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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Graduating from school without any portfolio-worthy work — HELP!

Graduating from school without any portfolio-worthy work — HELP!

Dear Jancy: I’m a senior at Northern Arizona University, and I’m majoring in advertising. I’m only 3 classes away from getting my bachelor’s degree now, and I have only just started producing work for my book. I have a couple of questions if you have time to answer them.
1) I just finished up a 5 month internship at a small ad agency in Arizona. After 5 months, I have no work that I consider portfolio worthy. I now have the opportunity to do another internship at another slightly bigger agency while I finish up my last 3 classes. Should I take this opportunity even though I most likely won’t use any of the work in my book? Or would my time be better spent working on my own and turning down this internship?
2) Since I just started working on my book, I highly doubt it’ll be ready to send out when I graduate in May. If this is the case I planned on taking a job at a medium sized agency for a year while I worked on my book a bit more. Is this a good plan?
3) My school wouldn’t be considered a good ad school at all, but since I’m only 3 classes shy of graduating, it’s a little too late to go somewhere else. I looked into the possibility of going to an ad school for my masters. Most of my advertising education has come from books such as “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” and “Pick Me.” I don’t know that I can afford to go to ad school though, so should I just keep working on my book and hope I can land an interview once I believe it’s good enough?
Thank you in advance for your help.

intro Graduating from school without any portfolio worthy work — HELP!We get very frustrated hearing about schools like yours that give you a degree that’s essentially useless without a strong portfolio—that’s what gets you the job. You’ll likely have a hard time executing your second option—getting a job at an agency to improve your work—as a good shop isn’t going to hire anyone with a book that isn’t strong. We do suggest you investigate portfolio schools, like VCU Brandcenter, Creative Circus, Miami Ad School, first to see the quality of the work (compare to where you are now for an idea of what you’re up against as you compete for a job). These schools are not inexpensive, but the right place really increases your chances of being employable at decent places. The window has passed for us to answer the internship question, general advice there is if you have the opportunity to get experience at an agency as a learning experience it’s always valuable. It may be a time management dilemma—to complete your courses and do the internship concurrently. Ultimately it sounds like you’ll need more help to create a book that will get you a good job, regardless. Hopefully you can join the large group of people in your shoes and get the advanced degree that will be worth it in the end.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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