We have talked about how important a portfolio is at interview, but for Designers, Writers and Artworkers it is the first thing a client will ask to see prior to a CV and in nearly all cases clients won't even consider offering an interview or freelance booking without firstly viewing an online portfolio either a PDF or website.
Our advice comes from our own experience reviewing portfolios every day and the feedback we get from our clients.
This online portfolio needs to be brief and captivating and should be supported by a portfolio for interview.
The format of your portfolio will depend upon the nature of your work ie digital or print. If your work is digital your portfolio is best in the digital format but if your work is traditional print it is best to have a traditional printed portfolio.
Whatever format you opt for, presentation is key. Whether digital or traditional it needs to be smoothly presented, shuffling thorough piles of print samples or desperately trying to find digital files on a laptop or tablet does not impress.
What to include?
When we view creative portfolios we often hear "well the client changed…." And its true there are very few portfolio samples that haven’t been tweaked to please. What we find interesting is to see the finished article but alongside this a summary of the original brief, the initial concepts and even the previous branding / brochure / website. This shows us how you tackle a project and your pure unadulterated creative talent and the improvements that you have been able to make.
For artworkers and developers it's all about the functionality, you need to demonstrate the quality of the finished article.
How much should you include? One of the best Creative Directors we work with will only view 5 items, however some want to see more, organise your portfolio in stages, stage one that you will definitely present, stage 2 additional samples that you would like to present.
Presenting your portfolio...listen to your interviewer. If your interviewer asks to see your favourite 2 projects DO NOT continue to show your whole portfolio, all you will do is alienate your interviewer. Start with your stage 1 samples and continue with stage 2 if you think your interviewer is still keen to see more. If you're not sure, ask, it's much better than blindly ploughing on.
Tailor your portfolio if you can depending on who you are seeing, from your research assess the sort of work you interviewer and the company do and tailor your portfolio to suit.