As a creative person your portfolio is your moneymaker, so hopefully you’re giving it the attention it requires. Here are a few helpful hints that I’ve picked up along the way about advertising and design portfolios.
1. Only show things that you love and lead with your best work. They teach you this in school, but many people still throw in stuff that they describe as, “I don’t really like this piece, but…..” If you don’t really like it, don’t show it.
2. Make sure we can read your work, especially if you’re a copywriter.
3. Practice presenting your work. Have a full version for when you have the time to go through it thoroughly and an abbreviated version for when someone tells you that you have five minutes to impress them.
4. As you present your work, be aware of the person you’re presenting to. If they look bored, ask them if they would like you to go faster or if they look confused, slow down.
5. Be prepared for these questions:
What is your favorite campaign and why?
What was your most challenging campaign and how did you solve the problem?
What’s your dream project?
Who do you admire?
(they might not ask all of these, but they’re still good things to think about).
6. When a copywriter presents their book to me, I like when they read the tagline or at least part of the content out loud. It shows a little extra effort and I appreciate that.
7. If you’ve signed a confidentiality agreement for a client that you’ve produced work for, then don’t put the work in your online portfolio. People really do get into trouble for that.
8. Be clear and specific about your part in the work you’re showing. You can write a blurb describing your role or end the campaign with a list of the team and what their roles were. Again, it’s taking an extra step that I appreciate so that I don’t have to dig for the information.
9. Have a version of your resume that people can see on a page, as well as one that’s downloadable.
10. If you can, find a way to have a portfolio that you can update yourself. Then always update, revise and keep it fresh.