Back when we were first starting out, we remember being the shoulder to lean on when an interview didn't go well. "I answered a question terribly," or "How was I supposed to know how to do [x, y, z]?" were common concerns, and we always remember thinking: they have it so easy. All they had to do was sell themselves while we creative types had to work so hard to be wanted. You can't just sell yourself in an interview, you also have to convince someone that your work and your process is worth hiring as well. As much as we'd all love to insist on our talents and have them talk to us and be reminded of the L'Oreal slogan ("because you're worth it"), we have to work a little more than others to get what we want. Selling yourself along with your skills is a fine art, one that demands some practice.


So we have some tips to help you put your best portfolio foot forward.

1) Treat it like an actual project.

A portfolio involves pieces of information and visual components that need to be organized, just like any of your other projects. Remember that pieces compete or shine based on adjacent work, and pay attention to layout, color, thematic relationships, type of work, and chronology. There is a chance you will be asked to leave your portfolio if the hiring manager lacks sufficient time to review in person, and a portfolio should be self explanatory.

2) Discuss your role.

Unless you are a one-man design machine, it's likely you have some work included that involved a larger team. There's no shame in being one chef in the kitchen, but be prepared to talk up your role – were you part of the planning or execution? Did you participate in brainstorming sessions or tweak the final project? A team player is just as valuable as a lone wolf, so don't feel like your backseat on a project isn't worth discussing.

3) Read the room.

If you're being asked a lot about your process, show some sketches (prepared separately, or as part of your portfolio). Fielding questions about your production skills? Be sure to highlight the project that you had a hand in getting printed. Each hiring manager will be searching for different qualities in an employee, so make sure you cater your portfolio presentation to the audience, showing them exactly what they're looking for.

4) Speak up.

Prepare some words to say about projects in your portfolio, don't wait for questions to be asked or comments made. What you're saying is just as important as how you're saying it, so be confident, clear, and concise. And don't be afraid to be a little self-critical. Obviously avoid showing anything you aren't proud of, but demonstrating that you know the difference between great work and good work is useful for a hiring manager to see.

5) Let your personality shine.

Inject some of your personal humor into the presentation – your future coworkers aren't working with your portfolio, they're working with YOU. Show a bit of yourself and give them an idea of what you would bring to the team.

With these ideas under your belt, your portfolio presentation should go swimmingly. Happy job hunting!

Posted: 2/21/2018 1:29:32 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments