Posts Tagged ‘portfolios’
It is very difficult to write a resume. It's less difficult to keep adding information to a resume that's already written.
Keep your resume updated. It’s a good idea to document your current scope of responsibilities plus all of those new feathers you’re adding to your cap. You may just surprise yourself when you review your new resume and say, “Wow—I do all of this?” Plus when things get better financially for your current organization and the economy as a whole, your updated resume will arm you for a conversation for a raise. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once you have your resume updated and samples compiled, you may feel a sense of calm knowing that if the unfortunate did happen you’ll be that much more prepared to start your job search.
When you are looking to hire a freelance Web designer, you'll want to make sure that they are able to deliver the best work possible. After all, you don't want to have someone working on your project that doesn't have the right type of experience. To avoid this issue, be sure to ask for examples of their work and check the results against your own needs.
How can you do this, specifically? First of all, be sure to communicate your vision for the Website clearly to the designer. Then, ask them for representative samples of their work. Take a good look at what they send you and see if it does indeed "fit" your vision. For example, if you state that you need a forum section, see if they send you something in this area that you can review. If you are looking for a Website with superior navigation, see what they provide as a sample.
If you don't get what you were looking for, the designer may not have the right type of experience–or just may not have been listening. Either way, it should be enough to give you pause when it comes to hiring them. Good Web designers should be able to send proper samples, and you'll want to find the one that is the right match for your company. You may also want to consider going through a talent agency such as Artisan–that way someone else takes care of the screening.
Evaluating resumes is a time consuming process rift with misunderstandings and risk. Ask any well-trained and experienced Human Resource professional and they will typically tell you that resume evaluation is akin to drafting baseball players from high school. As professional baseball executives are well aware, the process is fraught with risks regardless of how diligently young athletes are scouted and evaluated. In a way, evaluating the resume of a usability professional is similar.
The usability consultant often has a list of impressive successes noted in his/her portfolio. Yet, here is a common potential risk factor. Assume you are hiring usability specialists for a successful company selling women’s shoes. You are initially impressed with the usability engineering results of three Interface Design professionals. One has a wonderful portfolio of well-known companies, another has obvious talent, and the final one has impressive educational and early career credentials. However, none has ever employed their user Interface Design principles for a pure female-oriented clothing and accessory company. Usability experts successful in other industries may or may not be a good match for you. Here is how to reduce this inherent risk, at least, initially.
Examine the companies for whom the usability consultant has worked in the past. Are there companies similar to yours in his/her portfolio? Can you see a “snapshot” of the user Interface Design principles he/she employs? Does it appear that he/she has completed projects on time and on budget? Do the usability experts you’re considering have the educational background that should make them both knowledgeable AND adaptable to your needs?
As a freelancer, marketing yourself involves not only pursuing existing job opportunities, but also creating new ones for yourself. Especially in fields like writing and new media, a freelancer has the freedom to come up with an idea and find someone to buy it, rather than having to work exclusively on other people's ideas. You send a "query letter" or "proposal" when the work hasn't been done yet. It lays out the planned work and why it will be successful for the buyer. The format is fairly standard, but demands excellent writing to attract its audience. The first sentence stands on its own as a "hook," grabbing the buyer's attention. It should focus on the work, not the creator. So a successful query for an article on mountain climbing might begin "It's 20 below. You're 20 miles from the nearest house, and the only thing between you and a field of sharp rocks is a thin rope. Why would anyone do this?" The second paragraph expands on the hook and explains the work being contemplated. After this, expand on the market for similar work, using real data wherever available. (For instance, for the article above, the writer might quote a statistic on the increased popularity of mountain climbing or the size of the national market for climbing gear.) Finally, if you have credentials that make you ideally suited to do this piece, cite them before closing with a positive note of thanks. It's worth spending a lot of time getting query letters right, particularly that first sentence. Even if you usually write cleanly, have someone else proofread it before you send it.
