Marketing YourselfThe most challenging job for creatives? Marketing yourself.

One of our core services at SkullSparks is assisting college teams in promoting design, digital and video opportunities. In our experience, we’ve also hired full-time college athletics creative positions. We’ve learned a few things from the hiring perspective.

You may not be looking for a job (if you are, let us know). But opportunity knocks at different times. This is college athletics. As we head into prime hiring season, here are three areas to better market yourself online:

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1. TWITTER PROFILE

It may be your favorite social platform, it may not. Regardless, it’s one of the first places new talent is discovered. Use your Twitter profile to promote yourself 24/7.

★  Use your full name
★  Current title or area of expertise
★  Past experience / teams
★  Link to online portfolio / resume

Chad Morehead

If someone reads one of your tweets or looks you up on the platform, they can quickly continue to learn more about you.

It’s not necessary to be incredibly active on Twitter. It’s also not necessary to constantly plug your work. We find that creatives who share their work and explain process come across as helpful and knowledgeable rather than boastful.

At SkullSparks, we use Twitter regularly to learn more about experienced college athletics creative professionals and up-and-coming talent.

Chanelle Smith-Walker

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2. ONLINE PORTFOLIO

Hiring creative talent is not the same as hiring other Athletics Department positions. Digital, design and video are tangible. Hiring personnel can see your work, interact with it and compare it to others in the industry.

For graphic designers, a Behance portfolio tends to be standard. For video talent, Vimeo tends to be the platform of choice. A personal site with your own URL, if you’re so inclined, is also an option.

★  Create online portfolio
★  Best, most recent work first
★  Group examples into categories
★  Identify personal projects
★  Link to Twitter profile, Linkedin
★  Provide contact info

Peyton Aufill

If possible, share the thought process behind your work. Explain how you creatively solved challenges:

Vinny Nardella

The point is to show hiring personnel that you understand the big picture. In the end, the purpose of visual design is to inspire stakeholders to act (recruits to sign, fans to join, donors to support):

Thomas Northcutt

Providing context helps viewers understand the internal and external factors involved in the design process. In the real world, you rarely design exactly what you want. More often, parameters must be followed and higher-ups must be satisfied. There’s a big picture.

Providing context more clearly conveys the intent of your design work. Hiring personnel working in college athletics will understand if you were limited or steered by internal department priorities. They’ll appreciate if you were able to deliver creativity on demand.

Evan Ford

Also, be sure to clearly indicate if a work example is 100% your creation or a shared project. If it is shared, illuminate what part of the design was your contribution.

If you include personal work in your portfolio, clearly indicate it as such. This is absolutely critical for designers with freelance experience. Creativity on demand is much different than creativity when you feel like it.

For viewers, there’s no indication if a project took a month to tweak or if it was turned around in a short amount of time more similar to a college athletics department environment.

If you create a personal site, put your work front and center. That’s the primary reason people visit after all. Don’t get too caught up in sharing your life story. Your work is what they came for. Show hiring personnel how you can creatively solve challenges for their team.

Ryan Miller

Update your portfolio when appropriate. Keep your most recent projects at the top. Please remember to link to your portfolio from your Twitter profile and online resume.

Other options? Share your creative work on Instagram, especially if it helps you show how you captured images and utilized them in your designs:

Matt Lange

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3. ONLINE RESUME

Take your career and your work seriously. Professionals are on Linkedin. You’ll likely design a personal resume (and provide a PDF link) but think about this from a team’s perspective: hiring personnel must wade through stacks and screens of resumes and portfolios.

Let’s be honest, creatives at times can get a little too creative in an effort to stand out. Linkedin helps standardize the basics like current position, experience and education.

★  Create Linkedin profile
★  Keep it updated
★  Add job titles + responsibilities
★  Link to Twitter profile, portfolio
★  Provide contact info

Adding detailed responsibilities to your positions helps hiring personnel better understand your experience and skills. Current digital and design job titles can be confusing. If you’ve done it, let them know. Don’t leave them to guess.

Andrew Kulihin

Don’t forget to add contact info on Linkedin. The site makes this information easy to find. Hiring personnel will more likely keep interaction under the radar and contact you via a private email or phone number.

McLean Roberts

We mentioned previously that people move around in college athletics. It makes college athletics a very small world. Everyone it seems has worked with everyone else. Word gets around. Treat people the right way and do things the right way. Hiring personnel will certainly do their homework.

To summarize, do these three things and link them to each other. Do these well and put yourself in the best position to take the next step in your career. Who knows? It could be just around the corner.

Market Yourself

Finally, thank you to these college athletics creatives provided as examples:

Chad Morehead – Georgia
Chanelle Smith-Walker – NC State
Peyton Aufill – Oklahoma State
Vinny Nardella – Penn State
Thomas Northcutt – Rutgers
Evan Ford – Tennessee
Ryan Miller – USC
Matt Lange – Texas
Andrew Kulihin – Rutgers
McLean Roberts – NC State

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Thanks to the athletics staff working hard behind the scenes to connect fans with the teams they love.

Jason R. Matheson