7 innovative ways to make your portfolio stand out

Your portfolio is like your baby, isn’t it? Ok well go with me on this one. So from your childhood, to teens, to your twenties, you have been every step of the way, nurturing it. Now it’s time for it to fly the nest and show a potential employer exactly what YOU can offer. You want it to be perfect, but taking a step back can be a difficult task.

Here are seven ways to get your portfolio in the best shape of its life.

1. Don’t bulk up your portfolio with irrelevant work

As tempting as this may be, you don’t want to have a portfolio that’s chock full with old or unsuitable examples of your work. Have a ruthless tidy-up and don’t leave this until it’s unavoidable. You want to be showcasing your best work, at the best of your abilities – now.

2. Aim for 20 pages

Professionals say that you should aim to fill at least 20 pages of a physical portfolio. If it is online, 30 is a reasonable amount. Have a wide breadth of work pulled together in there so that it will apply to a wide range of applications. Also include page numbers, clear titles and guides so that whoever is flicking through it (in hand or virtually) can quickly see what you have to offer.

3. Keep things relevant

Although breadth of work is important, make sure that it is relevant to the job you are applying to. There is no use in putting too much artwork in if you are applying for a creative director position for example. If it’s not needed, don’t include it.

4. Show yourself to be an all-rounder

Being a good designer, with a creative eye is of course important, but employers want all-rounders. You need to be able to be articulate in meetings when presenting ideas, understand budgets and costs, and have the ability to meet deadlines. Professional skills are needed in all creative jobs nowadays, despite what you may have heard. Are you also a good photographer or have experience in coding? Why not include some shots or some of your website designs? It will show you can turn your hand to different things.

5. Try to be objective

Think about your portfolio in an impartial way. Is there too much of one thing? Does it show how fun and creative you are, but also how serious you are about career progression? Does it show you to be versatile and highly capable? Try and think about how you would feel if you were viewing your portfolio for the first time as if it was somebody else’s. What would you advise them to change?

6. Let others speak for you

Recommendations can go a long way in showing that you are professional, hard-working and eager to learn and develop your skills. Done some freelance work before? Why not ask them for a recommendation?

7. Buy a nice folder

If you are going to take in your portfolio to an interview, spend a little extra and get yourself an attractive folder. It will show the employer that you value attention to detail and want to present your work in the best possible light.