Looking for a new job in design? Make sure your portfolio is ready!

Dec 23, 2015 Kevin Design 0 comments

Why Even Bother Having a Design Portfolio?

A resume is intended to get you an interview, a design portfolio will demonstrate the type of work you can do.

A design portfolio can be more important than your resume when it comes to finding a job in design, whether you are looking for a full-time position or something more project based such as freelance design, you need a strong portfolio!  It’s one thing to say talk about what you can do, it’s quite another to show what you can do.  Bottom line, talk is cheap.  Telling a hiring manager during an interview what you can do with this software or that does not depict your true skill level, a portfolio visually bridges that gap.

Most career advisors will strongly recommend you update your resume at least every 6 months, and you really should look at updating and improving your portfolio just as frequently.

Have Your Portfolio Reviewed

If possible, have multiple people you trust to give feedback.  Have thick skin, take their critics.  You don’t necessarily have to implement all their suggestions, but weigh them.  Also, over time, it will likely be time to trim out some older pieces that might not properly showcase you’re current skill level.  Ask your reviewers to select which pieces they feel are the weakest.

Make Your Portfolio Better

Whether you have an online and/or other medium for your portfolio, be creative and make sure the pieces of your work are relevant to the type of employment your seeking.  Don’t let your portfolio become neglected.

Make Sure Your Portfolio is Ready!

Especially when dealing with an electronic portfolio, whether you have it installed on a tablet or you have your own website, make sure it works.  Use other operating systems and browsers to ensure cross-compatibility.  This is something you can have people check for when they review your portfolio.  There’s a sinking feeling if you can’t get your portfolio to load or function properly during an interview, also, don’t count on wireless internet access – not all hiring managers will know their company password for guest access, so be sure to check in advance that it will be available if you do require internet access to show your portfolio.  Other options to consider are mobile wi-fi devices, but be prepared if you get low or no signal at the interview location.  Metal buildings are notorious for interfering with telecommunication signals.

Is Your Work Relevant?

Make sure the pieces of work you highlight in your portfolio are relevant to the position you are interviewing for.  Also, be sure to create your portfolio with the hiring manager in mind.  Often times they will want to see how you arrived at the final piece.  This can include rough sketches, wireframes, and prototypes that show the process of how you arrived at the final product.


  1. Have multiple people review your portfolio and make appropriate changes.
  2. Be creative, but make sure your portfolio is relevant for the type of job you are applying for.
  3. Update, update, update – don’t get caught with an outdated portfolio you have to rush to try and update – you never know when that next job opportunity might pop up.
  4. Design with the hiring manager in mind.

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What Do You Think?

Post your own thoughts and suggestions on the importance and design portfolios and how to make them better in the comments section below.

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