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Career advice from AKQA

2 min, 38 sec read
12:15 PM | 21 October 2015
by Adam Oldfield
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We’ve got a plethora of great advice from members of AKQA, an ideas and innovation company. They cover topics from portfolios through to the application process.

1. Portfolio advice – dos and don’ts

Jon Reiling, Group Creative Director, AKQA

Keep your online portfolio concise. Not only will the busy people reviewing your work thank you, but you’ll have a few unseen pieces to share when you meet for the in-person. Remember: you’re just trying to get in the door. 4-6 well executed pieces are all you need to pique someone’s attention.

Plus, saving some work for the interview helps to give the meeting purpose and keeps it interesting for everyone involved. Nothing drains an interview of energy like rehashing a portfolio site.

2. Top career tip

Georgina Forster, Director of Client Services, AKQA

There are very few wrong decisions in the opportunities you choose to explore in the early part of your career.  The important thing is to jump in, give it your all, and have fun. Never be afraid to ask questions - you’ll know you’re in the right place if people are keen to answer and help you, never view it as a sign of weakness, they should make you better and smarter at your role.

3. Starting out in the creative industry

Michelle Lassman, Group Creative Director, AKQA

  • Set your north star – seek the opportunities that will get you there.
  • Approach everything as an opportunity – even the smallest task can teach you something important.
  • Learn how to receive feedback – those giving it have insights that will make your work better.
  • Find inspiration from unlikely sources – stay informed to broaden your perspective.
  • Create something every day – exercise the passion that inspires you.
  • Be positive – surround yourself with energetic, optimistic people.

4. Resume don’ts

Cinnamon Melchor, Director of User Experience, AKQA

  • I’m looking at your resume for your attention to detail, and I see these three issues all the time.
  • Don’t change fonts, alignment, and point size randomly within your resume or portfolio. Show me a thought-out and designed hierarchy of information, and spell check it.
  • Don’t leave out detail. If you tested hand drawn prototypes with five people you met on the street, tell me that rather than just putting in a bullet point for “user testing.”
  • Don’t assume you will be able to tell me your story in person. If I can’t glean enough of your thought process from your resume and portfolio, you won’t make it as far as an interview.

5. Application process do’s and don’ts from a recruiter

Ara Vallaster, Senior Recruiter, AKQA

  • Do connect with every one you know when looking for a job – referrals go far.
  • Do keep your resume/portfolio clean, simple and easy to access (1 page, hyperlinks, etc.)
  • Do your research on the agency/company – understand the business.
  • Do articulate why you want this job and how you will make a difference.
  • Don’t apply to every open role listed.
  • Don’t forget a thank you note/email.


If this has been helpful and you want even more tips, have a read of our advertising careers guide.


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