8 tips on perfecting your creative portfolio

Never underestimate the power of tweaking.

If you’re not getting any response when you submit your online portfolio for potential work, it could be time to review it and make sure it’s as good as it should be. It doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul is needed because sometimes making small changes can be very effective.

I wrote a recent post with tips for your portfolio here.

But, here are 8 more questions to ask yourself about your online book:

1. Is it obvious to the user how to find things on my site? Note that I say “user” because it may be obvious to you, but if you keep getting questions from different people on the same things, then it’s time to pay attention. You might need more explicit directions or simply an arrow on an image to move the user forward.

2. Is it easy to get back to the homepage from every page on my portfolio?

3. How will my portfolio look on a mobile device? Is it accessible? If you’re site is in Flash and the Creative Director happens to review portfolios from his iPad, then you’re out of luck. It’s sad, but true.

4. Is my site an easy URL to remember? A recruiter or hiring manager will remember your name before they remember your clever play on words. (I recently changed my own site from Ruby Creatives to my name when another coach gave me this piece of advice.)

5. Are there explanations or summaries for each campaign or piece?

6. If there are, is it consistent throughout the book?

7. Do I have any dates on work that makes it seem old? I know that 2006 seems like yesterday to many of us, but in a portfolio, it could look a little dated. Do you have more recent work you could replace it with? Or if you really love the piece, can you remove the date or not show it?

8. Do I have a printed back-up to bring to a meeting in case there’s a problem with the online version? This might seem old school, but hiring managers and recruiters appreciate when you’re prepared for anything. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Just make print-outs that are organized in the same way as your online portfolio, with the same descriptions and bind them.

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3 Responses to 8 tips on perfecting your creative portfolio

  1. Regarding bringing samples to interviews: since some of my samples are large dimensional pieces, a full portfolio would require hauling a box to an interview. Instead, I have a copy of my Website running locally on my personal laptop computer. Before I arrive for my interview, I start up my laptop and launch my site. Then I shut it and put it back in its case. If there isn’t an Internet connection available when I arrive at my interview, I just pull out my laptop, open the top and I’m ready to roll. My site is a Flash site. But, honestly, if a Creative Director were to try to review my work on an iPhone, I’m not sure I’d really want to work for him/her. And I don’t know of any Creative Directors walking around their agency with iPads reviewing work…yet.

  2. admin says:

    That’s a great strategy with the laptop and thank you for sharing it, Jeremy.

    I agree about the iPhone. I would hope that a CD would be doing just a quick preliminary look to return to later with a larger screen.

    Regarding the iPad, I just talked to one of my clients who said that she read somewhere online that work should be presented on an iPad. I think it does make it look pretty cool, but the most important thing is the actual work.

    Also, in case there’s no internet connection, which is practically unheard of these days, it wouldn’t hurt to have a PDF ready with your work to scroll through if necessary.

  3. […] written some great articles about how to create an online portfolio, additional tips, and 8 tips on perfecting your portfolio. However, what I struggle with is how to handle the actual moment of presentation: What do I […]

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