Design Your Portfolio Like a Boss

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04.13.15 | By
Design Your Portfolio Like a Boss
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What does it take to nail an interview and get your dream design job? More than a cool personality and more than awesome design skills… you’ve got to also have a well-designed and comprehensive online portfolio that will blow their minds. These days your online portfolio can make or break getting hired, so it’s your one chance to show potential clients or customers what you have to offer.

Don’t worry, this may sound like a huge undertaking, but here are a few simple tips that will make you a boss at portfolio design.

Design by Will Holmes

Design by Will Holmes

1. Edit
While it may be tempting, you don’t have to show all of your work that you’ve done in the last ten years, or even five. You should only be showing the work you are really proud of, work you want to get hired to do more of, or work that is specific to a job for which you are interviewing.

When someone goes to your portfolio, you want them to see the best of what you can do, not everything you’ve ever done. Impress them at first sight.

Design by Carmen K. Ma

Design by Carmen K. Ma

2. Organize
If you’re an interdisciplinary designer, it’s important that you group your work into categories. You want your work to be be easy to digest and understand, even if someone only visits your portfolio for 30 seconds.

Potential clients or customers should be able to look at your portfolio and know what you do and what you want to be hired for without having to puzzle together pieces of your work.

3. Caption
Whether it’s just a few words or a small paragraph, explain the work you’re sharing. Even if it’s just a personal project that you did for practice, you should mention that as well as explain a bit of your process. Remember, your designs are important, but how you got there is equally meaningful. If there is an inspiration or story behind the design, tell it briefly.

skillcrush online courses

4. Learn + Elevate
If you’re a designer, you’re expected to have a well-designed portfolio. That’s easy with just about any online template, but sometimes you just want something that feels like YOU. If you’re working with a basic template and you want to personalize it but not sure how, try taking a quick and easy online course like these from Skillcrush. They cover web design basics like CSS and HTML to understanding the user experience and even learning JavaScript. Don’t be intimidated! Trust me – if I can learn it, you can learn it. ☺

Design by Forth and Wild

Design by Forth and Wild

5. Create Context
Give your work context. You may be applying for an editorial layout position, but you’ve never had your work published in a magazine before. No worries, there are plenty of mock ups you can purchase out there, some of which are only $5, to show your work as if it had been published.

If you want to do product design, but have never had your work printed on packages before, create mock ups and show your work on a box!

Here are some sites that provide design mock ups:

Images from Squarespace

Images from Squarespace

6. Go Mobile
One of the more important things to consider when designing your portfolio is to make sure it’s mobile friendly. Often times, that’s how it will be viewed to decide whether to bring you in for an interview or not.

Squarespace has an awesome app where you can sync and display the images that have been uploaded to your Gallery Pages within your site. When you first log in, you’ll be guided through a tutorial set up, so there’s help along the way.

You can add some style elements and titles for your images, as well as descriptions. The app also works for videos that have been uploaded to your site. Not only can you sync and view your portfolio images on mobile devices, but you can share them as well without even needing internet access!

Head over to the Squarespace site to learn more about this cool app plus, try out Squarespace with their free trial and get 10% off your first purchase using offer code DESIGNMILK.

What great portfolio tips and resources are your favorite?

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.