3 Tips to Build A Design Portfolio That Gets You Hired.

Written by Aisyah Rozi
16 Aug 2022

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5 mins read

A design portfolio is a showcase of your skill.

It may be the one thing that separates you from a 'Maybe' than a 'No' list. It's the door to getting called for that job interview. Failure to attract the hiring managers' attention means you are letting go of job opportunities.

A design portfolio must speak for itself because you won't be there to explain it when you submit that job application. Now, what can you do that?

1. Presentation Matters.

Present your work in a layout, and create a mockup. The presentation of your work matters. Think of the portfolio as a design task of its own.

Your options: Portfolio sites such as Carbonmade, or Issuu (upload PDF). Behance and Dribbble are good too. If you're in UI/UX, it's GREAT if you can showcase it on your own portfolio site.

Don'ts:

  • Simply send artworks in a folder, and expect the interviewer to explore the files. It shows a lack of effort and seriousness.
  • Upload attachments in an email to reduce failed email


Do's:

  • Send a portfolio link
  • The portfolio must be easy to navigate

Remember, hiring managers have a lot of portfolios to go through. So your portfolio has to stand out.

2. Curate Your Work

You don't have to show everything. Only show the ones worth talking about.

Organize your work according to categories. If you can eliminate irrelevant work, that's better.

For example, if you are applying for a User Interface design role, don't lump your fine art works in there. Put them in a separate category, just to show your range. But make UI work as the highlights and core. You don't want to dilute your skills.

3. Add Context and Insights to your process

Design is all about context, so why wouldn't you include them in your design portfolio? Basic info like the following are good context to have:

  • date or month/year,
  • semester/ subject (if university work),
  • project name,
  • client name,
  • 1-2 paragraphs of what the project is about

Describe your progress, and show your work-in-progress pictures. This gives an indication of how you are working as a designer than just a pixel pusher. The hiring manager wants to see your thinking process and your growth throughout your projects.

The quality of your process insights will differentiate you between a lowly paid vs highly paid designer. Or whether you get hired or not.

Key takeaway:

  • Consider designing your portfolio to show that you have the right skills specific to the role you are applying for.
  • Your portfolio must speak for itself. The hiring manager must be able to understand what's the project about and the processes behind it.
  • Your portfolio must be easy to navigate.

All the best, job seekers!

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