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JonJone's Info Dump on Portfolios & Resumes!

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Lee3dee polycounter lvl 18
Jon Jones
Hi all! I've been going through 30+ resumes and portfolios and making notes, so I just did a HUGE info-dump on Twitter giving artists advice on resumes and portfolios:

ARTISTS!
Resume tip #1: Including your location is a must. Home address isn't necessary.
Resume tip #2: When applying, specify the job title you're applying for. Make sure it's industry-standard, not something weird or made-up.
Resume tip #3: If your resume is light on experience, I personally like seeing skills up front..
Resume tip #4: It's "3D Studio MAX," not "3D MAX!" Even pros get this wrong, and most don't care, but this drives me up the wall!
Resume tip #5: Only one typeface, and keep consistent font sizes. One resume I saw got smaller and smaller text 'til the end!
Resume tip #6: Since spellcheck won't check most software names, make sure you proofread them carefully.
Resume tip #7: Clickable email and portfolio links in your PDF resume is a great thing to do!


Portfolio tip #1: If all you have is in your folio is classwork, and you graduated 1+ year ago, it looks like you stopped trying.
Portfolio tip #2: I like embedded demo reels, just make sure they're big enough to see! i.e. not 320x240.
Portfolio tip #3: Having an "About" page on CGSociety with your full name and whatever nickname you use makes finding you even easier.
Portfolio tip #4: If you create a character of a different race than yours, ask honest friends if it's unintentionally, hilariously racist.
Portfolio tip #5: Test your portfolio in all browsers and resolutions, especially if you're embedding video.
Portfolio tip #6: I prefer seeing reels on Vimeo instead of Youtube. I just saw a full length softcore Indian porn movie as a Recommended Video.
Portfolio tip #7: A Blogspot page is not a portfolio.
Portfolio tip #8: A Wix page is not a portfolio. Wix is the Photoshop lens flare of portfolio hosts.
Portfolio tip #9: ENVIRONMENT ARTISTS! Dude, EVERYBODY MODELS ANGKOR WAT! Do the temples in Bhutan or something off the wall instead. Be creative!
Portfolio tip #10: Full Sail and Animation Mentor grads -- when you graduate, use a new character model! It's great to learn on, but I see it *everywhere.*
Portfolio tip #11: It's not strictly necessary, but it's always nice to get a Not Safe For Work warning before poppin' out some boobs.
Portfolio tip #12: If you EVER autoplay music, I will find out where you live, burn your house down, and salt the earth.
Portfolio tip #13: You need a website in addition to just a reel, because it's easier to update with new content.
Portfolio tip #14: When crediting people for assets used in your folio or reel, make sure you spell their names correctly.


will keep updating. Very good info!

Replies

  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    Lee3dee wrote: »
    One resume I saw got smaller and smaller text 'til the end!

    This made me laugh so hard.

    Awesome tips - thanks for gathering them together in one spot!
  • Meteora
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    Meteora polycounter lvl 8
    Hm. Well, that throws a wrench into the plans. I use a Wix site because I can't be bothered to learn HTML when I could spend better time on making actual stuff. I may have also gone "overboard" by focusing more on design than your standard Microsoft Word resumes.

    Derp.
  • Jon Jones
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    Jon Jones polycounter lvl 18
    Thanks guys!

    For portfolio sites, I think Carbonmade is awesome.
  • mazz423
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    mazz423 polycounter lvl 9
    Portfolio tip #4: If you create a character of a different race than yours, ask honest friends if it's unintentionally, hilariously racist.

    Saw this earlier, this one made me laugh.
    I have sadly seen a few unintentionally, hilariously racist characters myself.
  • Oniram
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    Oniram polycounter lvl 17
    Awesome tips jon. thanks for sharing.
  • skylebones
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    skylebones polycounter lvl 10
    Those really are great tips!
  • RogelioD
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    RogelioD polycounter lvl 12
    Thanks for the tips! Definitely will note!
  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    On Portfolio tip #9: I never knew the name of Angkor Wat, I just figured people did it because UDK did it. Which is stupid because why would you want to make something similar to a example udk level, but worse.
  • A-Train
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    A-Train polycounter lvl 15
    Jon Jones you're hilarious!! "If you EVER autoplay music, I will find out where you live, burn your house down, and salt the earth." hahaha

