While working on our deep-dive into creative networks, we spoke to several platforms, clients, designers and HR professionals. We’ve distilled down those hours of conversations into three key takeaways for you.

1. Make yourself more discoverable on the platforms of your choice

Setting up a profile (and keeping it up-to-date) is just the beginning. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client or hiring manager and view it through their lens. The exact technique depends on the platform you have chosen, and while there’s no silver bullet, here are some pointers from the experts.

a. Master the hashtag game

Don’t cram in everything you can think of. About 10 hashtags is optimal. Hardik Gandhi, a freelance designer who gets 80% of his work through Instagram enquiries, recommends always including nature of work (#illustration #digitalpainting #typography), subject matter (#branddesign, #webdesign), any ongoing e-event (#inktober #36daysoftype), and your location (#indianillustrator, #mumbaidesigner).

b. Research keywords and tags

The curation team from 99designs says that potential clients tend to use certain keywords and tags while searching. The more specific you can be, the better. Look through the top profiles and see what they’re doing right.

c. Use a good profile picture

All clients uniformly said they look at this. Maybe other professions can be forgiven shabby profile pictures, but designers can’t. Check how you look across all platforms.

d. Embrace LinkedIn if you want a full time job

This is the first place that enterprise HR teams look at, so take the time and effort to put up a profile. Aastha Choudhary, senior designer, Times Group, for instance got her job through LinkedIn, because that’s where the group’s HR teams are most comfortable.

2. Go deep, rather than broad

With limited real estate, it’s always a dilemma whether to show breadth or depth. In all our conversations with clients and platforms, the latter was highly recommended. Your chances of being discovered are much higher if you showcase experience in niches, practices or industries. Think of the story your profile tells. What are your key strengths? (and the answer cannot be ‘everything’)

3. Be more than a bunch of JPEGs

One common lament from clients and recruiters was that designers uploaded only the finished product on their portfolios, while in reality, a job mandates a lot more, especially for senior roles.

“The deeper you go in your craft, the less a visual showcase matters. You need to present yourself more professionally, make sure you are writing more in your portfolio.

“I would like to see designers add things like how they came up with the idea and how they sold it.”, says Ashish Solanki, Founder & Principal Designer, Netbrahma

We will keep bringing you advice as we have more conversations. Meanwhile, if you have anything specific that you would like some advice on, send us an email here

Make that profile shine! Good luck.

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