Many of us are facing the never-ending process of job hunting in a very tough hiring market. When I was searching for jobs before moving to Kansas City, the one obstacle I kept stumbling upon was needing a portfolio. No, I’m not a graphic designer major. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business and a B.S. Marketing. During my college years, I didn’t embrace portfolio making or even take it very seriously when the task arose. It was simply another homework assignment between me and graduation. Big mistake! If you are a recent graduate or in the market for seeking a new position, this post may save your life. Please remember there are a million ways to go about any project. This is what worked for me. It isn’t guaranteed for landing your dream job. Getting hired for the perfect job is a mixture of preparation, luck, skill, and timing. Keep hustling and fine-tuning your skill set so you are the best hire for your desired position.
What is a Portfolio?
Portfolios are personal websites, ISSUU digital books, strategically designed PDFfs, or just plain old sampling to showcase a collection of your best work.
Steps to Create a Portfolio?
- Read the skills required and the duties listed on the job posting.Most job applications will spell out exactly what the company wants from the applicants and how they prefer to view the portfolio. Tailor your portfolio samples to align with the needs of the job description. Each one will be different. You got it! That means you will need to customize each application and tweak it to match the job description. Yes, this is a lot of work. Do you want to stand out or blend into the sea of applications H.R. receives daily?
- Compile a list or digital file of your BEST work.Brainstorm your work accomplishments or school achievements. Don’t worry if these items aren’t stunning photos or artsy enough in your opinion to be in a portfolio. Many jobs prefer to see the numbers (analytics) or words (copywriting) rather than artsy graphics (exception to this rule: a content marketer or a graphic designer). Just keep in mind that the overall layout needs to be aesthetically pleasing. Otherwise, it will look like you slapped a whole bunch of pieces together with no rhyme or reason.(For my current job, I was asked to create a writing portfolio. I had to use my words to paint a picture that best showcased my work and told a story of who I am and what I could offer the company.)Carefully select your most awe-worthy pieces of work. If you are in college and feel stuck, think about anything you have accomplished in your extra-curricular activities, internships, volunteer work, or leadership positions. This could even be a final project that you submitted for a class and that showcases an outstanding skill. (Pieces of my writing portfolio came from a previous internship and a marketing plan that I put together in college.)Aim to showcase 5 pieces of work of which you are really proud. Remember, quality over quantity. Most employers will not scan through 20 different projects you have compiled in your portfolio. Be picky! A portfolio should be a showcase of your work, your skills, and ultimately your potential.( I have mine set up as an overview of all of my skills. Then I go in depth about my top projects/achievements.)
- Portfolio website, online PDF file, or ISSU portfolio?Depending on the job application, this step may change. However, it is best to create a portfolio website and a printable portfolio. From experience, websites can turn employers off quickly unless all of your projects are on the homepage (first page they see when entering). Otherwise, they are having to scroll through different pages to find specifically what they are truly looking for. If you need to create a website, I recommend using Wix and purchasing your domain name. There is nothing worse than having to read a long URL title that you don’t even know. Include your URL in your resume and add it to your email signature. Don’t sleep on creating a PDF. These are wonderful options because not only can you print it off and bring into the interview with you, but you can also attach it to an email. It’s simple and to the point. There are no guessing games with it, and most people will take a look at it instead of having to type in a full URL. A simple Google search of your name will most likely not bring up your portfolio website. Once you create a PDF file of your work, you can upload this into sites like ISSUU. I created my PDF portfolio on Canva (they have templates for you to use) to make It more on brand for yourself.
- Have at least 3 people read it over.Send this portfolio to your parents, your brother, your cousin … anyone and everyone. I repeat. It is easy to miss errors that others will notice. Sending a portfolio with a misspelled word to 10 companies can cause anxiety attacks and great stress. Avoid this at all costs by having multiple proofreaders. Read this again. Multiple proofreaders!
- Send it to one person before sending it to the employer.Taking the time to send your portfolio to someone through email is KEY. Even though it may look stunning on your computer, that doesn’t mean it will look the same on someone else’s. I have had words falling off the pages before, literally. Don’t submit to a company unless you know for sure how they will see it when it appears on their screen. Professionalism is your biggest asset.
There you have it Loves … how to create a killer portfolio. If you have any tips or tricks for portfolio making, please drop them in the comments for others to see. Reach out to me if I can be of any service during your job hunt. I know first-hand how stressful and difficult it can be. I hope you use the time at home to sharpen your resume and showcase your strength on a portfolio. Good things happen to those who hustle.
Until next time, Spread Kindness.