After working in the Hispanic advertising agency Gallegos United for six months as a freelance presentation designer, I discovered that one of the most important professional resume pieces is your “Book”. Every designer knows what your “Book” is.
For my readers who are outside of the advertising world, your “Book” is your 30-second elevator pitch and what can win you a job in the ad industry. A strong, solid Book will get you recognized by showcasing your abilities.
While working at GU, the main question I would often ask myself (and the brilliant/experienced professionals I was surrounded by) was what should I put in my Book? I have a lot of good work I want to showcase, but if an employer is only going to look at my Book for a quick 30 seconds (and that’s a maybe), how can I get all of my best pieces into it?
After asking around, and seeing what other people had done with their Books, the obvious answer was quality over quantity. One co-worker told me that you should never have more than ten pieces in your Book. He said to just put in your ten best pieces of work – one for each aspect of a media source you are strong in – only if you want to be flashy. He elaborated on how consistency is key, as is showing you have a speciality media. If you’re good at creating social media posts, wow the employer with social media-esque posts. If you’re good with print work, show them your best print campaign.
With these tips in mind while preparing for my departure from Gallegos United, I realized I needed to strengthen my Book and play to what employers might want to see. I found a job opening for a graphic design position with UC Irvine Athletics, so I figured I would showcase my best collegiate athletic design work in my Book, along with mock up some new designs (as my skills had constantly improved since my last Athletics position). To see the Book I sent over, click McGrathPortfolio.
I sent the Book to my employer via an informal email after applying for the job and was offered the position within a week. After I was offered the position, I asked my employer what he thought of my work. He said his biggest concern was that my style is totally different from what UC Irvine Athletics normally puts out, but my work was overall good. He was able to see the theme of simplicity throughout, and could tell I had an obvious workflow that attributed to a simplistic consistency in my design. This gave me the most important takeaway for developing a Book: style is key.
Your design style and treatment must be consistent across every page, and is what can and will set you apart from everyone else. Find your style, own it, and use it to your advantage. When developing a Book, it is crucial to display your absolute best works of design and creativity, provide quality over quantity, and sick to your style – letting it shine through the competition.
Keep your skies green!