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6 Tips for Portfolio Prep

When you walk into a grocery store to buy cereal, how do you know what you want? You stand before a sea of boxes, fifteen different types of cornflakes, all designed differently to prove each is better than the next.

grocery_shelves

Applying for a job is no different, except the product on the shelf is something a little more important: it's YOU. Resumes can look very similar across the board, but portfolios are the way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. How will you package yourself to look better than the rest? What does your portfolio need to stand out from the crowd?

 
Be selective...
You might be tempted to throw everything you've ever done onto a website, but keep in mind - curation of your own work is judged just as harshly as the work contained. An employer looking at your site will assume you're proud of all the work shown, so.. be proud of everything you show.
 
... but still show a variety
If you do branding, show it. UI/UX? Show it. Art Direction? Show it. The point is: a company will see you as a more valuable candidate if your skills are widespread (and strong). The jury is still out on whether it's better to include a ho-hum project just to show your capabilities in a different category, or whether it's best to omit that work and mention those skills in your resume and potential interview. We think it's best to have a strong portfolio above all else, so just because you did branding for the first time doesn't mean it's going to help your future career to include it. This goes back to our first tip: make sure every project is strong.
 
Narrow it down.
Knowing how many projects to show can be a challenge – a good rule of thumb is to choose a solid 10, and add a few more if you have really strong work or a wide range of skills. Keep it below 20 and you're in the sweet spot.
 
Physical or digital?
If you're anything but a print designer, having a digital portfolio is all that is *necessary*. When it comes time for the interview you might want to consider having either physical products to show, or a printed portfolio. It will always give off the impression of preparedness and respect for your work.
 
Order matters.
Pay attention to how a viewer flows through your work. No need to group by category, but look at colors and style and make sure there is a steady path to travel through all the pieces.
 
Shoot it.
For printed pieces, spend some time (or money) taking proper photographs. To show a digital or mobile project, include the context and demonstrate the product "in use" on a computer or phone screen. Putting in some effort to present your work professionally will make a huge difference in your perceived value.

Posted: 12/28/2017 11:23:08 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments