We get a fair few CVs and portfolios emailed in to the studio each week, particularly at this time of year: some okay, some good, and some, occasionally, brilliant. Which is what happened the other day, when Xavi Garcia sent us his screenprinted Work:Fail manifesto.
We figured it might be helpful for other students out there to use him as a good example of how to get a foot in the door, as well as being a fine way of giving Xavi a bit of free publicity.
Often the first point of contact is an email. Some tips on that would be: always find a named person to send your email to; don't CC all the agencies you're applying to; and make sure you tailor your email to each company individually rather than copying and pasting (we have a stack of emails sent through from students telling us why they'd really like a placement at NB:Studio).
Now and then someone sends something physical through - obviously that involves more time and effort on their part, so we're more likely to take a look. Of course, it still needs to be a good bit of work...
Xavi sent through his Manifesto, and it's a lovely piece - Work stands clearly in the foreground, in both the sense of 'labour' and 'function', but it's supported by failure - a willingness to give things a go, and to experiment. Which is a fine philosophy.
He attached a friendly and informative covering letter. Some tips on that: spellcheck is your friend, but don't rely on it; don't tell us why you'd benefit from working with us, but do tell us why we'd benefit from working with you; and keep it concise.
The letter included a link to Xavi's online portfolio, and since his poster had excited our interest, we took a look. The site's built with Indexhibit, which is a great way for anyone to get a clean and functional portfolio site up and running. But blogs (Typepad, Wordpress and the like) work just as well. Heck, even Flickr can do the trick.
His site has some really lovely work on it, so we invited him to drop by and show us the real stuff, which included some handmade banknotes (above), and an editioned notebook (below).
Some tips at this point are: check you're going to the right address; arrive on time; and bring physical work with you - we've already seen your stuff on a screen.
From that point on, it's down to your work...
Now, Xavi has only just finished his Foundation course at Central Saint Martins, and normally we'd say, well, go do a BA, and give us a shout after that. But his work's really great, and he's already got a Business degree under his belt, so we reckon the normal rules don't apply. We don't have room to take anyone on here at the moment, but we're going to find some way to do some work with him, and in the meantime, hopefully this post might nudge him in the right directions.
So. That's the way to do it.