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How to build a solid portfolio

Create a portfolio

How to build a solid portfolio to increase your employability and catch the recruiter’s attention

As a creative, your portfolio represents you and your work style, and recruiters will base your success for an interview primarily on their impression of your portfolio! Just like with a CV, this gives the recruiter a first glance into you and your work, so you have to make it count. Read now our 6 tips for building an appealing portfolio:

1. Only put your best work into your portfolio

If you have second thoughts on adding a particular work from questioning its strength and professionalism, don’t add it in. Only add in your best work that you are confident and proud of and is excited for people to see. Recruiters are experts at going through portfolios, and it will be easy for them to pinpoint work that you put up and not confident with. It’s better to have an edited portfolio showcasing the best designer that you are, over aimlessly putting out weaker work for the sake of quantity. Quality over quantity is the motto! You should have between four to six projects in your portfolio.

2. Put in your portfolio the type of work that you want to be hired for

Everyone has their speciality and strengths in different areas of their specific field. So it is essential to showcase your preference and interest so that you are hired into the jobs that will work with your strengths. For example, if you are a graphic designer who enjoys branding above everything else, make sure your portfolio dominantly includes the said projects. Recruiters will be able to see the passion in your work, and they will hire you based on your strengths.

3. Integrate your personality into your portfolio

As a recruiter going through dozens of portfolios, it can be repetitive if they can’t find many stand-out. Having your personality translated into your portfolio will definitely help you stand out and display your uniqueness and style. If you have a personal brand, this would be highly beneficial in making you distinctive from other applicants. Make sure that your portfolio is authentic to you. But similarly, like your CV, don’t overdo it and make sure your portfolio is still straightforward and easy to navigate.

4. Give context to your work

The recruiter needs to be able to understand your work easily. So it is good to have texts supporting your images to give a better context to your projects. Ensure you edit your portfolio so that the texts and pictures complement one another and even show your creative process (which is always a bonus point).

5. What if you lack real-life experience and projects?

If you are a recent graduate or someone that has taken a career change in their life and is worried about not having real-life experience, don’t worry! When you apply for a junior position, recruiters won’t expect years of experience for the role. Instead, they will judge based on your design capability and creative thinking, which you need to translate through your portfolio. It is perfectly fine to include mock projects into your portfolios, such as student work or even briefs you have written yourself, as long as it displays your skillset and passion.

6. Choosing the right platform to showcase your portfolio

As a creative, it is expected of you from the industry to have an online portfolio to showcase your work. Of course, you can send off your portfolio in a PDF file alongside your CV during your application. But having an online portfolio shows professionalism and that you are keeping up with the industry. This will increase your chances of getting employed. Having an online portfolio is also more convenient as you can easily edit your portfolio whenever you like! Since your portfolio should continuously be evolving. If you can create your personal portfolio website, that is ideal, and there are many website builders such as Squarespace or Wix to make this simple. Adobe portfolio is also a good option as this will be free if you have an Adobe subscription. Other free online platforms include Behance and Dribble, which provides a great community space for creatives.