrases that fit your goals, skill set, experience and industry sector.You can also use verbs as keywords. Adding as many different keywords as you can to the body of the CV is crucial. If you are sending your CV to an on-line recruitment company, it will be usually searched by keywords. If you put it on the website of a potential employer organisation that uses CV tracking software, again, it will be searched by
keywords.The only time it will not be searched by keyword is when you directly e-mail a company or organisation.
The Key Elements in an On-line CV Name and Contact Block: - Put this at the very top of the CV. Include your name, contact address, phone, fax and e-mail. If you have created a good personal web site, then include the address. For scannable CVs in plain text format, put your name and contact details in the top far left of the page. Each part must have its own line. Job Objective: - The job or career objective section states what you are looking for. Use a maximum of eight words or simply list a job title. More senior people may choose to have a summary or profile only. Summary Paragraph or Profile: - This must be the second or third element.This is a keyword paragraph that highlights your skills. Work Experience: - This can be arranged reverse chronologically, functionally or as a mixture of both. Keep your keywords specific for your last job and then broaden out as you go further back in your career history. Keep achievements specific, especially, in the most recent work experience.
Education: - List your latest and highest qualifications. Include any significant further training, for example, professional qualifications. Putting Your CV in Cyberspace You have three options:
• Remember your correct e-mail and telephone number • Keep a hardcopy version to hand for any enquiries
1. Register with on-line employment sites that incorporate CV builders and databases, e.g. www.monster.co.uk
• Set up a Hotmail account if needed
2. Register on the web sites of companies you wish to target (many large organisations invite would-be candidates to do this, and often provide a CV builder to help you)
• Do a mailshot. Every e-mail you send will show the other people to whom you have sent it. Direct approaches to companies or organisations should be personalised one-offs.
3. E-mail your CV directly to individual employers as a result of a job advertisement or lead that you have found.
• Send in a digital ‘latest version’ of Word or a specialist package like Quark.They may not be able to open it -Instead, format your CV in plain text (.txt or simpletext).
The Do's and Don'ts of On-line CVs DO'S: • Use keywords that show you match the position requirements • Keep it short and sharp - it is for initial contact only • Put your most important skills at the beginning • Keep the format simple
• Use plain fonts, no italics or underlining, no borders
Always Remember • You must feel comfortable with your CV. It's yours. • Always take a copy to an interview. • Be prepared to leave one behind after network meetings or arrange for one to be delivered the next day. • If possible, tailor each CV for each job application or networking meeting.
Ex Student’s Comments
Ben Hutchins (Teletext New Media) These things (CVs and letters) HAVE to be tailormade.
Anne Scourfield (Blacksheep / Hello Advertising) On my second day my boss put a CV on my desk from a new graduate… basically it was everything you said not to do Andy - we all agreed it was crap! …long, irrelevant, full of typos…and with no identity they didn’t stand a chance … what more can I say but it is MEGA important to nail that cv.
Finally We are in the creative industry, good sleek design with your personal identity are a good idea…as long as they are not overbearing and detract from an easy read. Keep it subtle and simple.
Guide to Job Hunting
Most people have an idea of where and when to look for work, so use this as a checklist of what you should be doing and where you should be looking if you're serious about finding employment. Remember the pyramid in the introduction to this lecture; think about what a job can offer you in the future. 1. Job Centres / Careers Centres
Love them or hate them these places are packed with vacancies. Job Centres provide vacancies boards for all types of work.They change quite frequently and it's worth visiting them regularly.The staff can arrange for interviews for suitable vacancies and offer support and advice.
Many jobs are advertised in local and National Newspapers, many in free papers, and others in job hunting papers. Any quick glance along large newsagent's shelves will reveal the local job-hunting papers. Some of these are printed on a regional basis, with vacancies within commuting distance. Others are national.
Careers Centres may be of some use though they normally deal with people up to 21 years age, although some now offer advice to adults.What they do have are vacancies for younger people that job centres do not normally advertise. Most careers centres will also put you on a register as looking for work, and will let you know if suitable vacancies come up.They also submit young people to training vacancies, such as National Traineeships and Modern Apprenticeships; many of these vacancies may not be notified in the press. Incidentally you must go to a Careers Centre if you are between 16-18 and hoping to claim any type of benefit.They are normally listed in the Yellow Pages or other local directories.
The national press often carries vacancies for a particular occupational area; e.g. the Guardian has Educational Vacancies on Tuesdays, with other professions and occupational areas on other days of the week.This is equally applicable to other papers TIP: Most of the tabloids have web sites, and some carry vacancies on-line. Use a search engine to locate them, or try http://www.NEWSPAPERNAME.co or COM, it works most of the time. Many employers will advertise in local and national papers, but not in the Job Centre, so it is a good idea to keep looking at these too. Public libraries will keep most local and many national papers - which is worth bearing in mind as it can be costly to buy them all. Check the specific days when they carry job adverts, as many will only include vacancies on a specific day of the week.
