Previously posted at LinkedIn
One of the most valuable tools I’ve ever used as a creative is Dropbox. I never need to worry about misplacing a jump drive, having files inaccessible because my Mac is at home while at the grocery store with just my phone, or that spontaneous ask for my resume or portfolio. Dropbox is the best. Let me share a few tips on how I’ve learned to use it in new ways during this current season of unemployment.
First, the portfolio…
Never get caught with your pants down. Or without your book. It’s pretty much the same thing in this industry. But thanks to Dropbox, not only can I easily have the most current version of my files on any computer, I can quickly attach them during an online application or to an email.
Contrary to popular belief, an online portfolio is STILL not good enough.
Contrary to popular belief, an online portfolio is STILL not good enough. Many talent management systems still require attachments of files. It’s also still a great practice to constantly adapt your portfolio for particular jobs you go in for – something not so easily done with one standard portfolio website. My advice, build a presentation. Several presentations. After all, you’re selling yourself here. And Dropbox provides a great way to catalog and share those decks with the right hiring managers.
The same goes for cover letters, believe it or not. And yes, those are still a thing.
This initial elevator pitch in writing can be your make or break moment – so give it some personality.
You may not need to remember how to compose a business letter from the days of typewriters and Word Perfect, but this initial elevator pitch in writing can be your make or break moment – so give it some personality. Some job applications are as informal as an open email with a resume attached, while others are more structured and either require a text field entry of a cover letter or the attaching of a PDF or Word DOC. It’s best to cover your bases and have a personal brand-oriented cover letter stored in Dropbox for quick access.
BONUS TIP #1: If you need to make changes on the fly, Google Docs and the mobile version of Word provide easy app-cess! See what I did there?
That said, nobody wants to read boilerplate – a hiring manager wants to HEAR your personality and what you bring to their table as well as that you’ve DONE YOUR HOMEWORK about their company. So do what I do – save custom versions of your Cover Letter, tailored to each company and role you apply for. That personal touch really can make a big difference.
BONUS TIP #2: Adding the Cover Letter as “Page 1” of your resume for a PDF attachment is a great way to include both files when only one is asked for!
With all these files I’m advising you create, your Dropbox folder could get to be a real mess real quick – and we all know how creative types can be, myself being Patient Zero! This is where Dropbox on my Mac and Dropbox on my phone have been a lifesaver. Take a look at what I’ve done here:
I have all my key job-hunting folders at the top of my directory (starting my filenames with an underscore) for quick access. I can easily share any document from here, either on the phone while on the road, or from my laptop in a coffeeshop.
I’ve built separate folders for cover letters, portfolios, my resume (also a living document – keep it handy in PDF and DOC formats just in case!), as well as other files that help. “Personal Branding” includes several design templates and mastheads for various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Coroflot, my website, etc that all follow one consistent visual style.
BONUS TIP #3: Canva is also great online design solution if you don’t always have access to Photoshop or other tools – see it at Canva.com
REMEMBER, as fluid as you can make the process, you can keep on moving. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll land a job right away – after all, I’m four months into this hunt, but I know what I want and I’m focused. When you get a rejection, just shake it off and hit that next apply button. Your tools are in place, and that is a HUGE confidence booster.
I’d love to hear any tips you have for staying organized during a job search, your thoughts about my tricks, and obviously, any leads you may have on rockstar creative positions in my area! Please share your thoughts below!