[Get Hired in UX Guide] Step 4. Portfolio Is Required for 99% of Jobs.
One of the most important tools you have for finding a job as a UX or Product Designer 🖼️
A portfolio is a collection of your work that showcases your skills, experience, and design process. A strong portfolio can set you apart from other candidates and give potential employers a clear understanding of your abilities.
Tips for a strong portfolio
Include a variety of projects. Showcase a range of projects, including both personal and professional work. This will demonstrate your versatility and ability to work on different types of projects. Make sure to include the most relevant and recent projects, but also don’t be afraid to show some of your older work that you’re still proud of and that demonstrate specific skills or knowledge.
Highlight your design process. Include information about the real process you followed for a project, not the if-we-lived-in-an-ideal-world process. This will give potential employers a sense of how you approach design problems and make decisions. Include the business problem you were tasked to solve, what trade-offs you had to make and why, what worked well, and what didn't work well and why. Don't be afraid to say you made a mistake. There are no perfect projects. You have to show that you can analyze your decision objectively and think how you'll do it differently next time.
Keep it simple and easy to navigate. Make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate and understand. Avoid clutter and unnecessary information. Use clear headings and labels to guide potential employers through your portfolio.
Make it visually appealing. Use high-quality images and typography to make your portfolio visually appealing. This will help it stand out and make a lasting impression. Also, pay attention to the layout and consistency of your portfolio, it should look professional and polished.
Highlight your unique selling points and strengths. This could be a specific design approach, a particular design tool that you are proficient in, or a specific industry you have experience designing for. By highlighting your unique selling points, you can set yourself apart from other candidates and demonstrate to potential employers how you can contribute to their team in a specific way.
Personally, I prefer a web format, but many people like presentation with slides. Both have their own pros and cons and I don't want to go into all these details here (it's a lot). For simplicity, I recommend that you should choose one of the web portfolio platforms with a simple visual editor (e.g. webflow, wordpress, wix, semplice, etc.). It will save you a lot of time. Though using Figma and going with the presentation format is also a viable option.
Your portfolio is like a first date, you want to make a good impression and let your true colors shine. And just like a first date, it's not all about the fancy dinner or the designer dress, it's about showing your personality and what makes you unique. So take your time and put your best foot forward, and don't be afraid to ask for feedback from friends, family and experts.
And remember, the best portfolios are not always the ones with the fanciest designs, but the ones that clearly communicate the designer's abilities and make hiring managers say "I want to hire you, you are my type." With a little effort and attention to detail, you'll be sure to create a portfolio that stands out, lands you your dream job and makes the hiring manager excited.
Define the purpose of your portfolio. Clearly define the purpose of your portfolio and the message you want to convey to potential employers. This will help you decide what to include and how to structure it.
Research industry standards by looking at the portfolios of other designers in your field to understand what is expected and what are the current trends in terms of content and format.
Create a rough outline of how you want to structure your portfolio, including the sections you want to include and how you want to present your work. This will give you a roadmap to follow as you start creating or updating your portfolio.
How to write case studies (Semplice)
The case study factory (UX Collective)
10 Inspiring portfolios and why they work (Tobias Van Schneider)
PS you can find my list of curated resources about UX career, including tips on job search, resume, portfolio, interviewing tips, and a lot more topics in my UX Career Resources Library.
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