Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Career portfolio. Tips for creative professionals and those in other industries. Singapore talks about career portfolios -- creative ones and also the generic type.

Jobs for illustrators, web designers, interior designers, fashion designers, graphic artists, editors, and copy writers. What do they have in common? Three words: ART. And what does it take to job hunt in the arts trade?

There's the need to go about the basics, of course -- you need to write a resume and then sign up to jobs portals like Singapore to get things to start rolling. But there's one more -- you also need to prepare a certain something to serve as the cherry of your applications. Unlike accounting jobs or engineering jobs, arts careers are all about creativity; you have to prepare a portfolio to show that you posses the talent. That's the way things go in fields of design, advertising, and media. Importance is also given to employee skills in these trades, but in a nutshell, you'll be judged by your abilities in creating and making. It's the ticket to success in the arts trade, so to speak. "To be successful, they [artists] should be proactive and send their portfolios to different publishers, especially overseas ones", is what Patrick Yee, a successful illustrator who teaches art at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), has told us when we've asked him to give advice to aspiring arts professionals through JobsDB Campus.

A good portfolio doesn't mean being the most popular designer in the design agency -- everyone in the arts trade can have an outstanding one. The key here is picking the best ones to include in the folder. Your first successful campaign deserves a space in your portfolio. The one that has earned you the most praises from your colleagues too. That's the idea.

But of course, there's a limit to this. You don't want to make your portfolio bulky and heavy in the eyes. It may discourage clients to explore yours in depth and they as a result, won't know your full capacity as an artist. What parameters should you use in compiling your works? "You don't want your portfolio to look like a trash folder of your past achievements", we remember saying in an older post of ours about portfolios. We suggest you make yours go with the flow. Read the news to find out what the clients want. "You have to follow the style that clients want to see and also be in touch with the trends", as Darell has put it.

"[An] endless pursuit of fresh ideas and propositions", is how Dzulkifli Ahmad, a graphic designer at W3-O has described his job to us when we've interviewed him for Industry Focus. Keeping a portfolio is a continuous activity; updates must be done regularly to keep yours outstanding and competitive. You MUST not stop making updates, even if you've already found a stable post. One update is never enough as design is a skill which can be developed and nurtured. "The more you expose yourself to creative thinking, the better you'll get over time", Joyce Wan, senior art director at W3-O carries the same idea as her colleague. Darell is also with this idea. "I would encourage young artists to work hard and always look at different works in bookshops."

Seeing as how competitive the Singapore job market has become over the years, having a career portfolio can benefit other working professionals too. What to include? Brief descriptions of your past successful projects as well as relevant certificates you've received through skills training. You can also add copies of your membership cards and licenses there -- things that may not have earned a place in your resume, but can better your chances of landing a job. Here are other things worth including in your portfolio: sample reports, performance evaluations, "well done" emails, school transcript.

Yes, you can add more. Just remember to "confine your information to that which is work-related, demonstrates your career success and addresses your employer’s needs", as Adecco Singapore has put it in their Resume Errors Can Damage Your Employment Prospects article on Career Advice.

Whether you're in the HR jobs field or perhaps, in telecommunications, if you've never considered keeping a portfolio, now is the time to build one. It's always good to be ahead of the game. You never know.

Follow these links to read more from Darrell, Dzulkifli, Joyce and Adecco Singapore:

Resume Errors Can Damage Your Employment Prospects


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