Over the last 18 months or so I met a number of students from the various Melbourne Universities who are studying or about to graduate from the various courses relating to the advertising/communications business.
The main things they want are intro's to Creative Directors, and a critical eye cast accross their portfolio (or 'book' as is the adland parlance, which as an aside is peculiar in itself inasmuch as it's a fairly elderly concept in this day and age).
In almost 100% of cases one of my main bits of 'advice' - this is a straight lift out of the Russell Davies school - is to do something else, something unique and interesting, on top of their resume and portfolio.
Writing a blog about something you are passionate about, make some films, do some sculpture or whatever.
The point being that every year hundreds of grads pass out of uni with broadly the same background, resume and percieved talent. What is the thing about 'you' - your unique bit of interestingness that means you'll get noticed.
This, of course, is not rocket science.
Interesting-ness has pretty much been subject to the same commodification as 'engagement', and 'social media' and all the rest of it.
What is hard to commoditise though, is commitment, passion and purpose.
Using one's skills for good, going beyond the call of duty, beyond the mundane (because the mundane bar has been significantly lifted in recet times).
There are some new opportunities to up your Elvis.
'What we do for students.
You demonstrate your talents and abilities by answering challenges from brands looking for non-cookie-cutter solutions. If your solution to a challenge is deemed worthy enough, it will earn an endorsement from the brand. This will serve as a significant indication of your skills and a demonstration of your work ethic and aptitude on your resume.
Unlike crowdsourcing and internships, you are in total control, you choose to accept or decline the challenge. All decisions are yours.
What’s not to like about that?'
Addressing directly the graduates dilemma - 'How can you I show that I have what it takes when I’ve never been in a professional situation as an employee to demonstrate my skills and aptitude? Gapjumpers is a new company started by good friends of Never Get Out Of The Boat, Kedar Iyer and Petar Vujosevic. They work out of Santiago in Chile, though their tentacles reach throughout the globe, and are supported by both The Chilean Government and Start-Up Chile - a program to attract world-class early stage entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Chile.
So, students. Gapjumpers are waiting to hear from you, now. Go and do something.