3. Journals, magazines and Agencies Many professions have their own journals, periodicals or magazines, Design Week and Graphic's World for example. Employers will often go to these for the best chance of employing a professional. Some can be seen on the magazine shelves, others are by subscription only. So if you're a professional looking for work and not subscribing to your industry's publications it may be worth it now. If you are a recently graduated student, then subscribe to a professional journal, they often have reduced rates for student members and it will considerably increase your job-hunting prospects. Much local work is handled by local Employment Agencies (not government organisations).They cover all types of work. Employment Agencies are listed under the Yellow Pages and in local directories like the Thompson Directory. 18 or under must visit the Careers Service before employment agencies can, by law, offer you any work. Agents and Agencies can often work in two ways. They employ and pay you while you work on a contract they have with an employer, or they fill a vacancy for an employer who will then employ you directly.These vacancies can be permanent or temporary and there are agencies that specialise in specific occupational areas.
temporary contract as a 'probationary' period. Of course for some employers and employees alike, temporary contracts give them both flexibility.
4. Employerâ€™s Premises Many employers still have vacancy boards on their premises. Large stores such as food retailers and DIY companies use internal notice boards as these are seen by thousands of customers, and there is often no need to go to the expense of advertising as suitable applicants can be attracted through these notices.The process is duplicated in many large companies who may well be seeking design skills. It is also common practice for companies, whose staff continually changes, to provide application forms even when they have no vacancies. Ask!! At least they may put you on their lists for a potential interview (It has happened to me a number of times). Some larger factories still use vacancy boards by their main gates, though this practice is limited these days.
It's not unusual for 'temps' to find full time work through agencies. Employers may well treat a
5.The Web You will already know that the WWW is a great resource for jobs. Employment and recruitment agencies use it a great deal having their own websites and carrying vacancies - nationally and internationally. There are also local community sites, which will carry local vacancies. Most sites are well marketed through search engines, so a search there is a must. Do a little reading on how to make the best use of each engine, how to combine words effectively, it will save time if you make specific searches for, say, graduate recruiters or specialist occupation agencies, rather than trawling through hundreds of thousands of general search results! Once you've found your sites you will find vacancies, with on line directions on how to apply.With others an added feature will be a CV posting service, very useful speculative approach to those hidden vacancies. A guide to this is included later. To make the best of your job search you need to concentrate on the above, plan your search, plan the time you spend in the visible and hidden job markets. There's a well-used clichĂŠ that looking for work is a 'job in itself' and it IS.The more that you put into your job search in terms of research, time, effort and planning the more likely you are to succeed in finding those vacancies that suit you.
Guide to Job Hunting Ex Student’s Comments
Colin Higgins (Century Media)
Carla Girton (Illustration student / Graphic designer)
The Internet is a good source for jobs as well, there are a few recruitment agencies on there but try some big firms for example Datel in Stone, I saw an advert for a job in the local paper for a graphic designer, I checked their website and they had a jobs page, they had about 4 -5 jobs on their, another is JCB I saw they wanted an internet graphic designer … got that of their website.
I am now working for the Bright agency; at the start I was doing a mix of thing from office management, to accounts, to design. some of which I really didn't enjoy, but I kept thinking about your pyramids! And now as from next week I start as the full time designer!
Ben Louis-Smith (Slightly Different Design) I got my job from an Internet site; I was looking for prestigious design studios and noticed that this one had a jobs page.
Heather Pontin (ILAM) My dad’s friend works in a large company and they had an advert for somebody to do a newsletter up in their notice-board. It wasn’t a wonderful thing to do but it got me started and was the experience I needed to get my next job.
Helen Richards - Freelance Illustrator There’s a lot of different kinds of work out there think beyond the obvious things.
Hunting the Hidden Positions
A common misconception about job hunting is that all vacancies will be either advertised or visibly accessible to the job hunter - WRONG! 1. Introduction You will probably be surprised to learn that as many as 70% of vacancies are not advertised.These vacancies are known as hidden (believe it or not). Instead of advertising, employers will traditionally fill these vacancies by word of mouth, head hunt or have potential candidates on file... candidates who are switched on to the fact that these vacancies exist - as previously mentioned! The result of this misconception is that job seekers spend the majority of their time chasing the 30% of visible vacancies, where thousands of others are also concentrating their time.This makes the visible vacancies more competitive than hidden vacancies, leaving you with less chance of getting the post. In a nutshell, the serious job hunter gets the ratio of time spent chasing hidden and visible vacancies right, spending more time on the hidden and less competitive vacancies that do exist. In some cases you may even be the only applicant. So where are all these jobs? How do I get to them?
2. Employers Many employers may not be advertising, but still have work available. Or they may even create a post for the right applicant who approaches them? It's often worthwhile contacting companies to ask if they have work. It is usually a good idea to ask to
speak to the Personnel Manager, Recruitment Manager or Human Resources Department. You can either phone them or possibly even visit them in person. If you do the latter, dress as if you were going to an interview. Sometimes going in person can be the best way of doing this as you can make a good impression and show that you are keen to make an effort. One tactic here is to offer your services for a free period of time... for experience!! You can also write 'on spec' rather than phoning or visiting. If you do this remember to include a copy of your CV and a covering letter (See later notes). If they don't have work, ask them to keep your details in case they have vacancies in the future. Don't forget past employers.They know a lot about your record as an employee and are often more willing to take on someone whose work record they know than someone that they don't know. Some companies still advertise vacancies outside their premises. Many big stores have notice boards inside e.g. DIY Warehouses, Supermarkets or any big stores. Maybe it is simply a name of an area manager or somebody to contact?
