Ask Esther // 04

Hi Esther,

What’s the best way for me to add to and improve my folio since finishing uni? I mean apart from grabbing something off the supermarket shelf or trying to get into AWARD school next year?

I’m struggling for confidence since finishing my 3 years at RMIT (and probably could have worked harder!) but I think I would feel more confident putting myself out there as a creative if I had work that better reflected my creative abilities.

What do you think? – Folio Tweaker

Dear Folio Tweaker,

AWARD School has only just graduated. You can’t sit and wait for next year’s intake. You did a great course already. Even if you slacked off, let’s assume you picked up a few skills in strategy, ideas and execution.

Try this exercise. In a week or two, you could have a hot new book ready to go to market.

Step one. Go to the supermarket. Walk up and down each aisle. Look for products you are familiar with, but cannot recall their ads. Useful categories like breakfast cereals, health bars, cleaning products, stationery, pre-cooked meals, canned soups. You get the idea.

Very important your mind is blank about their existing or recent advertising activity.

Step two. Purchase the products. More than 10 and fewer than 25. Do not confuse this expedition or try to combine with your weekly grocery shop. Stick to the plan.

Step three. Clear a workspace at home and put items on it. One by one write a brief for each one. Think about who the market is and the usp if there is one, the best medium(s), and the approx budget. Write the strategy for each product. Do NOT attempt to come up with any ideas yet.

Step four. Go through each brief. Some will be better than others. Cull, refine, go back to the supermarket if necessary to take pics of their competition. (You shouldn’t have to buy too much here but it’s up to you). Look up competitors’ ads if they exist.

Step five. Go see a movie. Or sleep on it. Go for a run. You get the idea. Put some space between the left and right sides of your brain.

Step six. Pick the BEST five briefs that are creatively challenging, offer diversity of products and approach. One by one go to work on them. (You can always change your mind. You have a pile of briefs to play with).

Do not skip any steps.

Any decent creative or recruiter you show your book to can tell if you came up with an idea first, and then retro-fitted it to a product. This is about solving problems. Problems you made up perhaps but still using your skills, common sense and creativity.

Step seven. Go get some feedback from a senior creative or a recruiter on your progress and finess the work accordingly.

Then fine tune the presentation and update your website.

Your website folio should now be unique, fresh and demonstrate initiative as well as your strategic, creative and presentation skills.

You can ask Esther Clerehan anything about putting your book together, getting a job, what salary to ask for or what to do when someone steals your ideas. Go on, Ask Esther. There is no other creative recruiter with more experience to educate us on the art of the job hunt. You can email her here at junior at wtf@lifeatthebottom.com (wtf null@null lifeatthebottom NULL.com).

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 06/09/2011
Category: Ask Esther
Tagged: .