Breaking In

Over 100 Advertising Insiders Reveal How to Build a Portfolio that Will Get You Hired

Interviews by William Burks Spencer

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Interview Excerpt: Astrid Boesze, Managing Partner, Europe, FBI Recruitment, Amsterdam

Interviewed at 180, Amsterdam

WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?

AB: What I look for is originality of ideas—big ideas. And then what impresses me is the personal piece. That’s a big thing we look for. Not just making spec work and what the young creatives think the recruiter or the agency wants to see, but showing a piece of themselves. So whether it’s photography, or personal projects, or things like that. That’s big for us [at 180].

WS: Are sketches enough, or do you want to see finished work?

AB: Nowadays, more finished work. Sketches are now almost old school for us. And we really look for craft as well. So, in terms of art direction, there needs to be some design influence and hands-on capability and for copywriters as well, no longer just little script ideas, they’ve got to be able to put the whole thing together.

WS: So for art directors, you want to see designed pieces?

AB: Yes.

WS: And with writers, do you want to see copy? Do you want to see long 
copy or other evidence that they can write?

AB: Yes, that’s key. Actually, come to think of it, we’re always on the lookout for copywriters. There seems to be a shortage of copywriters coming out of the schools nowadays. Everybody says they do everything. No longer is somebody just an art director or just a copywriter. They’re sort of both. Or they work together as a team and they both do both. That’s happening more and more. But, from the copywriter point of view, yes, we like to see writing samples in the book, actually. And long copy. 

WS: You mentioned personal pieces in a book. A lot of students hear that and think, “Oh, what does that mean? It could be anything…” and get stressed out. So could you just talk about what people have done or what could work for that?

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