3. Graduate Recruitment Sources
Many vacancies for graduates are advertised through
The wider you network, the more often you use it, and the better it works. At a low and broad level friends, relatives or people you meet may know where there are jobs that are not advertised. Always ask them, as their employer may be looking for staff. This search method cannot be under valued.
the usual visible means, but a significant number are not. Graduate recruiters target universities, in some instances specific universities, or specific graduate press or media. Common examples are careers fairs and the annual 'Milkround'. In addition university vacancy bulletins often receive vacancies the press does not. So university careers offices are useful sources of information, and can often continue to send vacancy information after you've graduated. If you move away from the University where you graduated, you can often arrange to receive support from your local university. The moral of the story however is to make the best use of your universities careers facilities while your are here, no matter how distant the idea of getting a job appears. Don't leave it until you graduate.
On another level your network may include fellow professionals, past employers or similar people. Networks need to be maintained regularly (even when you're in employment) to get them to work effectively for you. Ask around to find out who's looking for employees. Keep in touch with other students, what jobs have they turned down for example. Keep a business card to hand, you never know who may not realise what skills you possess until they've noted it on your card... and it could get passed on!
Hunting the Hidden Positions Ex Student’s Comments
Damien O’Farrell – Guardian / freelance illustrator One of the lads told a foreman that I did design at Uni and before long I was doing odd (illustration) jobs for them… they are looking like a regular client now.
Anne Scourfield – Blacksheep / Hello Advertising I didn’t realise who they were at our show - thanks for pointing them out… saying the right things got me in right away.
Sarah Kift – S.W.Wales Publications Ltd / Illustrator I didn’t realise that I would get so many knock-backs - my notes kept me sane!
Phill Rees – Fitch Partners Since graduating I have really battled to get a permanent job but its finally happened.The industry is all about contacts and until you get out there you don't really understand this!! When you leave uni just get yourself out there even if you work for free you will be making valuable contacts. Even two years after graduating the advice in marketing and self-promotion is still very important.
Portfolios and Presentations
A exasperated portfolio advisor once quoted in the CSD magazine " I could sit every one of hose graduates down together and tell them exactly the same thing in half the time!" It is an opinion regularly echoed by those who have grown used to seeing a procession of similar presentations from eager graduates... 1. Introduction
Joseph Dickens (Studio manager, Sapphireselect)
...The problem is that after many years of preparing work for academic appraisal, many graduates are forced to restructure their portfolios so that they reflect the realities of a commercial client driven industry.There are no "quick fix" solutions to making this transition. Remember this:
As for size - yeah, it does matter.... they ain't gonna want to be drowned in paper, and won't be impressed by a wall to wall self portrait, so clean, simple but cover the salient points! Jody
Your portfolio is an intensely personal testament to your talent that is subject to continuous review and scrutiny.Those who review it have a significant power over your career development so it is vital that you assess your portfolio from their perspective.
I would say an A3 portfolio as you can get most stuff in that. As well as looking more professional a smaller folio is much more manageable. A couple of days on the tube in London with your A2 portfolio is not what I call fun... I speak from experience!
2.What size Portfolio? The size of your portfolio might be a critical factor. At college an A2 or even A1 might be well suited to your needs. "The Writers and Artists Yearbook 2000" (A and C Black, London: 2000) states that. "Your folder should never be larger than A2 size as clients usually have very little desk space". I would go as far as to say that A3 or A4 is far more preferable for these environments. Ex student comments supports this... Mark Goulden (Businesslink) At one time I took an A2 folder into the interview. Don't! They are too big. It is far better to use an A4 or A3. I had an interview with an agency who told me that this is far more professional.
Lee Stinton (Future Media)
Tanya Allen (Dreamscape Films) Floor space is expensive in central London, you should have seen how tiny their office is.Thank goodness I had that small portfolio and CD. A statement from Interiors Consultancy McDaniel Woolfe sums it up: "There is nothing more unprofessional than struggling red faced through a prospective employer's door with a cumbersome portfolio."
3.What about the interview environment? A short phone call sometime before the interview can do two things, importantly it can establish contact. Secondly you can ask about where you will be interviewed, what size of room and desk, what facilities etc.? A bit of research not only helps you out, but lets the interviewer know that you are taking this seriously... more on this later. Many employers will have the usual desk full of papers and other important items.They wont take kindly to having to move it all beforehand if they are busy people, so help them to help you. Keep everything firmly attached with no loose papers to add to their pile / to be lost.
