'Tis the Season to Polish Your Book

Ten Tips for Refreshing Your Portfolio

By Published on .

Tyler Platts
Tyler Platts
Jeanette Guardiola, in her post titled "Beat OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Design)," commented on how you shouldn't waste away the hours trying to make everything perfect. One, because you don't have the time. And two, because your portfolio will never be perfect. There always will be adjustments and improvements you will want to make. Jeanette makes some great points about networking as well. You should definitely check out her post.

But with recruitment season around the corner and this holiday break coming at the end of the year, to me, this is the perfect opportunity to spend a little extra time on your book. Don't go overboard; enjoy the holidays, enjoy your family. The following are 10 tips that will help you focus your time on your portfolio so you will not spend exhausting hours redesigning and revamping your book.

1. Have a deadline. In school, we have deadlines. So make a deadline and stick to it. When that due date hits the calendar, have a solid portfolio of which you won't be embarrassed.

2. Packaging is important. Package it in a way that it will stand out among the hundreds of other books.

3. Use your best work. For those just out of school or in school, my recommendation is to put your best work in, whether it is produced or spec work. They want to see your BEST ideas.

4. Pick a standard number of campaigns. The number of campaigns differs with each agency and recruiter. So you'll have to be the judge if it is too long or too short. I've found that around five campaigns is a good standard.

5. Pick the most effective executions. Don't just fill a quota and put a check in all the boxes. Check for radio, TV is done, now onto digital. Use the executions that best communicate the idea.

6. Be deliberate with order. Take the reader on an emotional roller coaster. Each campaign has a tone and feel. Make sure that is an order that really goes from one end to the other with intermediate campaigns that work great for transitions.

7. Pick and choose clients to feature. Using well-known brands will help so you don't have to exhaust the reader with explanations of the client and who they are. But don't use the brands that everyone else uses. Create a new campaign for a brand or product you know but for which you don't see tons of ads. Individual artwork is always a positive. This can show your creativity in other realms other than just campaigns.

8. Account execs and planners should have portfolios as well. Don't think you're off the hook. Feel connected with the work and show how you contributed.

9. Leave a takeaway. Once your e-mail gets deleted from the inbox, your link has vanished. Once another book gets placed on yours, will you be forgotten? Don't disappear in the minds of the recruiter. Leave something for them to remember you.

10. One thing to always remember is that everything is communicating. So take a look when you are finished and analyze what you are communicating. The most important tip is to make your book express who you are.

Tyler Platts is finishing his degree in advertising at Brigham Young University with a business-management minor. He interned in New York at Y&R as an account executive in the summer of 2009. He has filled many roles, such as account executive, planner and copywriter, in the BYU AdLab. The AdLab is a student-run, professionally mentored ad agency that does real work for real clients. He spent some time in the Brazilian Rain Forest and wants to return for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
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