What other suggestions could you to make to an illustrator starting out?

If you can(and I appreciate this is an obvious thing to say), do try to get yourself a website so Art Directors can look you up online. I’ve found this invaluable – more important to me now than a physical portfolio which is more or less obsolete as far as I can make out. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are brilliant too if you like using them. Make your web pages as beautiful and enticing as you can; it is your show case. You will be judged by it, so prepare it in a way that really reflects your talents and abilities to their best advantage. Art Directors are by their nature highly visual people and they will appreciate a well-presented site to show and share with their colleagues and clients.
If you are not sure how to go about this The Association of Illustrators (www.theaoi.com T: +44 (0)20 7613 4328) have what’s called a Portfolio Consultation whereby you can make an appointment to discuss your work and how to present it, what to put in it etc. It’s important to create a portfolio/website to suit your strengths – i.e. if you’re more children’s book orientated, editorial, advertising, general etc. If you’re not able to, then do see if you can ask an art director near you to give you advice (look up Yellow Pages or The Association of Illustrators have directories you can buy). Their time is precious but you never know, they might squeeze you in!
In the US why not contact the Graphic Artists Guild, www.graphicartistsguild.org T: +1 212 791 3400.