4. How should the folio look? Simply put, fresh and inviting to look at. Easy to peruse and helps the interviewer to pick up on salient points that you want to put over. As you get more professional you will learn to keep it simple with primarily examples of printed work and montaged layouts. As a recent graduate the latter will be of far more use than pages and pages of print outs.You are after all designers!
• Maybe include a little freebie that can be left behind... always a good move, shows willingness and forethought. • Many graduates make the mistake of focussing on final product and overlooking the developmental process. Employers will want to know about your working methods as much as your finished pieces and how they were done. •Emphasise Live Projects and back up some successes with whatever evidence you can accumulate. If others have entrusted you to get something done it instills confidence. Remember how much advertising costs, good PR such as newspaper / magazine articles are excellent promotional tools. How much time have you spent / would this take, are very popular interview questions so be prepared. Think about the order of your work, are you showing it off in the right sequence, logical and informative.
• First of all think "Presentation"!
Think about the quality of your work, should you redo a project? No amount of presentation will cover up bad work.
• Try to be flexible with the content, tailor it to the job in question.
Don't forget to check out your grammar and spelling, a sure way to be shown the door if you get it wrong!
More Ex students comments.... Yvonne Fuchs (Designer... in CSD magazine) "Graduates need to concentrate on the development of their ideas, it emphasises the designer's ability to follow through different ideas in a project." Richard Woolfe (McDanial Woolfe) "Structure your work to show it to best advantage, I strongly advise avoiding collating your work in a chronological order, unless you want your interviewer to nod-off!" Martin Stopher (Kingston Technology, Mexico City) Always out your best work in there, never anything bad.Your standard is judged by your worst piece of work! Put everything in good logical order.
5. Alternatives After the lecture you will realise that the plain portfolio is not the only way to go. More advanced systems are available which will display your work far more professionally. (The mini exhibition site was a real portfolio piece incidentally.) The other things to consider these days are the new media alternatives.Websites are extremely useful and can be modified quite easily, even different URL's for each type of job should be considered.
CDs are increasingly popular. Often termed as "showreels" they sell your design skills through a series of interactive pages, these in turn carefully designed for the purpose. Likewise business card sized CDs are now available to be passed over and put in a wallet, very useful! Most companies will have Internet browsers on their computers so html based presentations could be used. Self-packaging programmes such as Director produce stand alone "Projector" files that need no other software (though be sure to create both a Mac and a PC version) PDF files will need an acrobat reader, freely downloadable from the internet.The same can be said for Flash or Shockwave (which is made from Director files) PowerPoint from Microsoft was used for these classes and has the advantage of being a standard office package. Be prepared to talk through your presentation, be led by it but don't rely on it doing everything for you. Before any of this of course, you have to check out that environment and appropriate facilities as before. A CD that doesn't work if of no use whatsoever! You might be sitting there thinking â€œbut I donâ€™t know about computers??â€? Take a look around, where else will you find so many creative people looking for work experience to show off their skills! This can work well for both parties and create links that last way beyond college.
Portfolios and Presentations
Ex Student’s Comments and Professional help
Anthony Bridge (Apricot Agency / Freelance Illustrator) I had a CD made by another student that he also used for his portfolio. I learned a lot just by working with him.The CD was really useful and I found that the agencies especially, took me far more seriously.
Nigel Williams (Artist / Editor Welsh Arts Archive) Thanks for the continued help and support… my web site (designed as a part of the module at Swansea Institute) now receives over 55, 000 hits per month. I am now hoping to develop the content into an interactive CD ROM.Without my experience on the course none of this would have happened, not bad when you consider that I studied painting and drawing eh?
Mark Goulden (Businesslink) Digital formats are the way, especially if it can be sent by e-mail. Interviewers love presentations, if you can create one you can use it as a portfolio; it shows that you can handle new media. I have a presentation done in Director which I've had burnt onto one of those new business card size CDs. It only cost a few quid and what an impression it makes.
Ben Hutchins (Teletext New Media) My first effort on leaving was to spend a hectic two solid weeks throwing together a website or 'on-line portfolio' which I was actually happy and confident about.To back this up I had to collate the portfolio. This was time consuming and I found it hard to rationalise the content (too much can be overpowering, too little is embarrassing).The response is usually pretty quick so you have to be ready to 'up and go' when the interview dates start rolling in.
Stuart Palmer (Manchester United Interactive / Phones 4U) At this stage I was more curious about the job than considering it as a serious possibility, having said that, I did what you said and prepared my portfolio well. I put together a couple of html (web) pages to showcase my work.
Neil Cunningham (Print Evolution) I got thrown in at the deep end (discussing websites) I had to pay over £100 and I probably could have got it done for free in college couldn’t I?
Ian Simmons (Freelance Illustrator) My website saved me, tell them to get it done at college if they can… its cheaper!!
Eddy Wouters (ed) (Art Scene International Magazine) Its so simple and rather obvious (bringing a large portfolio), when you arrive at my office you may as well shout out “hey, look at me, I am new to this”
Stacy Taylor (Red Top) I got my job because I was the only one with development work in my portfolio… it really is important to make a neat job of it… only three of us were invited in for an actual interview.
