It’s that time of year again. The malls are filled with back-to-school clothes, the nights are getting cooler—and all your fave agencies are actively ramping up for new work with clients who are already thinking about the holiday season. Time to get your ducks in a row and make sure you’re at the top of the “nice” list for those jolly souls seeking the best creative talent for their projects. Check out some tips from Vitamin T agents on how make sure you’re the one they just can’t live without:
Update your resume. We know it’s painful, but just do it. Make sure it highlights your key strengths – and all the great solutions and results you’ve generated for your clients. Work with your agent to make sure the resume we put in front of an opportunity matches the hot buttons for that specific job. Ask someone you love to read it for clarity and grammar, and be sure to check that any links you provide are still working.
Show your stuff. A resume is necessary, but a creative without an online portfolio is like traveling the world without a passport. You're not going to get anywhere and nobody is going to see proof you've been there. Your online portfolio should be extremely easy to navigate and show your best stuff.
Connect those six-degrees-of-separation. Update your profile on LinkedIn and creative boards you’re a part of, and check out who people in your network are connected to. As they say, “it’s a small world”, and you might be surprised to find colleagues or friends who can help make an introduction to a company you’d like to reach.
Network, network, network. Sign up for email alerts for professional association events and meetups to be sure you don’t miss great networking opportunities. Look for contacts you’ve met at previous events to reconnect with. And check out upcoming creative and marketing conferences to meet some new ones.
Refresh your elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect. And your cat doesn't count. So ask somebody to critique your pitch to make sure you're being clear and concise in your delivery and message. (ps. Your agent is a great listener!)
Get the look. Put together one great interview outfit so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. You’ll be like Superman, without the phone booth. (But please leave your cape at home.)
Go for your dream role. Target 5-10 potential companies and work with your agent to develop a proactive networking campaign to reach them. Build your target list by finding new creatives, ad agencies, and client-side companies to follow via Twitter and Facebook.
Get your name out there. Write an article for an industry publication, get connected on social media to the companies and people you admire, and if you’ve got the skills, offer to speak at local industry events. This one’s a no-brainer, but also make sure your awesome profile is live on lots of sites like Behance, which is often where hiring managers go to find great new talent.
Have a heart to heart with your agent. Set up a time to chat with your agent. This is their expertise and they're the first to see the tides of the market change. Update them on changes in your situation and direction, and find out what's happening in your local market. This will help them bring you the opportunities you're most interested in.
Get your geek on. Think about what one thing you want to focus on, and improve upon or acquire those skills. This could be learning HTML5, CS5, or other skills that are highly desirable in your field. (Bonus: Aquent and Vitamin T talent can take any class through Lynda.com for free! They offer tutorials in interactive, video, web development, and other fields. Contact your agent for details.)
Technical skills are important to have, but it's the soft skills that can set you apart from the pack.