Does your portfolio really showcase your talents and make creative agencies sit up and take notice? Or does it lack direction and focus, with a mishmash of work and projects that don’t really convey who you are and what you can do?
Read on for my advice on how to streamline your portfolio and give your creative career a boost.
5 Ways To Improve Your Portfolio
Just as I would recommend tailoring your CV to a specfic job application, your portfolio should be compiled for both the role you are after, and the agency you hope to work for. However, while you wait for the right opportunity to present itself, you should still have a strong portfolio available offline and online so you are ready to respond quickly to any interest in your talents.
1. Keep it Relevant
Your portfolio should only contain examples of your work that are relevant to the job you wish to do and the kinds of agencies you would consider working for. Don’t include everything you’ve ever done in an attempt to pad out your portfolio, this will only water down the good stuff. Stick to the work you have done which really sets you out from the crowd.
Top tip: Don’t leave this until the night before an interview! Keep on top of it on a weekly or monthly basis. Every time you have something new to add, look through the rest of your folio to see how it looks in its’ entirety: does it sell brand you?
As much as you only want to include relevant work, you should still ensure your portfolio is a decent length, so there is plenty of material to showcase your skills. A portfolio with only a couple of pages is better than nothing, but the more material you have the better especially if they cover a wide range of projects and industries.
Portfolio size guidelines: Creative Bloq recommends that physical portfolios should run to 20 pages and online folios include 30 examples of work.
3. Project Titles
It should be easy to find each project in your portfolio, so you may want to consider using project titles. When you go for an interview or you meet with a client, project titles will allow them to quickly find the pieces of work which are most relevant to them. If your portfolio is also online (which it should be) you can categorise the work to make it easier to find.
What’s the brief? Also include details of the brief and how you accomplished it. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate soft skills such as problem solving, communication skills etc., by providing an overview of the project and your part in it.
4. Additional Skills
If you have other skills which are relevant to the creative industry, make sure you include these in your portfolio. For example, you may be working as a web designer but have good photographic skills and including this can enhance your overall profile. The purpose of this is not to become an all-rounder who can do a bit of coding in the morning and then art direct a video in the afternoon, more to show that you have an understanding of related roles and skillsets.
Be genuine. Don’t be tempted to stretch the truth of who you are and where your talents lie! Let your real abilities shine through so that potential employers can make good decisions about whether or not you are a fit for their role.
5. Social Media
As well as looking for job opportunities to apply for, you should also be proactively marketing yourself and your portfolio to prospects. Social media naturally provides many of the tools to do this. Share your portfolio on your social media platforms, tell you followers when you have made any updates, let people know about new testimonials, case studies and other material. Also ensure that your social media profiles include a visible link to your online folio, as you never know who might be looking at them.
For more advice on tailoring your portfolio for your next career move read this post on What Do Clients Look For In Your Portfolio.
Do you make good use of your portfolio when looking for prospects? What do you find to be the most effective aspect of your portfolio? We would love to hear from you!