Digital Portfolio Best Practices: How to Make a Portfolio that Pops

By Robert Half July 25, 2017 at 8:45am

Whether you're a designer, copywriter, marketing professional or other accomplished creative, you absolutely need a strong digital portfolio to prove your street cred — and showcase your skills.

Lucky for you, portfolio examples are easy to come by at TCG. Not only do we offer a free portfolio tool, we also regularly showcase our exceptional talent, just like you.

Now that it's clear you must create and maintain a digital portfolio, let's focus on what to include and how to make a portfolio that stands out when you're searching for a job.

Best practice time: How to make a digital portfolio that pops

1. Select your strongest samples

A survey by TCG says eight is the lucky number, but anywhere from seven to 10 samples should adequately demonstrate your skills. The digital samples you choose should also:

  • Represent your core strengths, industry experience, and technical ability and range.
  • Be no more than five years old; keep it new and fresh unless you were the mastermind of a high-profile campaign.
  • Start and finish with a bang; lead with your strongest work and end with the runner-up.
  • Be customizable; always ensure your portfolio content will appeal — and be relevant — to different employers.

2. Create clear categories

Three common formats are:

  • Industry-specific – For example, if you're applying for a project or position at a hospital, lead with your healthcare samples.
  • Media specialty – If the client is looking for someone trained in a particular medium, it makes sense to categorize your work by type, like illustrations, branding work, email campaigns, etc.
  • Chronological – This works best for entry-level creatives. Start with your most recent work to show your professional progress.

3. Showcase your creative style

Companies and hiring managers want to get a sense of who you are, from your style and sensibility to your personality and passions. Make sure you:

  • Are being "you" while also highlighting your adaptability and creativity.
  • Match your digital portfolio design to your personal brand; be consistent in look and feel with all job-hunting materials, such as business cards and resumes.
  • Approach your own portfolio as if it were a client project; this means understanding your target audience and how you'd like them to experience your work.

4. Focus on user experience

You want prospective employers or clients to have an easy and enjoyable experience when reviewing your work. Put your portfolio to the test by checking image load times and making sure your portfolio functions properly and is easy to view on every version of every browser on every platform. Also, be sure that:

  • The navigation is intuitive.
  • It is mobile-responsive.
  • You feature high-quality photographs of any printed work.

5. Include detailed caption information

A well-written and compelling description of each sample can add key context about your contribution and creative process. Your caption information should include:

  • The client or agency for whom you did the work.
  • A few sentences outlining the main goal and challenges of the assignment.
  • Your role in the project.
  • Any positive results. Did it help lift sales, build greater brand awareness or boost online traffic? Did the piece win any awards or receive coverage in industry publications?

Now create your own digital portfolio

It's easy. If you're already a TCG candidate, log in to your dashboard, scroll down, and then click "Manage Portfolio." If you're not yet a TCG candidate, the first step to becoming one is to simply upload your resume.

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