    I'm happy I don't have any of the problems with my CV/Portfolio site on your list so far...at least I think haha :)

    Thanks for sharing this awesome list!
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    But . . . I made my blogspot super not annoying to use . . . /cry
  • Kaine123
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    Kaine123 polycounter lvl 10
    I don't know if this is the best place to ask, but could someone recommend some good portfolio websites?
  • imbueFX
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    imbueFX polycounter lvl 5
    I use a Wix site because I can't be bothered to learn HTML when I could spend better time on making actual stuff.

    Check out some of the wordpress themes on http://themeforest.net/, you can usually find some really good ones for under $20. They are easy to use and require almost no HTML knowledge. Great way to get a nicely laid out portfolio and fast.
  • SolarWolf
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    Kaine123 wrote: »
    I don't know if this is the best place to ask, but could someone recommend some good portfolio websites?


    Yeah I think it could be a good idea to show some great and bad portfolios to see the how-to and how-not-to.

    I once had a collection of hilarious websites to watch on rainy days.
  • Polygoblin
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    Polygoblin polycounter
    You can create a very functional folio website in Photoshop using the web photo gallery option. You can edit all the html outside there, and improve as you go.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4ua8N0QY-8"]photoshop cs6 - Exporting web photo galleries 135 - YouTube[/ame]
  • Heather.Hughes
    Strange, I was always told to avoid putting my location on my resume.

    I like the rest of these. Unfortunately, I'm using Weebly for my website (similar to Wix) due to cost and ease of use right now. Stupid college loans eating all my money. >_<
  • Eric Chadwick
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    Jon you fucking rock.
  • Spug
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    Spug polycounter lvl 12
  • danshewan
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    danshewan polycounter lvl 8
    imbueFX wrote: »
    Check out some of the wordpress themes on http://themeforest.net/, you can usually find some really good ones for under $20. They are easy to use and require almost no HTML knowledge. Great way to get a nicely laid out portfolio and fast.

    That's true, but there's a lot of crap on Themeforest, too. If you're unlucky, and pick the "wrong" theme, you can end up with ads that are impossible to get rid of, virtually no customer support if you want to make changes (if you don't know CSS, for example), and other issues. I've had some terrible experiences with themes that looked awesome at first glance, so be careful and do your research before you buy anything.
  • A-Train
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    A-Train polycounter lvl 15
    @Heather.Hughes, well Jon mentioned Carbonmade. It's pretty simple to setup, and it's free (there is a pro version that allows larger images). While you're in school you could use the free version though.
  • maximumsproductions
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    maximumsproductions polycounter lvl 8
    I love you and how brutally honest you can be anywhere in any topic it seems.
  • serriffe
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    serriffe polycounter lvl 9
    Portfolio Tip #9 huh... dearly noted. >__<
  • stubs3d
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    stubs3d polycounter lvl 10
    So, what would you recommend as a good alternative for portfolios? For people that don't have their own sites?
  • BeefWatson
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    Good tips but I think blogspot and wix are fine, just keep it clean and to the point.

    I, as well as many other people I know, use blogs for their portfolios. I'm an environment artist not a web designer, I just want to make it easy for potential employers to see my art.
  • liamdes
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    liamdes polycounter lvl 5
    I don't really see the problem with Wix in comparison to carbonmade, though I don't use it. I personally use weebly for my page design/hosting, but have it on my own domain.
  • slipsius
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    slipsius mod
    THANK YOU for saying that about WIX. I can't stand Wix. I cringe any time I see someone use that for their folio
  • Sean VanGorder
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    If you're looking for a portfolio creation website, I highly recommend checking out http://dunked.com/
  • Seaseme
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    Seaseme polycounter lvl 8
    If you're looking for a portfolio creation website, I highly recommend checking out http://dunked.com/

    Seconded. Was just going to post this when good ole SVG beat me to it!
  • redhonour
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    redhonour polycounter lvl 8
    I struggled to create my own website from scratch.

