Yesterday, we had a talk session with our guest speaker Dave Davidson, the Design Director at Infinite, on the topic of “Why You?” regarding employability.
Dave Davidson is originally from Newcastle upon Tyne and was also a student at Newcastle College. He graduated in 1996 and left for London, since it seemed like what everyone needed to do. He got there and hated it. So he came back to Newcastle and remained unemployed for 12 full months before getting a job at an agency here.
He’s worked for Dance City, the Metro, One North East, End clothing brand, Saints Hotel, and many other personal clients.
He talked us through some of his work, some good and some bad, but all had stories behind them that we could learn something from.
I found the stories very interesting. (It was very long so I’m not going to tell all of it here.)
Dave has been through a lot: bad and good experiences regarding agencies, clients, etc. but the main thing to learn from his stories and to always keep in mind is to stay tough and stay excited.
What the agencies look for is a series of attributes of a person.
It varies from person to person, from agency to agency. (Sometimes the interviewer will even have the list of attributes they are looking for and tick off one by one as they interview you.)
For Dave himself, he said, he looks for the three P’s: Personality, Portfolio, Passion.
- Relaxed: Remember you are only there talking with someone who has the same interest and passion as you do. Both of you are there to talk about the things you both like and enjoy.
- Professional: Be there on time and be prepared.
- Honest: Some try to be what they think the agencies are looking for. The agencies will see through it. Just be yourself.
- Genuine: Only show your own work, and be honest about how much you have put into each piece of work. Everyone knows someone who knows someone in this industry. There are a lot of tragic stories of those who try to claim others’ work to be theirs. They are always found out.
- Confident: Be confident about your work.
- Receptive: You have to get used to being critiqued. You are, most of the time, there to ask for their opinions anyway. Don’t defend your work. Listen to what they have to say about it.
- Brave: Sometimes you have to take risks. Show a piece of work you’re not sure of. Sometimes what you think is bad, others might find good. They might be able to see the potential in it.
- Committed: If you really believe in your idea, stand by it. Explain why you think it could work. But do it comfortably. Don’t say “No, you’re wrong and I am right.” Take what they have to say on board, while explaining what you think.
- Positive: With all the above in mind, you will come off as a positive person. After all, if they hire you they are probably going to spend more time with you more than their own spouse. They have to make sure that they will like you.
Personality is important. If your portfolio is great, but you have a bad attitude, they probably wouldn’t want you around in their agency. But if your portfolio is alright, but you are a great, positive, fun person, they will find the potential in you and help you grow.
You don’t have to start off being the best in the industry. As long as they see your potential, you’ll be fine.
At the end of the day, what they probably care most about is whether you can help them make money.