Be positive!Posted: April 18, 2016 | |
Today has been a long and quite inspiring day. I know I write about a lot of rubbish on this blog; often quite sarcastic, negative rubbish. But today will be different! I am not feeling particularly elated or excited about the day, I am just content with the general vibes and information that I have gained by powering through and staying for the full day of lectures. This is an accomplishment for me, however small or insignificant it may seem.
The main subject covered has been CV writing and online presence, as an individual person and a professional. Although according to Olwen it is very easy to get the two entwined.
Firstly Ian spoke to us about the ways in which a design student’s CV can look and gave us the task, in groups of 3/4, to take 10 CVs and short-list 3 of them based primarily on their visual appearance but also taking grammar and spelling into account. I was truly shocked at the attempts of previous design students and hope to God (or the less religious equivalent) that none of my design work is ever as bad as what I saw today. As brutal as it is to say, if I was Ian, or Olwen, teaching these students I would have given up on teaching design a long time ago.
And that’s enough negativity for one day.
We managed to find a few that scraped ‘good’ and presented those, and other groups actually found some pretty great designs so some hope was restored by the end of the session.
Between the lecture given by Matt on Thursday and Olwen’s talk today I have been pushed slightly further towards getting my online presence sorted and making my university work a higher priority. I will also need to get work experience over the summer in order to make getting my foot in the door with a design agency after uni an easier task, and to do this I will most likely need a decent CV and a full portfolio of GOOD work. So I should probably get cracking, there is only one month left before everything from this year has to be handed in, and so far since losing everything, I have very little. But hey ho!
Going back to Matt’s lecture quickly, the main things I learnt about making a portfolio and getting somewhere in design during this session are:
- Specialise – have something unique about myself and my work that will grab people’s attention and mean that companies will come to me when they need that specific thing.
- Use hierarchy when presenting my work – have the better work at the front where it can be easily found.
- Use my portfolio to tell people who I am, what I can offer and why they can trust me to do a good job.
- Be clear.
- Don’t use buzz words – eg. “Highly creative”, “imaginative”, “hard-working”. These things should all be obvious when applying for a design job.
- Include evidence of work to back up claims and do not make false claims, I will be found out.
- Possibly create an interactive portfolio – it will show my ability and create a more enjoyable experience of my work.
- Do not add webpages until they are completed and take down inactive sites and profiles.
- Get someone to proof-read my portfolio before I send it out – any spelling or grammar mistakes and it will be thrown straight out.
- Don’t ‘waffle’ – only include relevant, clearly identifiable information.
- Do not include a logo unless it is perfect, impressive and fits in with the rest of the document
In a similar class discussion with Olwen I picked up some useful advice for creating a CV; such as using “action words” like accomplished, achieved, presented and organised, to catch the attention of the reader and appear enthusiastic about my past achievements, and be conscious of white space, layout, colours etc.
We were also given lots of advice on how important it is to appear online and how to do it effectively:
- Be active
- Post relevant, quality information
- Be positive and helpful
- Share, appreciate and comment on other people’s work
- Use it as a platform to make conversation with employers, design agencies and possible clients
- Post and gain feedback for your own work
- Conduct research
- Build a reputation
- Share and promote the industry generally
This last point is one which I think is really important. Recently I heard a comment made by a non-designer that we spend a lot of time networking and speaking to each-other and most people don’t know what they actually do. For the record, we are graphic communicators who create visual responses and solutions for problems. Which I suppose involves a lot of different avenues, in my experience the main ones include typography, branding, a certain amount of advertisement and print work. Graphic designers can work for a variety of different ‘entities’ including charities, businesses, large companies, events and generally any cause that requires help with visuals. However this isn’t apparent enough in the world outside of design and this is something we can explain and promote via social media.
When creating social media profiles we are often advised to write a short description of ourselves. On my personal Instagram, I have written “Photographer, designer, vain little hipster” with a line of ‘appropriate’ emojis and a list of the towns I have called home. My photography profile has “21, Photographer, creative, graphic designer. Cardiff, South Wales.” While these aren’t necessarily justifiable as sentences, I think they sum up what I do in a very basic sense and include where I am based which might be useful when applying for local jobs. An exercise during the lecture was to come up with an accurate summary of ourselves in one sentence. Mine is “A creative photographer and enthusiastic graphic communicator currently based in Cardiff.”
The negative side of social media and having a presence online that we spoke about are as follows:
- We are a generation that used social media when we were younger and when social media was used very differently – we could be held unfairly accountable for inappropriate things we might have said when we were younger, when it didn’t affect us as much as it does now
- Freedom of speech has become limited because we are aware of how things we say could offend or insult some people and that our political views, for example, could have an effect on whether we are considered for a job or not
- Pictures and videos can be posted without our consent and could be seen by anyone, including potential employers
- If you feel you have nothing to say or do not have social media accounts, it raises questions about yourself as a person, and you could have a disadvantage against people who do have an active online presence
There were a couple of other tasks I was meant to type up on this blog but I can’t remember what they were and Olwen’s presentation isn’t up on Moodle yet so I will leave it for now and head home to my lovely warm bed; to get on with my CV and the content for my portfolio, unfortunately not to sleep just yet.
Oh, the first world problems of a slacking art student.