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CV + Portfolio Clinic

  1. What is a portfolio? A portfolio is a story about you
  2. Most people will say it’s a selling tool, a way to get a new job. This is true to an extent but it’s more than that. If you focus on just getting a job then you are in danger of focusing on executional skills or what your potential employer wants to see.

    A portfolio should tell an engaging story about you, it should show that you are capable of doing the job in hand but also show your passions, your goals and your strengths.

    Yes, as a designer we all have to do those mundane jobs but if your folio doesn’t show the creativity and passion how do you get the opportunity to shine?

    Our most common complaint from clients amongst grads is lack of creativity. Remember creativity can be reined in however you cannot make someone more creative than they are. SHOW IT.

  3. Introduction Page
  4. Seems obvious but a well designed intro page sets the tone for your folio. Keep it simple but share some information about your background. You may not have the commercial experience but this will give your story some depth. Keep it simple and relevant.

  5. Have 8 to 10 projects maximum
  6. It’s hard to have volume of work when you are starting out but as you gain more experience it is tempting to put everything in your folio. Follow the GOLDEN RULE , once you hit 10 projects one project must come out before you put another one in. It’s hard to lose a much loved portfolio piece but its essential to keep you book fresh and to the highest quality it can be.

  7. Keep work current
  8. Nothing raises alarm bells more than a folio full of work before 2010. At best the work is dated at worst it suggest you haven’t been involved in design projects for while. If you don’t have portfolio worthy work then conceptualise and recreate your work.

  9. Purpose of each piece

  10. Every project should have a purpose to exist. What does it show? Creativity, problem solving, wit? It  can show any aspect you wish as long as it is relevant. Try not to repeat projects that are  similar.

    6.  Your role

    Be clear on your role in the project. If you are an art worker concentrate on the technical issues   with a project. If you have worked in a team, then state your input. Hirers will see multiple portfolios and if  you worked on a large project the likelihood is someone else will have that in  their book as well. It doesn’t help when several people are claiming to have done the same thing on a particular project. It does happen so don’t get caught out.

7. A folio is a living document

A portfolio should always be in beta stage. As a designer you will always crave for perfection. Perfection is rare.. As you gain experience you will see things in your work that you wish you had done differently. This is normal. This is how you will look at your portfolio. Resist visiting it daily but always give it a 6 monthly (yearly max) review. Even if you are not looking for a job always be ready. If situations change quickly you don’t want to be in a position where you are hindering yourself because your book isn’t ready.

8. Design your portfolio

Companies will often consider the design and presentation of a portfolio as importantly as it’s content. You are in a business of presenting ideas so if you cannot present yourself why would they consider you to design and present their work?

9. Ask you peers

Share your ideas with your colleagues, college friends, Everybody has their own opinions but its good to get different points of view. Practise talking through your work either with your friends or family, so you feel confident presenting your ideas when you are in an interview.

10. Be Confident

This is your chance to show a potential employer what you can do, your creative flair. Have the confidence in your work. Don’t apologise for pieces or justify work because the client wanted this image or that colour. If you aren’t confident showing it as a piece it shouldn’t be in there!

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