    In the end, I used a template I found here on Polycount to get started. I was pleasantly surprised when my graphic designer friend didn't laugh at the latest iteration.
  • m4dcow
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    m4dcow interpolator
    Sites like blogspot aren't setup properly for game art portfolios, they are primarily blogs. Someone that is hiring just wants to see your work efficiently and quickly. While there are some themes that make it better I have seen very few that don't have you digging through a bunch of older posts to see work.

    Wix actually isn't so bad once you choose the right style, however it has gotten a bad rap for the slow to load flash templates (an even some non flash ones) that many choose to use which are more about how the content is presented rather than the content itself.

    Carbonmade is cool and simple, but some people complain that there is little customization and stuff, but I think it does a good job for game art portfolios.

    I just rolled my own wordpress theme, but many don't have the skills or the time to bother with this, in retrospect my time could have been spent actually doing art.
  • Wrath
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    Wrath polycounter lvl 18
    Lee3dee wrote: »
    Jon Jones

    Portfolio tip #10: Full Sail and Animation Mentor grads -- when you graduate, use a new character model! It's great to learn on, but I see it *everywhere.*


    Wanted to add a secondary note here about this one in particular. When I see a reel with one of the AM rigs, I'm immediately suspicious about the quality of work the animator can do without oversight and feedback from a mentor. I've seen a number of AM graduats who had great animations in their reel, but completely fell apart when they were asked to do a simple animation test on their own.

    So if you can show work from an actual game, or work from a source that's obviously done outside of the AM program, that's extra great!

    And believe it or not simple walk cycles, idle animations, runs, jumps, the type of animations you'd see in a game are things we actually want to see. They're not "boring", they're the bread and butter of what we do animation-wise in games. You've got to demonstrate that you've got the skills to pay the bills.

    Really don't need to see 'Norman' try to open a door in an amusing way...
  • Preston
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    Preston polycounter lvl 6
    AHAHAHA. This is so great! Brass tax!
  • Meteora
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    Meteora polycounter lvl 8
    slipsius wrote: »
    THANK YOU for saying that about WIX. I can't stand Wix. I cringe any time I see someone use that for their folio

    What's bad with Wix?
    Wrath wrote: »
    Wanted to add a secondary note here about this one in particular. When I see a reel with one of the AM rigs, I'm immediately suspicious about the quality of work the animator can do without oversight and feedback from a mentor. I've seen a number of AM graduats who had great animations in their reel, but completely fell apart when they were asked to do a simple animation test on their own.

    So if you can show work from an actual game, or work from a source that's obviously done outside of the AM program, that's extra great!

    And believe it or not simple walk cycles, idle animations, runs, jumps, the type of animations you'd see in a game are things we actually want to see. They're not "boring", they're the bread and butter of what we do animation-wise in games. You've got to demonstrate that you've got the skills to pay the bills.

    Really don't need to see 'Norman' try to open a door in an amusing way...

    Funny, I often hear people don't like seeing that, simply because you see it all the time and its boring. Though maybe it was specifically directed at film. In video games it makes sense.
  • Intervain
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    Intervain polycounter lvl 13
    Lee3dee wrote: »
    Jon Jones



    Portfolio tip #7: A Blogspot page is not a portfolio.
    Portfolio tip #8: A Wix page is not a portfolio. Wix is the Photoshop lens flare of portfolio hosts.

    All in all a lot of good tips but this is bull, I'm sorry. I don't give a rat's what the page is called as long as there's clear images and no flash or irritating music, which both of those offer. I've come across many good and clear blogspot portfolios all in one post. [ I assume from your home page wordpress is fine...Why is that then?]

    On a different note we completely see eye to eye on the music issue. I could kill anybody whose website plays any bloody thing, no matter if I like it or not.
  • Bax2themax
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    My favorite portfolio sites:

    4ormat.com (great big image hosting, easy to modify, focuses on work)

    sketchfab.com (full 3d previews of your models. its amazing)
  • Kbrom12
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    Kbrom12 polycounter lvl 14
    Kaine123 wrote: »
    I don't know if this is the best place to ask, but could someone recommend some good portfolio websites?

