My 3rd portfolio crit was at Music with Craig Oldham. I sneaked in on this one as there was a cancellation going, the more the merrier I thought. The crit was in Music's lovely office (although located in the middle of nowhere I got totally lost!) This crit was a mix or reviews about work and the approach to the agency.
The tips Craig went through about approaching a company were really useful. Most of them seem so obvious, I really thought I wouldn't have problems on this front and didn't need advice, but he made a few points I hadn't thought of and it's just great to have a little check list to always make sure I've remembered everything.
1. Never ask for a job or a placement, just ask for advice. It's a lot more difficult to refuse someone face to face.
2. Always give a sample of your best work, but don't give away everything otherwise there'll be nothing left to show. It's nice to put a link to your website, simple and easy way to let people choose how much they want to see.
3.CV's are only really important if you've had work experience or freelance work. As for a covering letter approach, try not to repeat the CV and consider just writing it in the email? Don't go overboard on describing what you do - if your a designer people know what this is and will get a better idea from your work than any description.
4. Be humble and flatter. Tell them you know how busy they are and appreciate their time, always say thank you and try to make it personal.
5. Always make sure your approaching the right person whose in charge of student placements. You can ring and find out before hand, find out how they'd like to be contacted and always check up on your application.
When it came to the work crit I didn't get the reaction I have from other people. I went last and so felt a bit rushed when presenting as he was clearly running out of time. He questioned something on almost every project, not something I was particularly phased by as I was able to fight my corner with the reasons behind my choices, but it was a little off putting. He said I should iron out the layouts and just work on making them all conform, something I have already done but didn't want to print until I'd had feedback from everyone so that was good advice. He ended by saying it was a good book, although I felt a bit like I hadn't got as much from him as the others and was a bit down hearted.
Never the less, I learned a lot from him so I'm glad I went. One thing that has come from all these portfolio crits is a massive boost in confidence, some people will love your work, some people won't, but if you're confident in what you do then someone, one day, will be on board with that!