Over the course of your career you will create many brands, but the first one is yours. Like it or not, you are a brand. The work you include in your book, the order you place it in, the words you use to describe that work, the clothes you wear for your interview all combine to create a brand impression in the mind of the interviewer. Make sure you are creating a brand that is important to your audience (your future employer).
You may be good at 10 things, but nobody will hire you to do 10 things. Show that you can do a few key things exceptionally well instead of everything moderately well. Wow them with what you can do and floor them with your versatility AFTER you get the job.
Doing the work is only half the battle, selling the work is the rest of the battle. How well you present your work is just as important as the work itself. Tell the story of the inescapable chain of events that led you to this specific creative solution and why this solution is superior to all other solutions. Great designers do great work, great creative directors sell the shit out of it.
No matter where your creative career takes you, one thing I can guarantee; nobody will ever ask you to hand-bind a book. There seems to be an inordinate emphasis on creating a hand or professionally bound book for your portfolio. Take my word for it, a well crafted digital portfolio is more relevant in this work environment. Put on a good show, the medium you use is less important.
You aren’t selling your design abilities, you’re selling trust. Every prospective manager you interview with is asking themselves “what potential does this person bring with them?” They need to feel your passion for what you do. Show them that you have insatiable intellectual and creative curiosity and as you grow as a creative professional, what you offer them and their clients will grow. Recognize that there is room for improvement in your work, but not in your attitude.
And to my colleagues, who have considered participating in an event like this — get out there and do it. Look at the work being done by young designers, share the wisdom of your experiences with them but learn from theirs as well.
It is so valuable to understand the visual language being used by this newest generation of creative communicators.
Their work will impress you, it will enrich your own work and help you to stay current in an ever-changing creative landscape
Besides, they usually have free pizza.