    I made mine with Adobe Muse, best dam choice I ever made...made my life easy so I'd definitely recommend it.
  • Snader
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    Snader polycounter lvl 15
    Gotta say, I quite disagree with Resum
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz polycount lvl 666
    Afaik Blogspot users can just have one post that gets updated with new work instead of creating more posts, so all the work can be seen on one page. Wouldn't that setup be fine for a portfolio?
  • Mathew O
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    Mathew O polycounter
    My folio is on blogspot :( Do you guys think I should just start again?
  • Alemja
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    Alemja hero character
    I don't mind blogspot so much as you can do some creative things with the layout, but the point about digging through archives is completely valid and should be taken into consideration.

    I loathe WIX sites, the problem for me and perhaps a lot of other people is if you have a script blocker, you don't see anything at all. Some people use script blockers by choice, other people may have scripts blocked by their office, the last thing you want is for website to not load because it's flash.

    My personal rule for designing portfolios is if your scripts or css don't load for whatever reason you should still be able to see everything in your bare-bones html, like the images and the text.
  • SanderDL
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    SanderDL polycounter lvl 7
    I think the tip on Blogspot could be reprised as: "Don't use a blog as your portfolio". Now that doesn't meant you shouldn't use sites like Blogspot, just make sure your site is easily accesable and doesn't require many clicks or long mouse scrolls to get anywhere. That is a point you should always keep in mind, regardless of what methods you use for your site.
  • Xio
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    Xio polycounter lvl 3
  • Skillmister
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    Skillmister polycounter lvl 11
    Meteora wrote: »
    What's bad with Wix?



    Funny, I often hear people don't like seeing that, simply because you see it all the time and its boring. Though maybe it was specifically directed at film. In video games it makes sense.

    I don't know if it's wix in general that makes it how it is, but your site is pretty horrible to navigate.

    Takes quite a while to load.
    Unnecessary transition animations.
    Multiple clicks to get to your work.
    Work pops up in awful viewer boxes that take even longer to load.
    Images cant be right click > saved.
  • JohnnyRaptor
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    JohnnyRaptor polycounter lvl 15
    awesome, a bit funny and definitely a good read :)

    as for portfolios, i run my portfolio on dropbox...free, tons of space, fast and dead easy to update! just save in the folder from any machine and voila..website updated.
  • cptSwing
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    cptSwing polycounter lvl 11
    mazz423 wrote: »
    Saw this earlier, this one made me laugh.
    I have sadly seen a few unintentionally, hilariously racist characters myself.


    Haha. Yeah had to chuckle as well. Let's see it, Jon Jones!
  • NyneDown
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    NyneDown polycounter lvl 11
    Good stuff. Some of those I agree with, and others I think are his own personal preference.

    Personally, I have no problem with sites that use wix or blogspot...as long as they're easy to navigate. I really dont understand that in order to be taken seriously, you muuuuST have a regular site and not a wix, blogspot, weebly, cghub, deviantart, etc. You would think that as long as their work is solid and it is easy to navigate, an employer wouldn't care. I personally dont like to focus ANY of my time having to mess around with dreamweaver or any other web design software. I want to focus on art, and when I'm done...upload it to a site where I dont have to fight with html or any of that stuff.

    Squarespace.com is another one I havent seen mentioned. It actually looks a lot cleaner and has more customization features than weebly and wix.
  • MagicSugar
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    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    Blogspot now has different layout options where you can just have your art and not have text. Add that with a custom domain name (now under a buck per month), it can be a good site...if you have the goods, like:

    http://krisanka2012.blogspot.ca/

    fyi, this guy's already working for Marvel. This is just one of his old portfolios.
  • aaronmwolford
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    aaronmwolford polycounter lvl 8
    awesome info! Thanks for sharing!
  • Eric Chadwick
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    It's all about the annoyances. All the little things add up, trying to get thru portfolio after portfolio.
  • Jon Jones
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    Jon Jones polycounter lvl 18
    Wow! Thanks so much for all the positive comments, everybody! :D I'm really glad the tips are of use. I haven't had such a concentrated pack of resumes and portfolios to review before, so it was fun taking notes and blasting all the info out all at once. Twitter is such a terrific format for focused thoughts.

    Since so many people have been asking about Blogspot, I'm going to give it its own post, then put replies in a separate one.

