Tips for a Creative Portfolio

In preparing for graduation, there are only about a million thoughts and worries buzzing through a graduate’s head (including mine). In a creative position like my career path, one thing that can help ease your mind and help you stand out amongst your competition is a very strong portfolio.

In this article, I will pass on some knowledge that I have acquired both from employers, professors, and some tips I have picked up on my own after working in the career center for nearly two years.

1. Choose an online platform for your portfolio site. If you have the knowledge to code your own portfolio site, then that is great, but not necessary. Your time in portfolio preparation may be better spent in editing older projects that could be improved or working on newer work to add to your collection. Your work should be able to speak for itself, so a busy web platform may just detract from your work. Some platforms to check out are cargocollective.com, behance.net, wordpress.com, and squarespace.com. Each has some great options for creating a clean space for your work to be displayed.

2. Create a portfolio book and leave-behind for interviews. Online portfolios are great and essential to have, especially pre-interview to send to potential employers. Once you are to the    interview stage it is important that you have a physical representation of your work, something tangible that the employer can look through and that has a variety of your best work samples. Going above and beyond, it is great to have a tangible item to give to them that helps you to stand out in their mind amongst many other creative candidates.

3. Show your strengths. It is important when choosing the work to include in your portfolio, that you choose the work that best shows your creative strengths. Take a close look at all of the work that is included in your portfolio and make decisions on what is just fluff, and not really adding to the story that you want your portfolio to  tell in the interview. You’ll want about 8-10 solid, portfolio worthy pieces. Too many projects will overwhelm and drag on, and this makes it easier to make sure that the projects are your best work.

4. Keep it current. Your portfolio is a living document and should be updated regularly! Your best work is often your most current work; so try to keep your work from the last 3 years. Try to update it every 6 months at the least. The longer you wait the greater the opportunity is to lose files or important documents that could give your portfolio the extra pizzazz you need.

5. Organization is key! Even if you have killer designs throughout your portfolio, if your portfolio is not well organized, your work may be overlooked. You need to ensure that your work flows from one piece to the next, so you are able to continue the conversation and lead them through your work. Keep the design nice and simple. You want it to be well designed, but not cluttered or overwhelm your work.