Standing out in a sea of portfolios…

Designer Kesia Hemming, former werkhouse participant.

Designer Kesia Hemming, former werkhouse participant.

Kesia hemming went from attending the first werkhouse in 2017 to landing an internship at Hello Communications. 2 years on and now one of the design team at Hello, Kesia gave an enlightening presentation to the 2019 participants on her experiences post werkhouse…

With every email fired off, phone call followed up and every nail biting interview comes excitement, potential opportunities and pure fear. So what can you do to make every interaction count?

Portfolio. Tell a story.

Standing out among a sea of portfolios, buried in a busy inbox in a fast paced design studio can be pretty tricky. Especially when you’re a student asking for the ‘favour’ of money and time. A flashy portfolio is great, but really capturing peoples attention doesn’t always have to be down to perfect kerning, beautiful renders and whizzy animations (of course we love that too). 

Telling a story and crafting a purpose for your project helps set your work apart from the 100 other beer case studies in 100 other portfolios. Give your work a reason to exist. Try to tackle problems that we come across everyday - they can create insightful and exciting work that tells a human story. Each story that you choose to tell will be unique to you and how you view the world. And that speaks volumes (and at least communicates a bit more than your love of beer).

Tailor. Who are they and what do they want?

Every portfolio and email that you send should be tailored to the agency. Consider every piece that you’re putting in, is it relevant, will they be interested and how will it spark a conversation?


Be heard. The art of picking up the phone and making tea…

Not enough people pick up the phone, but having a conversation is the most human way of selling yourself. 

Standing out in a short time frame is hard. But making tea isn’t. Everyone loves a brew and it is a great time to say ‘Hi’, get behind their screen and ask them what they are up to. Plus being nice will get you brownie points! 

Ask. And ask again.

Remember you’re always learning and it’s ok to ask for help and advice… sometimes you’ll find out that others don’t know what they are doing either! We are all in it together. 

Ask people questions. Getting to know the people around you is really important, after all you might end up working with them. Having conversations can help you become more than just ‘the intern’.

Ask for opportunities. Sometimes you just have to be ballsy and ask for opportunities that aren’t landing in your lap. Ask for an extension on your internship or to be involved in a client meeting They worst that can happen is that they say no. 

Know what you want. Or at least have a think about it.

Only apply to places you are genuinely interested in working at and know what you want to get out of your internship, more than just a job. As an intern you have the opportunity to test-drive agencies, which is great. You will experience a variety of sizes, cultures and design processes, which will help you figure out what you want, as well as what you don't.


Know what you’re good at. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Play to your strengths and find opportunities to show what you're good at, because you don’t have to be good at everything, it is a team game after all.


Listen They will tell you what they want.

Clients often think they know what they want, often they don’t, but they will tell you indirectly. So keep your ears open. You will also begin to get an idea of how things work, from briefing and creative feedback to account managing and business operations.


Don’t be a dick We will find out. 

We only want to work with nice people after all, so be humble in your work and be nice. Great work and a great personality is a winning combination.


Find your voice, tell your story And start a conversation…

Entering the design world is exciting and challenging. But find your voice, tell your story and start a conversation. Because that is how we start to make changes, challenge problems and shift the status quo.

Hello Digital