Internista: Build it Better With Portfolio Tips for Students by Students

Posted: July 21, 2015

Topics: Culture

One of the biggest challenges as a designer is crafting a beautiful and compelling portfolio. Showcasing your work well can open new doors and even get you your dream job.

As I approach the final chapter of my college career, I reflect on the lessons I have learned about putting together a successful portfolio from professors and industry professionals. The College for Creative Studies has taught me a number of portfolio tips and tricks that helped me get land the creative internship at PUSH 22.

Here are my top portfolio tips for my fellow students:

  1. Quality not quantity
    It is important to showcase your best work, even if it is only three pieces. Don't load up your book with mediocre work; be sure to focus on the strongest pieces.
  2. Showcase your best work first
    The order of your work is crucial! Begin with the best piece and then wrap up with your second best to leave a great final impression.
  3. Show process and ideation
    Even if you show a few sketches, it proves that you understand the creative process and can generate multiple ideas.
  4. Make it self-explanatory
    You may not always be around when a recruiter is looking through your portfolio; therefore, you need to design your book to be easy to navigate and understand.
  5. Show the kind of work that you want to create
    Make the focus of your portfolio the work that you care about and work that you want to create in the industry.
  6. Demonstrate a variety of work
    Recruiters want to see other disciplines you are interested in. For example, if you love to paint, showcase some of that. You never know what companies are looking for and you may have a special skill set that they're in need of.
  7. Be open to feedback
    Take constructive criticism and feedback to help improve your portfolio. Creative is incredibly subjective and everyone has a different way of looking at it.
  8. Talk to fellow students to test drive your book
    Taking your portfolio to people you know can be more comfortable; however, make sure they are going to be objective. You want to get good feedback before showing your work to professionals in the industry.
  9. Always have a backup portfolio when interviewing
    Technology can be unreliable at times so it's important to bring a backup portfolio. If you're relying on your laptop, bring a tablet, plus a flash drive, just in case.
  10. Practice presenting your portfolio
    Being able to talk about the big idea behind a certain campaign or design is essential during an interview. if you don't know what you're talking about, neither will anyone else. Know your portfolio inside and out and you will be more confident during your interview.
  11. Proofread your sh!%
    There is nothing more annoying than typos. It shows a lack of attention to detail, which means your book better be pretty awesome!

Building a great portfolio doesn't have to be a daunting task; if you approach it correctly and confidently, you can go far. Ask for feedback, network and continue to update your work. You'll be able to land your dream job!

Need some more inspiration? Check out these 20 unique and creative web portfolios.