Professional help Many agencies and societies such as the CSD (Chartered Society of Designers) and the Society of Illustrators offer portfolio surgeries and can give excellent advice and help.
Coping With Interviews
2. Preparation and Confidence
After coming through all the hurdles of the SELECTION PROCESS, you will eventually arrive at an interview.This is of course, a major obstacle for many job applicants. Although they may have the qualifications, experience and a proven track record, they may lose out to a candidate who 'interviews better.'
These two essential ingredients are interlinked. Good preparation instills confidence.
So what does 'interviewing better' actually mean? It comes down to the candidate being well prepared and confident. A candidate who can answer questions in a way which is acceptable (but not necessarily right) to the interviewer; someone who knows something about their potential employers business and the post they hope to fill. These are really the basic components of any candidate who 'interviews well'.There are undoubtedly other aspects employers may look for in relation to specific posts - having their own ideas, articulate, thinking on their feet, aspects which will be related to the job and to the company's preference in employees. The employer will also be looking to fill a post, which has a particular job specification - in other words personal aspects besides the experience, and qualifications that can be put down on paper.The interviewer will set out to ascertain that the candidate has these personal qualities, skills and abilities the company requires.
So the basic approach to an interview is to be well prepared.This means two things - preparing yourself practically for the interview, and gathering knowledge and information you can draw on during the interview. • Be sure you know the time, date and location of the interview and name of interviewee where appropriate. • What facilities will be available, what about the interview environment? • Check out how you will get to the location, and when you need to set off to be there in good time do a dummy run if necessary. Plan to get there no earlier than half an hour before the interview time, anticipate delays. • What would it be like to live there? Cost of living etc. • Have what you are going to wear ready in advance everything down to your underwear. • Do not go to the interview laden down with baggage - psychological as well as physical.Take the bare minimum of belongings necessary. Concentrate on the interview at the interview - nothing else.
• If you are asked to bring certificates, references etc, get them ready before the day. • Take your interview letter; know the interviewer's name. • On arrival ensure the receptionist knows you are there; visit the toilets to tidy up etc. • If you are well organised and have planned for the day your confidence will increase.
3. Preparing To Meet the Employer The interview is a chance for you and the employer to get to know one another. It is NOT the time to get to know about the post or the employers business. Looking around the company, preferably beforehand can give terrific insight and suggest appropriate questions to ask. Do gather information about your employer before you are interviewed, what do they do, what are their current projects, what other interests do they have? Ask staff, many companies will offer you the chance to talk about the vacancy with someone, use the opportunity to find out more about the company. Bigger companies will have PR departments, smaller ones will provide you with some information. Libraries can provide information on local business and keep directories of national business.
Use the Internet, many companies have a presence here now. Make sure you know what the job entails. Get a job description, ask someone in a similar post; ring the company to clarify if unsure.
4. Don't Forget You Remember the employer is interested in you as a person, your experiences and your opinions (in most cases). Do take the time to sit down and think about you, who you are and what you've achieved. It can be highly embarrassing to know more about the employer than yourself. Think of some situations that have required some special thought or skill and be prepared to discuss these. Sit down with your CV and make notes, about your work record, what you've achieved. Look at yourself as a person in employment - how do you see yourself, what have you done, what ambitions do you have. Make notes and prepare and rehearse sound bites about yourself. Remember that one of the most common of interview questions is 'Tell me about yourself' prepare a sound bite for this in particular, but not a life history. Usually interviewers want to know about personal qualities not achievements though examples can be included to support your statement.
5. Answering Interview Questions Interviews vary tremendously, from very informal to formal. However, some questions can be anticipated, as can the subject matter. If you are well prepared, then the majority of problem questions should not arise.You will know about the company, you will know about yourself and you will have a good idea of the demands of the job - these questions will not be a problem to the well-prepared interviewee. A few general rules: • Speak up when answering questions. • Answer briefly, but try to avoid yes or no answers. • Don't worry about pausing before you answer, it shows you can think and are not spitting out the sound bites you learned! • Don't worry about admitting you don't know - but keep this to a bare minimum, expressing a willingness to learn is helpful. • Don't embellish answers or lie! Be as honest as possible. • Be prepared for hypothetical situation questions; take your time on these. • Be prepared for the unexpected question, that's designed to see how you cope with the unexpected ... the why's, what's, discussed in the lecture.
• If you ask questions keep them brief during the interview, remember you're the interviewee. At the end of the interview ask your questions in an open manner, that is questions that cannot be answered yes or no e.g. tell me about...? What is...? Why... • Thank the interviewers for their time when you leave quietly and calmly, and smile, even if you now hate them.
