How best to market myself online?
March 7, 2015 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm creating an online portfolio/website and looking for strategies of how to describe my career goals. Basically I'm wondering whether I should emphasize professional, or creative goals, or whether it's okay to have both.

A part of why I am somewhat confused is that I am in a post grad program in Communications which I thought was going to be job-market oriented but is actually more geared towards making students into media artists/ filmmakers.

Over the course of the year I have developed an ambition to work in documentary film and am currently doing an internship at a production company. But this is not really a full time paid occupation. I have a lot of personal goals that do not fit into paid positions but which I still intend to pursue.

I obviously need to find a paid position soon after graduating - I'm looking for something in communications in the non-profit sector. So the way I see it, once I graduate in June I'll be looking for both paid work, and opportunities to get involved in creative projects {let's leave aside for now the fact that it may be hard to do both at once}

Since I only have one website, I have to fit all of these things into one (the website is a class assignment, and I already have to pay for the domain name).
So far, I've got my CV, a section on my music projects, a section on media projects I've done over the course of the year, and a "documentary blog" section where I'm going to write about all the documentary films I see.

My question:

Would having a portfolio of creative projects on my website discourage employers from hiring me because I would look like a dilettante? Do I need to define myself as a) artist or b) prospective employee and not as both? (Obviously it would be ideal to have separate websites, but for the moment I'm sticking with one). Basically, for the class assignment I'm putting all my creative projects up there in addition to my CV and examples of professional work I've done. Just looking for feedback on whether going forward (I'm keeping the website once the class is done) I need to choose between creative / professional or whether it's okay to have both in one site
posted by winterportage to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think in order to answer the question "creative or professional?" for the website, you need to answer that question for yourself, first. If I understand correctly, you want this website to represent you as you look for jobs. To do this (well) requires mapping your goals, skills, etc.

In terms of marketing yourself online and in the real world, you want to establish a personal brand. Your brand should be an image, in broad strokes, of who you are and what you're into. It should have goals (where do you want to go and what do you want to do? now? five years?), skills (I can do X, Y, Z), and background/interesting human story (Are you fun? Analytical? Like to go rock climbing?).

Start by thinking of three attributes you'd use to describe yourself. Ask a friend to tell you what words first come to their mind. Mine are "clean", "organized" and "hard working."

For example, if it were all written down, my personal brand would read read: lalunamel is "a software developer and graphic designer currently pursuing a bachelors in computer science. He's always interested in making computer things look better and you can see this by looking at anything on his website."

Personal brands should be consistent and clear, as in, everything you show should support your three attributes. If you're a designer, everything should be nicely laid out and designed. If you're a documentary filmmaker, all your content should showcase your knowledge of film and thirst for knowledge.

In order to create a successful brand, understand that there is a disconnect between you, the snowflake human, and you, the job candidate. While you may be a super neat and interesting person who has the skills (to pay the bills), the only way employers will know this is if you tell them. Using your brand.

In regards to creative v. professonal, I'd display both. If you're going for a position in Yak Shaving but you have experience in documentary film making, why not create a brand that expresses your talents as a filmmaker and Yak Shaver? Just decide which is more important to you and your career and emphasize that.

If you'd like to take a look at how I manage my online brand, MeMail me and I'll send you a link.
Best of luck in your search!
posted by lalunamel at 3:50 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I work in documentary. If you want to have a career in documentary film, you need to decide which area--producing, writing, post-production/editing, and then develop those skills. It's fine to want to do it all, but if you don't know how a camera works or how to use Avid, you'll have to learn.
Most production companies don't care greatly about your creative goals, but do care about your ability to prioritize tasks, get stuff done on time, etc.. A personal website showing your reel, samples of your work, and so on is very nice to have. Your reviews of documentaries wouldn't sway me one way or another to hire you.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:45 PM on March 7, 2015

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