When you’re first starting out, landing a job in a creative field is no small feat. It’s a challenge expressing yourself as a creative professional, especially without a portfolio of work you’ve done for recognizable clients… well, at least not yet. So how do you show your potential employers or clients who you are? How do you tell your story?
Storytelling is powerful. As you begin your professional career, telling your story is about defining and sharing your artistic point of view. It’s about showing your aesthetic sensibility, design philosophy and influences, and even your sense of humor. And when it comes to job searching, how well you tell your story can be the element that sets you apart from other creatives applying for the same jobs.
It’s true that employers are looking for more information to determine if an applicant will be a good fit. As a matter of fact, 53% of employers report that the resume alone did not provide enough information to make an informed hiring decision. Your story fills in that missing information, so it’s important to communicate and showcase it in the most effective and impactful ways.
In this post, we’ll cover four awesome ways to tell your story beyond your resume— including demos, personal websites, portfolio sites, and blogs. We’ll provide examples of each for inspiration, some best practices to keep in mind, and resources to get you started.
But first, make sure your bases are covered so that when hiring managers and recruiters find you, whether on social media or in person, you present your story consistently.
Covering Your Bases1) Have a standout marketing resume
You know what resumes are all about but in the context of your story, think of your resume as the teaser or the preview. Your resume prefaces the value of your story as one worth hearing.
Not hearing back on your resume? Read: 3 Top Reasons You’re Not Hearing Back on Your Resume2) Establish your personal brand
Your personal brand improves your reputation among recruiters and hiring managers, leaving a more lasting impression. So as you boost your reputation, your story gains influence and credibility, which makes you more dynamic in the creative market.
Still solidifying your personal brand? Read: Capture Your Personal Brand in One Sentence
3) You had me at bio
Wherever your professional bio appears is an opportunity to present yourself to your intended audience and get them to remember or care about you. Achieving that depends on how well you present yourself in your bio. Bios get a lot of exposure so it’s critical that you connect the dots of your bio and your personal story.
Your bio can live on your LinkedIn profile, your company's website, your guest blog posts, your speaker profiles, your Twitter, and will often show up at the top of search results. And most importantly, it's the tool you leverage most when networking.
We like this list from HubSpot: 6 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We’ve Ever Seen
Okay, now that you’ve got all your bases covered, let’s get to the good stuff…
4 Ways to Tell Your Story
Demos offer a technical and artistic demonstration of your coding, design, illustration and developer skills. The demo format is interactive and animated in a way that provides information about your skill level, aesthetic variety, and quality of execution.
If you’re a UX designer, website content manager, illustrator, or any other role that heavily involves visual content, demos are a smart option.
Some inspiring examples: 20 Examples of SVG That will Make Your Jaw Drop
Best Practices for Demos
Give it a go: CozmosLabs
2) Personal Website
Whether you create a single-page or larger portfolio, a website offers a more personalized option for demonstrating your creativity and sharing information. Even if you have very little work experience, you can leverage a website to tell a story about yourself as a creative professional and showcase some of your technical abilities.
Websites are great if you want to tell your story in a more authentic and memorable way.
Some inspiring examples: 20 Best and Creative Personal Websites Examples
Best Practices for Personal Websites
Give it a go: Wix
3) Online Portfolio
Building an online portfolio is a valuable personal branding and marketing tool if your work experience and skill set call for content creation. An online portfolio offers a public platform to showcase your best work. If you’re a photographer, graphic designer, illustrator, writer, or content marketer you can use a web portfolio to ‘show ‘em what ya got’ in a cool and simple way.
Some inspiring examples: Best New Portfolio Sites, January 2016
Best Practices for Portfolios
Give it a go: The Top 5 Online Portfolio Sites
Blogging is a great way to tell your story, express your point of view, and give your work personality. As a creative professional, it’s a smart way to attract attention on social media, search engines, and drive traffic to your site – including employers and recruiters.
Of course, blogging is a strong option if you’re a writer by trade, but really anyone can benefit from creating a blog.
Some inspiring examples: The 35 Best Personal Websites We've Ever Seen
Best Practices for Blogging
Give it a go: ColorLib
When you’re just starting out, it may be difficult to express your creative perspective without volumes of work from professional clients. And that's okay -- we all have to start somewhere.
These tools not only help you present yourself and your work professionally but they'll make you think about the key points of your story, which will also help you during your interviews. What do you want people to know about you? What story do you have to tell? Whatever it is, let it radiate your greatness!
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