6. Questions for the interviewer There is always the opportunity to ask them questions at the end of the interview - remember the interview is a two way process, you need to be sure you want to join them too! Try to concentrate on issues which are both important to you and combine as apparent interest in the company, leave issues like terms and conditions until the very last, even they may feel the most important to you.Write your questions down prior to the interview and take them with you. Good topics to touch on include: • The competitive environment in which the organisation operates • Management styles and teamwork •What obstacles the organisation anticipates in meeting its goals
7. Presentation and Body Language â€˘ How the organisation's goals have changed over the past three to five years. Generally, it is most unwise to ask about pay or benefits or other similar areas.The reason is that it tends to make you seem more interested in what the organisation can do for you. It is also not a good idea to simply have no questions at all. Doing so makes you appear passive rather than curious and interested. Suggested Questions:
Wear what is appropriate for the post and the company. It may vary from smart, formal wear in some instances to very formal dress in others.Try and get an insight into what the company would expect from employees or through observation.What would be appropriate for a building company is very different for a public relations agency. Be well groomed and clean.Try to look calm and confident; simple things like deodourant can boost your confidence.
iv.What is the desired time frame for reaching the objectives?
Once you are ushered into the interview room there will usually be a short exchange of pleasantries and ice breaking. Don't be fooled by this time - it really is designed to put you at ease in most circumstances, but these initial moments are the most formative don't go over the top being exceptionally friendly or alternatively going rigid with fear feeling that your handshake was too limp! A pleasant natural smile, a firm handshake and a brief exchange of words in a natural manner of this greeting is sufficient. Some simple, but frequently broken rules! You are constantly presenting yourself so...
v.What resources are available from the company, are some bought in from elsewhere for example?
â€˘ Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor, lean slightly towards the interviewer.
i.What are the main objectives and responsibilities of the position? ii. How does the company expect these objectives to be met? iii.What obstacles are commonly encountered in reaching these objectives?
â€˘ Don't play with your hair or you hands. Keep them out of pockets!
• Try not to create defensive barriers between you and them, like a brief case on your knees, folded arms or crossed legs....even if you feel you need to. It's natural, but your interviewer will not physically attack! • Maintain natural eye contact with the interviewer that is maintain eye contact, but don't stare like a snake! • If there's more than one interviewer, look at who's talking. • When you're talking, shift your glance from one to the other. • Don't over use your hands, if you are a natural gesticulator. • Don't squirm and fidget. • Do nod and Mmm, to show you're listening to them. •Above all try to be you, try to be natural, unless you're naturally offensive!
Obeying these rules, will allow the interviewers to concentrate on you, and not what you're doing in the interview. Body language conveys all sorts of messages, and the right body language will convey the message of a well-balanced and confident individual...............even if you're not.
8. After the event Take stock of what has happened, what went well in your opinion / or didn't work as planned? Did anything catch you out / surprise you? You will naturally be going over the interview in your mind, so take advantage of this heightened focus and jot down your thoughts for future reference.
Coping With Interviews Ex student’s Comments
Kris Barrs (Precision Print) Hi Andy here is a few comments as requested. 1. How competent are you on the computer? 2.What programs do you know/ regularly use, have used at some point. 3.What live projects have you done? 4. Have you applied anywhere else? 5.What do you know about the company? These are some of the questions that spring to mind when I think back to my interviews. In my opinion be confident, well presented i.e. a suit or at least a shirt and tie (I remember you saying that you went into an interview in your normal clothes and they liked the fresh approach). Starting out from leaving college you need every little extra thing you can use to look professional and experienced and when leaving college you don’t have a natural look of skill experience - mainly due to the average age. I found ALOT of companies were very reluctant to employ someone from college.This is because firstly a lot of graduates are very cocky and think they know a lot because they have a degree! Where as that is so far from the truth.
I promoted myself as a fast learner able to soak up new technology very quickly, I could adapt my skills to a wide variety of tasks - an area developed extensively through college. I was a fast learner and had a good understanding of the basis of the design industry. Basically a company is usually prepared to train you, but they don't want to baby sit you, so if you can demonstrate the above skills you stand a much better chance. To sum it up be confident in yourself and your ability but not cocky, demonstrate that you have a knowledge of design, but you understand you still have a lot to learn and be prepared to work extra hard to learn about the aspects of the job.
Colin Higgins (Century Group) They try to picture you within their company/team: be a strong individual but don't be an arrogant shit who isn't a team player.
Daryl Edgecombe (dcreated design) Don’t forget that there can be more than one interview, I’ve just made it through a second round and had to do a practical test.
Heather Pontin (ILAM)
Martin Stopher (Kingston Technology, Mexico City)
The recruitment Agency in Reading set up an interview for me. It was very formal but the other interview in Cheltenham (even though they had no vacancies for me) had gone to plan so I stayed relaxed and it went really well. I then had to have a second interview before being offered the job.
Try to find out about the company before you go to the interview, know exactly what they do and preferably know good examples of their work. Donâ€™t be late for an interview - sounds obvious but I lost a job in ITN because of this. Have a real interest in the work, the people on the other side can tell the difference.
Stuart Palmer (Manchester United Interactive) Be sure you let them know that you understand that college deadlines are not realistic and that juggling projects is the norm. I was told at the first interview that 150 applicants had applied for this position. I came back for a second interview which turned out to be more of an introduction to everybody and the job was mine. I spent a couple of hours checking the contract and that was that.
