Copywriters

A friend asked me to review his portfolio site for a writing job. It’s terrible. I don’t have time to edit the whole thing, and I don’t know how to tell him he’d never get hired. What would you do?

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Be constructively honest. Give him pointers on how to improve his site, and show him examples of what good looks like.

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The best feedback I ever got was from a friend who absolutely tore my portfolio up. He prefaced it with "When I was a CD at [Bigass Midwestern Agency], I saw dozens of these things and almost every one of them sucked." He got me off of Coroflot, guided me toward more effective writeups, re-order, deleted some work that I was proud of but had little relevance to the people who'd be looking, etc. It was probably a two-hour review and writeup. But what he DIDN'T do was edit it. Mainly because it wasn't even ready for edits much less landing me a job.

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But isn’t guiding you toward more effective write ups and deleting work equal editing?

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“Hey, I am just being honest, your portfolio needs some serious work. This is why...”

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Pick the biggest 2,3 or 4 things and give them as feedback.

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Is it possible that the book doesn’t actually suck? Maybe, he’s just a bit inexperienced and feels like he needs to include everything? Could you suggest he take a fire ax to it and just leave like 40 percent of the work there and just concentrate on making that better?

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