When applying for jobs, creatives such as graphic and digital designers face a completely different set of obstacles to their ‘suit’ counterparts.
Years of experience and education can all be put aside if the creative work isn’t on brand with the position being sought. The most important thing that a creative can do is look at the work being produced by the potential employer (agency or brand), and decide what, out of your previous work, most aligns with what they’re currently producing. So, how do you create the perfect portfolio to give your personal brand a lift?
Your favourite piece of creative might not be relevant to the role you are seeking. It’s important to think pragmatically and not emotionally about your portfolio, and make sure that each application is tailored to that business.
Split it up
If you’re a slasher (as in designer/copywriter), break your portfolio up into your different areas of expertise. It’s great to show off your individual strengths in these areas.
Also, break your portfolio up by industry. If you’ve worked agency side, chances are you’ve worked across a plethora of industries, so make sure you have them subdivided, and ordered from most relevant to least relevant to that particular role.
Soft and hard copy
Make sure that you’re prepared by bringing a hard copy to your interview, but have a soft copy available. This ensures that it can be distributed to all the right people should you have the chance to progress in the recruitment process. If your soft copy exists on a website or a link, make sure all links are current – it can be hard to recover from a broken link.
Don’t only explain the brief that was given for the work that was produced, but give details surrounding results. If you’ve got metrics such as digital click-throughs, sales’ KPIs or anything else that proves the creative effectively cut through the saturation, add them in.
Always bring your portfolio with you, regardless of whether or not it’s been requested of you – it shows initiative. Give your interviewer an opportunity to ask any questions, or alternatively highlight projects you are most proud of and why.
Although resumes and interviews are still a crucial part of securing positions, creative roles heavily rely on the unique thinking of candidates, so never underestimate the power of a perfect portfolio.