Your print portfolio is how you demonstrate your skills to a potential employer and walk them through the best of the work you’ve done thus far. But many copywriters are making a mistake that, at best, reflects poorly on them and, at worst, could cost them the opportunity. Curious? Read on…
Today’s question comes from Althea W. who asks, “I want to make sure my print portfolio is the best it can be. Do you have any tips that will help me out?”
Now, you already know that your portfolio (both print and online) has to be in absolute, tip-top shape: You need to be featuring the very best of your work and nothing at all sub-par. So let’s establish this as your baseline.
But the big mistake that many copywriters make when they put together their print portfolio is just to take the piece they have on their online portfolio, throw them into archival sleeves and call it a day.
Here’s the problem with that: When you go into an interview, you need to seem (and be!) utterly and completely prepared. So when a client asks to see the work that’s most similar to the work they do, and you have to open your portfolio and search for those pieces, you look dismally unprepared.
Flipping through page after page of work in search of the pieces that you know you’ll have to show a client makes you look like you haven’t put any thought or effort into the interview! You will, absolutely definitely, have to show a potential client your pieces that are most like what they currently do—and if they don’t ask to see them, you should suggest it!
You want it to seem like you’re both a perfect and easy fit for this role and one of the best ways to do that is to show that you’ve already done work just like the work they do and the work they’d need you to do. Makes sense, right?
But when you come in and that work isn’t front and center in your portfolio, it makes you look disorganized and, honestly, pretty thoughtless. It looks like you didn’t bother to rearrange your portfolio and, so, you don’t really care about this job that much.
So many copywriters make this mistake and it’s a huge turn-off for potential employers and creative directors, especially. They know that you should know better.
So what can you do? Know better! Reorganize your portfolio to put the pieces you know you want to show them in the front of your portfolio. No flipping, no searching, just opening up your portfolio and showing them what you’ve got.
Then, after those pieces, put your other pieces that are in the same medium (emails, web pages, direct mail, etc.) that the company often works in. Work from most relevant to the company to least as you work your way back. They may end up wanting to see all of your work, but you’ll still want to start with the most relevant work in the front.
Reordering your print portfolio is so often skipped by copywriters, but such a crucial step. You’ll look professional and polished, and you’ll help to increase your odds of landing that dream job.
Your turn! What’s your pre-interview ritual? Let us know in the comments below!