Select Page


Why big idea portfolios and internships are important

Recently we caught up with Alexis Gianoulis, Global Creative Talent Coordinator for Y&R in New York. She visited Miami Ad School South Beach to review portfolios and help students who are getting ready to graduate with interview skills and tips for their books. We spoke to her to get some insight into what she looks for when hiring and how students should prepare as they get ready to interview and look for a job. In today’s post, she talks about the importance of a portfolio and the educational background and experience of an applicant.

What do you look for in a portfolio and why is building one so important?

I look for big ideas! As a recruiter it’s impossible to consider a candidate without a portfolio to show his or her work. Junior level positions and even internships are very competitive so it’s a requirement for all aspiring copywriters and art directors. Today it’s equally as important to have a portfolio available online.

Do you take into consideration the educational background and experience of a potential hire or is it more about the portfolio?

An awesome portfolio will always trump educational background and past experience; however, it’s something to take into consideration. It also depends on what type of job I have available. Sometimes the role dictates that the candidate has a specific skill set or prior experience. For example, I often get requests for art directors with a background in graphic design. As a global recruiter, sometimes I also get requests for candidates that can speak certain languages so that’s another example.

Are internships important?

Yes, I think internships are extremely important for both the candidate and the employer. As a student it’s difficult to know what type of environment you want to work in once you graduate (large agency vs. small agency, having mentorship vs. autonomy, working across accounts vs. being siloed, working in a major market vs. a smaller one, etc.). If you don’t do an internship in a real-world setting, it’ll make your job search that much harder. For the employer, it’s a bonus to meet a junior candidate that’s decisive in their goals. Also, doing an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door with an agency. Typically, we look to our past interns as potential hires when we have job openings.

Tomorrow, we’ll touch on the process of interviewing and getting hired, the biggest mistakes juniors make when trying to get their first job and tips on how to avoid them!Alexis Gianoulis, Global Creative Talent Coordinator for Y&R, meets with student Carina Lucero Solla to review her portfolio.