7 Portfolio Tips for Designers and Copywriters

By Joyce Bethoney on March 08, 2016

As a creative recruiter, I’ve seen hundreds of portfolios—ones that work, ones that don’t, and ones that could work with just a few tweaks. Here’s what you need to know:

1) If you’re a designer or copywriter, you need a portfolio. I repeat. You need a portfolio. If this seems obvious to you, terrific, please move to #2. If this is news to you, it’s time to build one. I see far too many good people miss out on great opportunities because they don’t have a portfolio.

2) Build your portfolio as you go. Gather your best work during contract engagements and long-term roles. If your client work is proprietary, pick up a few jobs on the side to show what you can do.

3) Make it clear which verticals you’ve worked in—Retail, Financial, Pharmaceutical, etc.—in order to paint a picture of your experience. Include a variety of samples, while still highlighting your niche.

4) Keep in mind that paid work always trumps the work you did pro bono or in school.

5) Lead with big brand and agency work.

6) Take the time to invest in your website. I’ve seen great designers and copywriters passed over because their websites were lackluster, unprofessional or out-of-date. Consider how someone would navigate your site. Enlist the help of a professional if need be.

7) Your portfolio is not your Facebook page. Over-sharing personal information looks green and unprofessional. Sharing one or two personal tidbits is ok, but your portfolio should represent your professional brand, not your personal life.

Your portfolio isn’t the only factor in your job search—interviewing, first impressions, relevant experience and more—all come into play. But your portfolio IS a factor. Don’t miss out on great opportunities because your portfolio doesn’t make the grade or doesn’t exist at all.

The Best Advice I Can Give Jobseekers

By Joyce Bethoney on February 17, 2015

When I meet new people and tell them I’m a recruiter, I’m so often asked, “What’s the best advice you can give to someone looking for a new job?”

Since I recruit for a very niche market—advertising, marketing, creative and interactive—most of my advice is specific to those industries. However, since it comes up so often, I thought I would share what I consider advice that is applicable to all jobseekers.

Some of this may seem random. Some of this may seem obvious. But, believe me, if it’s on the list, it’s because I’ve found it to be a piece of advice that is NOT obvious to everyone... 


Jobseeker Recommended Reading

By Mary Truslow on October 16, 2014

Finding a new job should be about more than compensation, skill-set and commute. A job search is an opportunity to really make a change in your life. So, when looking for a new role, reflect on who you are. Figure out what gets you jazzed. And of course, determine where your experience intersects with today’s job market.

Here is a collection of the latest articles I recommend to candidates embarking on their own job searches. And if you are thinking about looking for a new role now or in the New Year, we’re here to help.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose

Steps for a Successful Job Search

Fabulous Resume Tips for Career Changers

How to use LinkedIn daily, weekly, monthly

6 Steps to a Perfect Interview

Getting Hired

Age or Attitude?

How A Recruiter Should Work With You

By Megan Greene on July 15, 2014

Placing a great candidate in a great role is exciting for all parties involved—the candidate, the client and the recruiter. But in all of the excitement, a candidate should never feel rushed or pressured to make a decision. If you decide to work with a recruiter, you should feel like you're in a partnership and working with someone who is looking out for your best interests.

It's the recruiter's job to establish open and honest communication, and provide enough time and space for a candidate to think through and answer critical, but often glossed over, questions, such as:

1) Does this position truly match my skill set?

2) Is the company of interest to me?

3) Is the commute feasible/location convenient?

4) Is the salary or hourly rate in line with what I am looking for?

5) Have I asked all of the questions I have around the position/company/opportunity?

At a minimum, these are the questions that need to be answered (honestly) before accepting any position. And the right recruiter cannot only help you to answer them, but also bring insight and considerations to the table that may assist you in your decision.

Why Candidates Have the Upper Hand in Today's Hiring Market

By Joyce Bethoney on April 23, 2014

When a candidate you fall in love with passes on your offer, it is a hard pill to swallow. Recruiting takes time and effort and getting everyone on board with one person is no small feat. But this is the current hiring market. Great candidates have many great opportunities. And if your company thinks it is the only fish in a top performer’s sea, think again.

This is tricky for clients because, as we all know, the value of a good hire to a company is beyond measure. As JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, once said, “One of the biggest expenses a company makes is hiring people, particularly hiring the wrong people.” 

So, when it comes to increasing the likelihood of getting the hire you really want, what can you do?


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