Ben Hutchins (Teletext New Media) Whilst in the interview, although you may feel insecure, as long as you aren't bullshitting (Some graduates are full of it. he, he) and have all work and questions sorted there should be no problems. After all, job interviews can be daunting to even the most experienced. A couple of well placed questions tailor made for the company is a definite and should be written down so that it is obvious that it is preconceived.
Coping With Interviews
Professionals and Interviewers comments
Ben Louis-Smith (Slightly Different Design) some feedback from an ex-student on his first day of being an interviewer. Here are a few comments about our last set of interviews Andy.We sifted through the CVs and selected 8 people who appeared to fit the bill. Person 1 Bog standard portfolio but his early student work showed promise. His answers were very, very exact which left him no room to manoeuvre. It gave the impression of a very dogmatic person and we would be worried about leaving him with clients. Person2 Rang 3 days later asking for another interview… told him to take a hike. Person 3 Very experienced, knowledge about print was outstanding. Easy to talk to and confident without being arrogant. A good proposition. Person 4 Late without good cause, sent her packing!
Person 6 A part time lecturer...ha ha!! Dubious about their desire to do the job and wondered why they wanted what appeared to be a step down job. He gave the game away when he told us that he was moving to be closer to his girlfriend. A lot of skills that we could have used and exploited… unless he left after a short time. Couldn’t take that chance. Person 7 Quite possibly the most arrogant d******d I have ever had the misfortune of meeting.The questions are designed to let the candidates sell themselves, they even tutted when asked, as if it was all beneath them! Why bother!! 10 minutes was all he got. Person 8 A mature recent graduate with limited work experience (I had thought that all students had to do external projects like we did at Swansea).They had strong conceptual skills and their enthusiasm was a breath of fresh air, and at the end of a long day it invigorated me. It was clear that this was the person who was willing to give it all to the company.
Person 5 Probably the most creative portfolio but it became clear within 10 minutes that they could not explain how the ideas developed (which is worrying!!). I gave then the full interview but no way could I employ them.
Claire Guyton (Account Manager/Saatchi and Saatchi, London) I am amazed that you go to these lengths at Swansea, I really enjoyed meeting your students and think your course gives them an excellent chance to get into the industry.They have very wide reaching skills. One or two questions even got me thinking!! [A student] was so cool about it all, he’ll be in a job before he knows it. Count me in for next year, though knowing me I’ll be applying for another job myself by then!!! Maybe I’ll use your notes Andy!!!
Paul Drewson (SDC) I was a bit shocked to find the students so well prepared.The one who missed the portfolio class really stood out but that is understandable.The situation with the camera and everything even made me nervous. Good stuff, I’ll send on those application forms.
Anne Scourfield (Hello Advertising Group) Just thought I’d say hi...and let you know I just conducted my first interview...heehee so funny all the time I was in there I was thinking back to what you were saying about first impressions... so important. I can't believe how my perceptions changed sitting on the other side of the desk.
Contacts in the Design world
The Graphic Designer
The client could come from any background or walk of life.To you, primarily what matters is, that they might require your services as an illustrator or designer.They may well have had a number of jobs of this type pass through their hands, or this might be the first commission of work. If for whatever reason it is up to you to meet him or her it is important to arm yourself with as much information as you are able to collate prior to the meeting. If this is not possible you'll have to evaluate the situation as best you can on the spot, this can leave you in a delicate position as regards to how you make your approach. Interpersonal skills are at their most important in these initial stages.
The graphic designer is usually the lynch pin on which a job hangs, particularly in the absence of an Art Director. It is their role not only to come up with and present suitable design ideas for an appropriate market, but usually to co-ordinate other factors as well. It is rare for the designer to process all the necessary to complete a job, so it is important that he or she has a good understanding of all the processes and techniques and skills in an aesthetic manner, using the language of signs and images.These are the tools in trade of the Graphic Designer and sound Typographic ability is an essential pre-requisite to them.
The Agent or Art Director
It is often the case that your client is not necessarily the best placed person to deal with the complexities of advertising and marketing and will therefore call upon the services of an Artists Agent or Art Director to act as an intermediary or consultant. In such instances you are working on their interpretation of the clients requirements.They have already made their assessment of the job and can usually brief you in quite specific terms. Many illustrators and designers feel that these people make their living on the backs of the people who do the real work! It is worth remembering however that good contact with an Agent can lead to regular work and alleviate the need for you to chase clients. If you are employed in a Design Studio the Studio Manager will most likely undertake this role.
According to the American Designer Milton Glaser: 'The essential function of art is to change and intensify one's perception of reality.' When artistic images are used to convey specific information we usually term it 'illustration'.The content of an illustration is normally specified in relation to a specific text or narrative that requires the artist to enlighten the reader in some way. Social and economic and demands must be considered along with suitable media or technique. Most illustrators will be employed by either Agents, Art Directors or graphic Designers who wish to utilise the particular skills or styles offered by that individual.
