I often get emails from photography students or graduates seeking work experience with my studio, paid or otherwise. Rarely, if ever are these approaches accompanied by a link to a blog or website showcasing their work. I find this extraordinary, in fact I find it rather annoying. 'You're telling me you are a visual communicator - then communicate visually for goodness sake!' I'm not sure who is at fault here, do they inherently lack imagination - or are they failed by their visual eduction? Do these courses not strive to bridge the gap between education and the professional arena?
Blogs & Portfolios
I created my first professional website in 2007. It was commissioned through a web design agency and cost close to £2000. I was frustrated by the lack of content management and creative control however and through casual networking (a local coffee meet-up) I discovered Squarespace. Blogger and Wordpress were also around and starting to seriously enter the website game. Suddenly I realised I could take full control and create my own online presence. I could link my URL to pretty much whatever content I wished. I could take the reins and be agile and responsive; new businesses always evolve organically in the first few years. As they continue to grow, their brand identity and online presence needs to grow with them. My website has been through a dozen iterations in the last eight years.
There are any number of free blogging platforms and hosted, templated web packages around these days. Squarespace starts at $8 USD a month and the templates are contemporary, intuitive and offer a wealth of back-end resources right out of the box. Certainly, they require a bit of investment - in terms of time. But once you have taught yourself the simple drag and drop mechanisms, and you have some strong content critically, it is very easy to pull together a sharp and professional online presence. It's not for everyone of course, and that's where people like me step in and offer simple web solutions and take away the hassle. However I would expect it to be within the skill-base of a creative industries graduate to master. Big creative agencies, be it design, photography or moving image, are looking for creative people who stand out. An email approach should have an eye-catching portfolio offering one click away.
Occasionally a job requires that I use an assistant - sometimes grunt-work, sometimes a bit more creative. When approached I would keep a contact on file if I thought we could work together. I always reply politely to the email hopefuls looking to pick up a bit of work and experience, however I always have cause to observe that a link to a website, blog or portfolio would tell me more about them, what they are interested in and what they can offer than pages of CV. And please (I speak from experience) no typos, text-speak, LOLs, emoticons or as recently received, an x in the sign off!