Putting Together a Great Portfolio

Most marketing & creative professionals are expected to present a portfolio at certain times in their career, such as for interviews or presentations. A portfolio is a key marketing vehicle therefore; it should represent your talent well, while showing impeccable workmanship.

  • Put everything you have into the craftsmanship of your portfolio. Use only high-quality materials when selecting your portfolio, its carrying case or bag, and the paper and other materials you’ll use when creating the portfolio.
  • Choose the most recent 10-12 pieces of your work that showcase a range of mastered skills and techniques and include those. Don’t just place your favorite pieces in your portfolio; you need variety showing the types of assignments you wish to be working on. Even pieces that weren’t necessarily at the top of your list when you worked on them can be some of your stronger pieces.
  • Ask a mentor to help you in selecting your portfolio work. Ask them to describe what they see as the strengths and weaknesses of your different pieces as they help you in the selection process. Learning more about their critique can help you when discussing your work with others.
  • Use the highest quality pieces in your portfolio. Aim to include all originals or good prints that are in excellent condition. Never include any piece that is damaged, severely flawed, or printed on discolored, stained or torn paper.
  • Sequence your pieces in the portfolio in a manner that lends to a smooth flow when moving from piece to piece.
  • Start strong and end strong. Consider placing your very best two pieces at the very beginning and the very end of the portfolio. This will get you off to a strong, impressive start while ending on a high note, too.
  • Try to brand yourself with your portfolio. Whenever possible, allow your portfolio’s presentation to match other marketing pieces, such as your resume, business card and letterhead. It makes for a strong, thoughtful presentation.
  • Create a PDF version of your portfolio to include when you email your resume to prospective employers or freelance clients.
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