As a designer, your portfolio is the first point of contact with potential employers. There are dozens of resources on the internet that can educate you on how to build a portfolio that sells.
While building a portfolio, I believe it is essential to be UNIQUE.
An acronym that means:
U – Understandable – Your portfolio must be simple enough to be understood by a layman. Your profile will possibly be reviewed by a product/project manager or HR manager who is not so big on design terminologies. Avoid using ambiguous design terms as he or she may find it difficult to understand.
N – Neat– Make sure your Design is not clumsy. There’s something about clean designs. You can use websites such as “coolors.co” or “colorsandfonts.com” to select the best color combinations and also explore great font options.
I – Innovative– If you find a template online for your Design or something, ensure it is tweaked up to the point that it isn’t easily recognized as a template. You’d never know if the next candidate in line would be using the same model.
Q – Quality– This is generally about the content of your work. You must show a full case study of your work and not just a fancy front-end design. You must explain the ideation process on how specific parts of the projects were developed and why certain features are the way they are.
U – UX– The User Experience is King. A lot of employers place a lot of emphasis on this as it is the core of any application. Products are built to be used by customers/users. If you have to make them ‘think’ so much about how to use the App, then you might as well not build at all. For example, you must project your research methodologies in gathering data used in developing the application.
E – Experience– It is also necessary to have some good experience. Typical entry-level design Jobs require at-least one (1) year full-time experience. If you plan to develop a full-time career in Design, you’d need to build as much experience as possible.
Other Vital Things to Include
You should make sure you include at least two (2) links to functional websites or applications you have developed; this will go a long way in projecting you as a team player. You will not work in isolation as a designer. You’d have to work with developers using collaborative tools such as Zeplin, Avocode. These we will talk about later. You will need to show that you have worked on a fully functional website as you are looking to land a role in an organization that deals with real clients.
A lot of companies, especially multinationals, prioritize education, skill sets, and qualifications while determining the remuneration of staff. It would be of great benefit to include your highest and most recent qualifications and skills on your profile.
Events: Networking is a great way to learn new things fast. Feel free to include specific details of events you have attended and highlight your key learnings from such activities.
If you are a speaker at any of such events, make sure you project this clearly as you might face situations where you will have to make prototype presentations to your employer’s clients.
Blogs: It will be worth it to include some blog posts written by you around your specialization. Employers want someone who can educate other members on his/her team to foster continuity.
Resume: Do include your CV showing full details of where you have worked and the roles you have taken up before your current job.
Testimonial: If you are a freelancer, this is very important. Potential clients will feel more confident to handover projects to you, seeing that you have worked with other people.
Do not just post testimonials; make them easily verifiable. An example is having people who give testimonies tweet about it. Then you can then link this to your website.
Measurable Achievements: If your Design does not increase company revenue, save customer’s time and money, you should consider getting another job. Business executives who will make employment/contractual decisions need this.
For example, if you design an e-commerce platform that is not mobile-friendly, the company is likely to lose money. A better approach to a project like this is to revamp the e-commerce website, making it more mobile-friendly, monitoring the sales, and visitor’s retention rate with analytics.
You can include the website modification date and record these changes in your portfolio. The bottom line is, you have to be a designer with the company’s sole aim in mind.
Contact: Lastly, make your contact details easily recognizable, as this enables potential employers and clients to easily reach you, especially if you are in search of a job. You can also post links to your social media platforms and ensure they portray a ‘responsible image’ on your social media accounts.