    So, Blogspot! Here's why I don't like it: It's way too easy to have one portfolio piece per post, and have 2 - 10 pages' worth of content I have to manually click through to see anything. Blogspot is for creating a timestamped archive of content, not a presentation of deliberately selected art. It's fundamentally a posting format that automatically archives your work and hides it behind multiple pages anytime you post something new. You really can't curate content or present your work that way. Imagine if every time you made a new piece of art, the 10th-latest piece of art you made before that was deleted forever. From an art director's point of view looking at a Blogspot page, that's how it is.

    Yesterday when I was posting these, I almost passed on giving a guy an art test because he had a Blogspot page with so-so work on the first page, and his actual reel with good work in it on the second page. Fortunately I was being thorough and caught it, but not everyone's going to do that. Make your art so easy to access I can see it accidentally!
  • Jon Jones
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    Jon Jones polycounter lvl 18
    Onto replies!

    #10 dustinbrown: You're correct, it's 3DS MAX. I misspoke. I just go nutty when it's shortened to "Three-Dee Max" with nary a mention of "Studio" or even an "S." It's baffling, just losing a whole letter\word like that. "I'm proficient with Photosop, Zbush, Mudbo, Craybump, and Microsoft Wod." LETTERS EXIST FOR A REASON! Especially when they're an initialism! :) I'm not actually mad about it, it's just one of those teeny tiny annoyances that I've seen forever that never goes away.

    #24 stubs3d: For a portfolio, I really like Carbonmade. Simple, focused, to-the-point. For a reel, Vimeo is the best. High-resolution, passwordable, and controlled presentation -- no "If you liked this reel, Youtube Recommends horrible softcore fatty porn!" I also think Wordpress with a good theme and set of plugins is terrific.

    #25 BeefWatson: See my comment above about Blogspot. I dislike Wix because a) it's Flash, b) it's VERY easy to make a horrible slow-loading page, and c) it's VERY easy to make a horrible slow-loading page. I don't care about fancy templates or cool presentation. Think about it this way: As an artist with a portfolio, you're inclined to think of it as designing an experience to present your work and want it to look super polished and cool, and seeing flashy features and presentation is very tempting. As an art director, I have a list of portfolios to go through and I just want to see art IMMEDIATELY. I don't care about bells and whistles, I'm less inclined to be forgiving of load times, and Flash-heavy websites that bog down my browser just annoy me. I see Wix and I see a platform that makes it incredibly likely art will be harder and slower for me to see.

    #28 Sean VanGorder: Dunked, eh? I'll check it out! Thank you! I love learning about new tools and sites I can recommend for people. :)

    #30 dustinbrown (again!): I feel a little dumb for not thinking of CGHUB. I completely agree with you that it's a fantastic, standardized, simple platform. I honestly don't see anything wrong at all having a CGHUB portfolio versus hosting your own. I'm guaranteed a more streamlined experience!

    #32 m4dcow: Rolled your own Wordpress theme? Impressive!

    #33 Wrath: CHRISTOPHER BRUCE!!! How's it going, man?! I also agree 100% with everything you said.

    #36 Intervain: See my comments above. However, I'll summarize: Blogspot is for archived, non-curated content, and Wix's temptingly flashy themes and features make it very easy to have a super slow portfolio. Some artists can do absolutely great working within those constraints to make good portfolios, but, across hundreds to thousands of portfolios, in the literal sense of "on the average" over a data set that broad, they are more annoying and badly done than not. There are exceptions, but it usually sucks.

    #39 Snader: Fair enough. I always gravitate toward the simplest and easiest, and that particular tip about limiting the font sizes and typefaces was inspired by extreme edge cases where I'll see like 4 to 8 different ones on the same page.

    #40 Polyhertz: If Blogspot can have just one post that gets update with new work, then that's cool. It's just that most of the time people use it like a normal blog. Blogspot is fine as a work log, but not a professional portfolio.

    And again: All of my advice is about how to stand out in worst-case scenarios. Everything I say is stark and bombastic on purpose to emphasize the shortest, simplest path to reach your goal. That can be dressed up in a variety of different ways, but I always hammer in the idea "remember your only goal."
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