A portfolio is required for either job or apprenticeship applications in creative fields like marketing, graphic design, copywriting and UI/UX design as a medium to show your skills to potential employers. A portfolio's true purpose is to provide tangible evidence of your work and value in the workplace. A portfolio can help you document your professional achievements and demonstrate the value of your experience to potential employers.
Whether you're a student or a young creative just getting started in your career, here's how to build a design portfolio that gets you the apprenticeship or the gigs you want!
Start with a cover page that entices readers
Consider your portfolio cover page to be a separate piece. The majority of your portfolio's readers will be busy HR and design professionals with little time to evaluate your work. As a result, to really hook the readers, you should buckle down and think about your portfolio cover page more carefully.
Create a neat cover design that reflects your personality. On your cover page, an introductory headline should explain why readers should continue to the next page of your portfolio.
Continue with an ‘About Me’ page
On the first page of your portfolio, tell readers who you are. On this first page, there's no need to be overly formal as this is your personal space for presenting yourself, so relax and write your ‘About Me’ page in the same manner as you would normally speak. You can also use it as a section of your CV to briefly present your work by including your educational background, software skills, and any projects you've worked on. Remember to also include the best photo of yourself that best represents your personality!
Share your best projects
Let's get down to the project pages and talk about the key things you should include in your portfolio. If you've been designing for a while, you probably have a large number of projects to choose from. It can be tempting to include everything in the hopes of increasing the chances that something will resonate with the employers.But that's the wrong approach.
With your portfolio, you're curating a unique experience for specific people. It's self-evident to include projects you're proud of within the industry you're targeting. Remember to not show the kitchen sink. Focus on your best work and strategically curate your design portfolio by starting with showing your five great pieces.
In your portfolio, you don't have to include every project you've ever worked on. It's better to include 4 truly outstanding projects rather than 10 that you're not sure about.
PRO TIP: Describe the projects
Make sure to include the following information on your project pages:
- Describe the project, the problem that was solved and your role in it in a few sentences (i.e., branding, graphic design, content creation).
- What was the goal of the project? What were the deliverables?
- Show the results, whether they are quantitative or qualitative. If you work in the social media field, highlight quantitative results like increased revenue, retention, and conversions. If you work as a designer, display high-res images of your qualitative results like final content or final design. If you're a writer, include your content or blog writing samples, as well as a description of the articles (i.e., what project was it for, where is it published, what is the objective of the write-ups)
- It's a plus if you can write about key takeaways: What did you learn as a creative as a result of working on this project?
Use a strategic layout
Take a strategic approach to putting together your portfolio. Make sure the content, structure, and layout are all in order. Consider what to include and what to leave out. A total of 4-6 projects is ideal. Maintain a simple, clean, and scan-friendly environment.
Avoid showing too many images, especially ones that are low-resolution and pixelated. A poor image will stand out more than a good one, and it will not leave a favourable impression.
By getting strategic and creative with your layout, you will be able to communicate your personal brand as a creative and entice employers to want to work with you by showing off your design sensibility. Your portfolio's layout, look and feel should reflect something unique about you.
End with a Contact Page
Lastly, Include your email address and phone number so that employers can contact you if they want to offer you the position.
You'll be one step closer to getting the apprenticeship or the job you want if you design your portfolio with your reader in mind, whether they're a recruiter or an employer. Knowing that they only spend a few minutes on your portfolio, make it easy for them to access the most important information and see your best work.
Once you've mastered the concept of balance, you'll be ready to start building your portfolio. It may take some time and several drafts, but remember that you can always make changes to the page as you gain more experience. Remember that your portfolio serves as your showcase to the rest of the world as a creative, and it can help you land your next apprenticeship, gig, or job!
Apply to our Global Apprenticeship Program as a creative by submitting your portfolio!