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Optimizing Your Personal Design Portfolio When Looking for Work

If you are looking to line up job interviews, having a successful and competitive design portfolio is a must. With these guidelines you can finally start to get things moving and be well on your way to confidently landing that next big design gig.

design portfolio

1. Quality Over Quantity

When starting to prepare your portfolio you may feel the urge to throw together every project you can fit into a portfolio case. Remember, this is not the time for an autobiography of your design career. It is simply an opportunity to highlight your abilities through a limited selection of your best work. Depending on the opportunity, that may result in only showing a few pieces. When selecting your limited portfolio, keep in mind what kind of opportunities you want to pursue. If you are wanting a career primarily focused on web design, then make sure to included several of your best web based projects that show versatility in that area.

2. Show Versatility

This does not mean that you should only show one side of yourself. know that you are selling your abilities and you want to be seen as the whole package. Utilize projects that incorporate many mediums such as brand development cases that allow for more flexibility. You never want to self yourself short. This applies even in how you present your work. If you are showing a poster, have it printed. If you are showing an app design, show it on a phone or tablet. Within moderation, present each piece in the medium it was designed for.

3. Know the Story

Each project has a process and a story. Be in the habit of documenting these if not for the client than for yourself. It is important to be able to tell why you designed something beyond that it just looks cool. Developing a detailed process and being able to present it shows a level of commitment to your discipline that others will recognize. It also lets people see behind the complex reasoning that many creatives find difficult to express.

design portfolio

4. Arrange for Success

Once you have narrowed down your portfolio, consider the arrangement. When presenting your work there is one key that always makes for a stronger review. Start and Finish with your best work. The Serial Position Effect states that people tend to recall the first and last items in a series. Also, starting with strong work immediately draws in your viewer and builds expectation. Doing the same for your last project ensures a strong closure by leaving them wanting more.

5. Take it Online

Now don’t be so quick to put down your portfolio. In the age we are in it is equally as important to have an online portfolio. It’s a space that constantly keeps you relevant where an employer can quickly reference your work and get a hint at what makes you tick. Where else can you get that kind of free professional exposure?

Now go out facing the next interview feeling confident and prepared that you are closer than ever to securing your next big opportunity.

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