Account People, Can I See Your Portfolio?

Welcome to Opinion Corner, a possibly regular feature wherein a 160over90 employee offers up his or her opinion on a subject. This week’s corner comes to us from Gainesville Group Creative Director Glen Hosking

Three Reasons Why a CV Isn’t Enough, It’s Time to Show Off Your Work

We’re staffing up 160over90’s Gainesville office. I was reading the CV of a potential account hire, but I wanted to see more. She has the right industry experience, but I was really curious to know: does she have the right work experience? Has she been part of the kind of creative we’re driven to make? “I wish she had a portfolio,” I thought.

An account person portfolio. Not such a nutty idea, right? That’s not to say there isn’t an account exec alive with an online portfolio of produced work. There may be one, or many. But I have never seen one in all my years in the business, and I still have SyQuests in my bag.

So, account people, put the CV aside and start building your book. Here are three reasons why I’m right — because I’ve been trying to convince you I’m right for decades.

It’s Your Work Too

Cranky creatives may want to crucify me for this. “An account person taking credit for my work? That’s like giving a Super Bowl ring to the team intern! He’ll never have knee problems!” Cool your jets, Mini Clow. I felt the same way you did not so very long ago. But account folks, it is your work. You should be proud of whatever role you played in bringing it to life, and you should leverage those efforts the next time you’re looking for a gig. So, be sure to clearly explain the expertise you brought to the party in the Work section of your spiffy new portfolio.

You’ll Feel Even More Connected to It

You already feel affection for the work your group produces. It’s why you share it on LinkedIn and Facebook. “Check out our latest spot! So proud of the entire team.” Now, think about how you would feel if you knew you were going to publish the best of it in your portfolio. You’ll no longer see it as just the agency’s work or the copywriter’s words. The director will edit a cut for his reel. What about yours? The art director, designer, illustrator, photographer, retoucher, make-up artist and producer will all feel fondness for the work years after it was produced because they have it saved in their portfolio. It’s an ad professional’s photo album. A collection of career highlights. Create yours and you too will feel even more connected to the finished product.

Get the Recognition You Deserve

Advertising is a creatives world. It just is. It’s understandable of course. No one wanted to have the Golden Globes interrupted by sixty seconds of a job ticket. So, the makers get all the glory. Even industry publications like Adweek and AdAge routinely celebrate the Almighty Artist. Seriously, when was the last time you read, “The Top 30 Account Supervisors Under 30”? And, what if a Big Idea was your idea? Are you going to let The Hot Creative Team take all the credit? Sharing an online portfolio of the creative thinking you worked so hard to sell, protect, produce – and maybe even gave birth to – will finally shine some of that golden spotlight your way.

So get to it. Check out the sites of your creative peers then jump on a portfolio builder like Wix, WordPress or Squarespace and have fun. One point of difference: be articulate and detailed with the strategy, metrics and other information you have permission to share in your Work section. That’s where you’ll really get to strut your stuff.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the agency. Or maybe they do? I dunno, I haven’t asked like, the whole agency. That’s a lot of work. 

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  • Tony Buford

    Agreed, Jill. Anyone looking at an account manager’s “book” who mistakes their input for the creative input of an AD or CD shouldn’t be looking a portfolios in the first place. And ALL team members should be able to show the work as something they helped to create. Certainly if a great film can list the folks driving their trucks and the ones at the craft services tables, account execs deserve a shout out as well. Including when the awards are handed out.