For students and graduates
Just Like Selling Ice to the Eskimos - rehabstudio on getting your foot in the door
It’s that time of year again. The hats have been flung, the diplomas collected, and you can barely hear for the sound of several thousand creative hearts beating up a nervous cacophany… the new wave of graduates is here. Competition for work is hotter than ever, and experience is everything. But how to get your foot in the door? Tim Rodgers - founding partner of rehabstudio has some words of wisdom to set you on your way.
We are an agency of around 25 people, so the people we bring in need to be fairly awesome and have lots of super skills.
Every day we get a bunch of portfolios and CVs into the studio. Some of them for jobs we’ve listed; others looking for the chance to come and do a show and tell or asking for a work placement. The majority of these don’t get through, including many of the talented ones – so we’ve decided to give you guys some pointers on how to get noticed.
Always wear a nice shirt (AKA write a good covering note.) -
Bad moves include:
- Covering emails written in shorthand / slang speak or no speak at all (“Here’s my c.V. thx Fred”).
- Covering notes with no passion for us as a studio and emails clearly sent in bulk ‘cause they forgot to send it via BCC
- CVs full of spelling mistakes & links that don’t work
- Over-familiarity and the assumption that if you’re applying to a creative urban company politeness doesn’t apply. That being said we love personality – but just hit the right level. If it doesn’t feel right saying it to your mother then it’s probably not going to work for us.
- And the classic “Hello XXX” (where XXX is one of our competitors; or worse, an agency we don’t even rate…)
So the sloppy crew get short shrift. But we do give time to anyone who’s gone to the trouble of getting the tone right, presenting a respectable portfolio and making us feel they really want to work for us.
Only land great punches (AKA Edit your work, a lot.) -
There’s no taking away from the fact that you guys are genuinely talented. You’ve aced college and produced some great work. But many don’t seem to understand the kind of experience they need to be interesting to us.
In reality, too many portfolios rest on their laurels. And less really is more. Only the best should be included. Weak work distracts from the best and makes us think the best was a one-off or they had help with it.
ALWAYS have a bit on the side (AKA Build and create your own projects.) -
The people who really stand out are the ones with a side project, something they concepted, built and then pushed out into the world – sometimes outside their course or day-job. You have to remember that Facebook was a college project, Google Sketch Up was cooked up in a developer’s bedroom; Twitter was created in 2 weeks by a bunch of developers & the One Million Dollar Homepage kid proved the point by raising cash to pay for his studies.
Our studio is right in the middle of the digital creative space – which is a lawless place. There are no rules and everything’s constantly shifting. Add that with our evolving behavioural changes and the fragmented world of business and ANY idea can become the next big thing.
In the face of that, it’s impossible for colleges to keep pace with every new trend. But what they can equip their students with is the knowledge that they need to get out there, to bank some real-world experience from the moment they start studying, not after they’ve graduated.
Hopefully that’s helped point you in the right direction to a totally different level from the rest.
Words by Tim Rodgers