Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, Associate Creative Director, Grey Worldwide, is acknowledged as a rising star in the creative fraternity. He has started writing a weekly column for BestMediaInfo.com and this is his third article. Tongue-in-cheek as always, he provides some interesting thumb rules for those aspiring for the their next creative job
November 5, 2012
Times are hard. Or at least thatâs what weâre made to believe. Increments are a laughable thing of the past, promotions are few, and jobs are scarce.
Thatâs one side of the spectrum. On the other side, patiently standing in a never-ending queue, are young creative folk looking for a break in the âcoolest profession of the worldâ â advertising.
The harsh truth is that for every 50-odd people that do apply, thereâs only one vacancy. Itâs like a bloody IIT entrance test. Thousands of disillusioned hopefuls, all trying for that one seat.
The only difference is thereâs no entrance test here. There are no marks and no sports quotas. What will set you apart from the rest is the work that youâve done. In other words, your portfolio.
Portfolios come in different shapes and sizes and colours. Some are drab and boring, and show off substandard work that the owner of the folio thinks is award winning. Some are boring but interesting in places. Some, believe it or not, are somebody elseâs portfolios!
Yes, it happens.
Iâve seen many folios in my time, and Iâm probably going to see a lot more, unless of course I get the boot from the advertising community in general. And these are my little tips on how to make a folio thatâll get raised eyebrows.
Tip 01: What are you selling?
Youâre in advertising. Or hope to be, anyway. In advertising, we sell things. Creatively. But before you do any of that, you have to sell yourself. Easy you think? Think again, young man or young lady. Look around, youâll see there are scores of people that show the same kind of work that you show. Similar lines, similar art, all-too-familiar layouts. What sets you apart? Nothing. Nada. Zilch and all that. So, your first step in making a folio is to figure out what it is that you stand for. Give yourself a brand name, a âunique selling propositionâ. There must be something that youâre good at, surely? Spend some time in identifying that, and then, ruthlessly promote yourself. Seen Go-go dancers? Google âem. Be that woman behind the window. Tempt people to come and see the full show.
Tip 02: Tell a story.
Creative Directors love being told stories to. The fact is that so bored they are of doing their regular non-interesting work, they take delight in anything that can distract them from the everyday. So be experimental, donât just show him your work. Take him on a journey instead. Let the story not be about ads, but it let it be of you. Your trials, your tribulations, your romance with the written word, your heart-warming relationship with the brush. The ads arenât your plot, theyâre just delightful, colourful characters that bring your story alive.
Tip 03: Oversell yourself.
Make extravagant promises. Pretend to be more than what you are. Be cocky. Nobody wants to try a restaurant with a board outside that says, âWeâre good, we thinkâ. It raises questions. Hell, if youâre not sure of yourself, why should we be sure of you? People love fake promises. Best Chicken In Town. Worldâs Greatest Burger. Nobody actually knows for sure, but itâs sure as hell worth trying.
Tip 04: Donât talk money.
Many will urge you to do just that. And to them, I stick my tongue out. Moneyâs important, but ending a conversation on a good note is even more important. Not appearing greedy is important as well. So, donât ask for the sky. In fact, donât ask for anything at all, till the big man in the chair asks something. And when he does ask, be realistic. Ask for what you deserve, and not a penny more. And if what you deserve happens to be a 200 per cent raise on what you earn now, so be it. If you think youâre good enough for that, you probably are. Thereâs a price you have to pay for a bottle of Glenfiddich.
Tip 05: Donât look for a job.
Contradicts pretty much everything I said till now, but thatâs me. When you walk into that room, donât look for a job. Instead, just look forward to a pleasant half an hour with some top suits in an agency. Make friends, talk about the elections, about music, about wines. Be casual, relax. Smile a lot. And if you do all of this, and if you do all that Iâve just said, you donât have to bother looking for a job â itâll find its way to you.
(Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, better known in his circles as Bodhi, works as a writer in advertising. Designations arenât important because heâs realised no matter how up, how low or high middle he is, he just keeps doing the same kind of work. Bodhi has an opinion about almost everything in life, some of which he documents in his blog www.lookslikeabodhi.com. He also has a charming daughter, and when sheâs asleep, he writes at whilemimisleeps.blogspot.com.)