Do the work before you’re ready to show it…

The one aspect that stuns me while reviewing resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles of potential candidates is their portfolio. Most don’t have it and when asked they need “some time” to pull everything together. The ones who do have a portfolio share samples that are from 2014, 2015, 2016, along with their most recent poster with a single line on life that’s ripped off from some famous author.

Yes, I get it. Balancing a full-time job and maintaining an updated resume, portfolio and cover letter is hard work. But it isn’t something you’re doing for your future employer. You have to do this for your own sake as an artist! It’s 2019 (and we’re losing a grip on it!) and you’re not going to get a job on the strength of your resume or personality, though the latter can help crack the interview, if, and that’s a big if, the stakeholders like your work.

A portfolio allows you to present a different flavours of the kind of work that you and enjoy. For a creative, it’s their greatest asset. Heck, you don’t even have to bother maintaining a physical folder for this anymore! Just gather all the good stuff, organise it by theme or type and put it somewhere in the cloud. And keep updating it daily. For the proactive, building a website and showcasing your work there is a no-brainer. Of course, that’s a massive time investment. But one that you won’t regret.

Having the presence of mind to showcase not just your best but also the most updated work is critical. The world’s evolving at a rapid pace and you can tell by what was trending early this January on Instagram compared to what’s hot right now. Ignoring this bit can set you back in the long run.

What does all this really mean for you? Do the work before you’re eager to showcase your work. I couldn’t get more direct than this. You have to make the effort to not just update, create, collaborate, and organise your “assets” to ensure that you’re on top of your game when you’re ready for a new opportunity.

And this doesn’t just apply to creatives but even consultants, managers, accountants, HR professionals, recruiters, and everyone in between. You can get as creative as you can but you need to figure out a way to convey the value that you bring to the fold. I believe everyone should have a portfolio. If you don’t have it, stop reading this and build one.

Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

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