Rapid-firing resumes on a national job board does not mean you’re looking for a job. Take the time to clearly read the posted job description. People in sales refer to a term called “client pain.” Vendors can fix pain. If a client has pain, they have a need and your job is to tell the client how you can solve their pain. Most well-written (even half-well-written) job descriptions tell you some type of pain the company is experiencing. Do they need a designer who can work onsite? If they state in the description that they need local design help don’t waste your cover letter talking about the awards you’ve won: tell them up front that you live in the area and you’ve recently worked on site for X, Y, Z companies. Be specific. Be to the point.
Do not be afraid to muster up the courage to look your job search in the eye and flip it on its head. According to Fortune, that’s just the direction you should be headed.
If you want attention you need to ensure that your entire presentation package reflects who you are as a designer. If the last time you interviewed it was for a $45,000 design position, you shouldn’t use the same portfolio presentation to earn a job with a $65,000 salary. Your portfolio five years ago landed you that $45K spot. Now think about what is going to land you the $65K spot.
It’s not enough to write in your resume that you are an award-winning designer—your entire submission package should clearly demonstrate that you’re an award-winning designer. It isn’t practical to break the bank and create ultra high-end, hand-made mini-portfolios for every single hiring manager in the city. Part of being a savvy designer is knowing what jobs, companies, and hiring managers are worth the effort.
Your freelance Web design portfolio isn't something you create once. It's a selling tool, and ideally you would revise it every time you seek a new job. At the very least you should revisit it frequently, culling out old work, adding your most recent projects, and showcasing new skills.
Of course, you should have a personal website for your portfolio, and apply the best design and usability knowledge you can to make it an enticing and informative experience. Rework this site anytime you have "down time," but once you get busy, set aside a day or two a couple of times a year to continue making it better. The best sales tool you have is the one that effectively shows what you can do.
Let's face it: your resume
and portfolio are the visual components of your job search; what a hiring
manager really needs to hear is your voice. Who are you? What are you up to?
What are your design philosophies? Visual matter can only translate so much. You
need some serious face time, and that means networking.
Have you heard of the
group Out of Work Chicago? This organization stated when a group
of people from a variety of industries found themselves suddenly back on the
job market. They decided to come up with a networking event that would bring
people together on a monthly basis to swap job search stories, combine
resources, and figure out next steps in their job search. This is just the sort
of kick in the pants that you need: an opportunity to meet other people who can
hold you accountable for what you’re doing with your job search, while teaching
you new tactics to help you land your next job. Plus, there are hiring managers
there ready to meet new talent on the market. Check out these posts to read
about why networking is important and how Out of Work Chicago could be a great
way to dip your toe in the networking pool.
If all of your
tried-and-tested lead-generators have dried up…It's time for an about-face.
How to Win a Free Ticket
What’s the wildest way you
landed a job interview? Share with us your craziest networking tactics,
escapades, and near-escapes. Post your experiences to our blog by Sunday,
May 3, and Artisan will treat five lucky winners to FREE admission!
Winners will be notified
on Monday May 4.
Hiring usability specialists is strongly dependent on their portfolios. But, suppose your completed project portfolio is not yet overly impressive. How can you get noticed by better or more well-known clients? Try impressing prospects with your usability engineering expertise and the process you’ve developed to create the wonderful website designs in your current portfolio.
Newer Interface Design professionals can win a good usability job if they convince the client prospect that their process includes –
- Learning about the client’s customers – current and potential – to create a user-centered design.
- Creating a website that makes it obvious what users should do to get the information they want.
- Effective and pleasing graphical design, but uncluttered and tasteful web pages.
- Usability testing procedures that reinforce the successful interface design or identify areas needing improvement.
- Obvious optimization of usability, simplicity, and consistent navigation processes.
- High level ability to meld pleasing aesthetics with information presentation and organization that is wonderfully user friendly.
Combining an effective display of your Interface Design portfolio to date with a presentation of your process and technique used to create your finished products should impress major clients even if your next Fortune 500 project will be your first.
FedEx is taking one for the team and offering up to 25 free copies of your resume on high-quality resume paper tomorrow, March 10, all day! Print or digital formats are acceptable so go to a local FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinkos) tomorrow to take advantage. Has it been awhile since you proofread your resume? Now's the time to give it a thorough read so you don't end up making a spash in your splash page. Yes we live in a digital world but you're going to need something to hand to that hiring manager, so head over to FedEx tomorrow!