The Photographer Illustrators often overlook the fact that an illustration of something that already exists may be more aptly portrayed by a photograph; this being in many cases a cheaper alternative! A good photographer will 'paint' his subject with light and can create images of intense mood and interest when the need arises. As with illustrators most will specialise in particular subject areas and styles. It is also common-place for photographers to sell their work through photo libraries, which market their existing images in catalogues.
Bureaux and other Specialist Services A Designer or Art Director will often require specialist services. For example someone may be needed to edit existing text or alternatively if none is available a copywriter may be commissioned to undertake this.With layout and design being prepared directly onto a computer it is often preferable to put this work out rather than to tie up resources. As a final check a Proof Reader with a good command of English can correct grammatical errors and spelling that may have been missed by digital checks.
Print Estimator Most established printers will employ an Estimator and he or she is usually the first point of contact for the Designer.These people have a full understanding of all the processes available to them and how they can best be utilised for a particular job.Their role is
primarily to sell the services of their company, usually on two main counts, quality and price.This role is sometimes taken by a Representative who will then refer technical details etc. to the Estimator for appraisal.
Selected Printer It is advisable to get a number of Quotes from alternative printers before committing yourself to one in particular.Three such quotes are often considered the norm. Choice will usually depend on factors already mentioned in conjunction with other considerations such as reputation and ability to meet deadlines. In some cases some printers may be able to offer services not available from their competitors, a particular forms of binding perhaps, or size and type of press to cope with specific demands.
Repro House Origination of print can be a quite complex procedure and many printers will prefer to entrust this to a specialist Repro House. Such companies will usually take the Designer's work directly from the printer and prepare all the films (Sometimes referred to as 'Foils') necessary to make a printing plate.With this done they usually have the capacity to produce a proof print for the printer and customer to check.
Contacts in the Design world Ex Student’s Comments
(Damien O’Farrell - Freelance Illustrator / The Guardian) One minute digging the roads… next working for the senior management - know whom you are talking to!
(James Davies - Illustrator / Designer) You were right in that network lecture… if I hadn’t listened I might have missed my job… (It was) mate of a mate stuff.
(Neil Cunningham - Print Evolution) Its so important to see beyond your what you do… as an illustrator at Uni I didn’t realise how important it was to understand the graphics lot for example… to be honest I remember thinking in the lecture nothing to do with me! Oooops - WRONG!!!!
(Nibby and Charlene - To You Cards) We’ve discovered that everyone we meet businesswise in Swansea knows you Andy! You should include yourself in those charts.
The Professional Brief
Introduction As a student, you are used to being given a series of briefs that are delivered by the staff who usually expand on the written information with a verbal description of their requirements. In industry and especially in Freelance practice you will find that eliciting the brief from your client is an art form in itself! In consequence it is important to not only be aware of this but to prepare some form of action plan to enable you to get the maximum information from your client in as little time as possible. It is important that you are satisfying the person who is ultimately paying the bills hence this first stage, the briefing, must be handled well.
The Briefing When you undertake commissioned work you are usually fulfiling two functions not one.You have to address the needs of the client’s customers as well as his own requirements. He or she might be a specialist as in the case of an Art Director or Artist’s Agent and thus will be able to discuss details of a technical nature using appropriate phrases or terms. All too often this is not the case so it is important that you are able to lead the client, explaining technicalities as they arise and trying to communicate, not simply impress (this often has quite the opposite effect). Let’s look at some preparatory work for this allimportant meeting:
What you should take: • Samples of work • Notepad and possibly tape recorder • Checklist of questions
Sample checklist of questions • What are the aims of the design? • To whom is it aimed? • Print / web or both? • Any colour restrictions? • Any size restrictions? • Are there a proposed number of pages? • Illustrations or photography need commissioning? • What reference material is available? • How much copy is needed? • Is it available / supplied? • When are these resources to be made available? • When are the deadlines... interim deadlines?
Ex Students comment • Is there a set budget? Or are estimates / quotations required? • When are these needed? • How will payment be made? Lump sum, weekly, production stages... other? • Are there any copyright issues? • Printing or ISP arrangements required? • Can they give a signed response to you, letter of agreement - possibly written up by you? Please bear in mind the list of contacts that you’ve previously been given, for example, the designer could well influence the decision as to which illustrator should be employed. If you can put yourself in his or her shoes and imagine the various considerations that they have to make then you are in a far better position to make your case.These checklists can be a very important tool so your task is to create your own. Maybe present this professionally as a reminder of events? It can then be signed by both parties at conclusion of meeting or used as a basis for a letter / contract?
(Darryl Edgecombe - Graphic Realm) I find myself teaching my clients half the time… explaining how my job works (Ian Simmons - Dragonart) Coming away with the right information can make the difference between getting paid or not - as I discovered! (Leanne Ellis - Children’s book illustrator) My checklist that I did at college was pretty thin… can I catch up with you to do a better version… think I need it! (Tom Buttle - Big Fish - Little Fish, Business Plan Group) We got together (a group of graphics and illustrators) like we did in year 2… it was amazing what we all thought of for that checklist.
A book i put together form a set of notes i received from a module i did in university while doing my BA(Hons) in graphic design. The book h...