SPRINGBOX / Insights

10 Portfolio Tips for Aspiring Creatives

by Springbox, March 14, 2017


Allow us to take you on a journey from aspiring creative to Chief Creative Officer. Megan Coffey started her career in advertising with a childhood ambition to make billboards. So it was only natural that once she was accepted to Texas State she set her sights on design and creative advertising. While obtaining her BFA in Communication Design, Megan completed not one, but three internships (Houston Chronicle, BBDO Houston and The Richards Group) to hone her chops before entering the workforce. Even with an award-winning Portfolio of Excellence came the harsh reality of trying to find a job in advertising. Megan went on no less than 22 interviews before landing her first job (cutting out every portfolio piece by hand and mounting it to Foam Core along the way). It took hard work and perseverance, but she beat the odds and became part of the 1% of students that actually work in advertising after graduation.

Since then, she’s climbed the ranks from junior art director to chief creative officer and hired quite a few Bobcats (Texas State alumni) along the way — shout out to Aline, Emma, Alex and Zoha. But being a Texas State alum isn’t going to help your portfolio stand out; it’s going to take some killer work, great thinking and strong conceptual executions. So, it might be a good idea to brush up on Megan’s tips if you plan on applying for a job or an internship this spring.


10 tips to rock your next (or first) interview in advertising:

  1. Don’t show up without a digital portfolio. Always have a backup plan in case your computer dies or there’s a wifi issue.
  2. Stay away from showing magazine ads or local publications in your portfolio. Let those experiences illustrate your work ethic, not your design and copy capabilities.
  3. Know the applications. Your ability to jump right in, do the work and add value will separate you from the pack.
  4. Avoid offensive brands and topics. You never know who you’ll be interviewing with, much less what their beliefs are. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the things that get passed off as “edgy” when they’re just plain offensive.
  5. Be selective. Three great ideas trump 15 bad ones.
  6. Go beyond a clever headline and static image. Leverage all the touchpoints to show how a customer/user could engage with your idea.
  7. Partner with the bestFind the most amazing art director/designer to bring your copy to life and vice versa. It will make a huge difference.
  8. Use trending technologies in unexpected ways. You grew up on technology; in some respects you are the expert. Avoid outdated platform visuals in your design.
  9. Be aware of your personal hygiene. If it’s too much work to throw on some deodorant and comb your hair for an interview, it says something. That said, don’t wear a suit, you’ll feel pretty awkward at an office like Springbox that’s full of dogs and people wearing flip-flops.
  10. Bring passion, not your ego. Personality and culture fit are being looked at as closely as your portfolio.


What it takes to be the boss (and why your portfolio has to be so impressive) 

For over 5 years Megan has led the creative team and helped craft the creative vision for Springbox. She’s proud to be a part of the growing 11% of female creative leaders who make up the industry workforce. With her leadership Springbox has expanded to offer 9 core offerings and new creative capabilities like branding, campaigns and in-house video development. Every day her leadership guides a team of digital problem solvers that include creative directors, art directors, copywriters, social strategists, community managers, photographers, videographers and a proofreader (thanks for proofing this article, Chad!). So, needless to say, she’s the type of person you’ll need to impress with your portfolio — and if you’re looking to impress, remember her 10 tips.


Think you have what it takes to impress Megan and the rest of the team at Springbox?

Check out our current job and internship openings

Topics: Design, Content, Photography, Digital Success, creative