Taking the Plunge...

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Well, it's out there. . . My first portfolio and job application. Last week I worked 'round the clock on a three page portfolio for an internship application at a local design firm. I know, I know, you're thinking, "three pages, sheesh, that's nothing." Well, I have a little wake-up call for you. . . It's a lot of work. The challenge, if you're projects are extensive and in-depth, is fitting all the important information onto only three pages.

Originally I had planned to do three projects, one on each page. When that became a painful headache, I condensed it down to two projects, one of which contained a lot of information. . . hence needing the extra space. I also took on the challenge of teaching myself (after a two hour crash course) a rendering program in which I was re-doing one of the projects, for a digitally rendered end product. I have never wanted to tear my hair out more. But, I completed the drawings, finally.

The next challenge was the layout. I have provided some examples here:
Plunge Image 1.jpg Plunge Image 2.jpg

When developing a portfolio, resume, anything, the layout is the second most (and in some cases most) important aspect, especially for a design major. When a prospective employer looks at your documents with a glance, it has to read well, feel organized and balanced, and be visually appealing, otherwise it may get tossed to the side, not giving you a chance.

I have never had formal graphic design or layout education, but with the skills I have acquired making presentation boards, etc, I had an idea of how things should look to make it visually appealing. . . at least I hope! I haven't received a call for an interview yet. . . hmmmmm. . .

In addition to producing my portfolio, updating my resume, and construction an energetic cover letter, I contacted a professional who I have had wonderful opportunities of networking with over the past two years. I told her my goals, upon asking for some advice, and she offered to forward my resume/portfolio package onto the "right" people at the company.

This goes to show that making a good impression, following up with networking (i.e. keeping in contact), and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it, truly pays off. She copied me on the email that was sent, and I have never been so flattered in my life. The compliments I received were mind blowing.

ven if I do not get this internship, I know I have a wonderful reference, which is something everyone should have. Contact them early, ask for a letter of recommendation while everything is fresh in their mind.

And when they do write a letter, send an email recommendation, or forward your application on, SEND THEM A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE. An email does not suffice. I will reiterate, SEND THEM A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU. It will show your respect and appreciation for what they have just done for you.

1 Comment

Thank you notes ARE extremely important - thanks for pointing that out Nancy. I thought I would mention that about 1/2 of employers say they want a hand-written note and about 1/2 prefer a typed (formal) thank you note.

I suggest all students think about the interviewer and gauge what will be best for that person based on their personality. Was the interviewer more formal and business like? If so, perhaps a typed note would be preferrable.

Heidi Perman
Career Counselor
St. Paul Campus Career Center

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This page contains a single entry by Saint Paul Campus Career Center published on April 12, 2010 8:39 AM.

Jobs Can Come From Anywhere. . . was the previous entry in this blog.

The Procrastination Queen is the next entry in this blog.

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