more creative portfolio tips

As a follow up from my last post on online portfolios, here are some more pointers for creating an up-to-date book that will get attention.


A few years ago, it was most common to show your work divided up by the type of media, so there would be a section for interactive, another for TV and another for print.

However, now it’s preferred that you show your work by campaign or client. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see the breadth of your work and how you think across all channels. Can you take an idea and carry it through in digital, social, print, TV, outdoor?

But, sometimes a recruiter will want to quickly find something specific, like your broadcast or interactive. I have seen portfolios where the viewer can decide how they want to look at the work and organize it by campaign or by media. (This feature might take some figuring out as to how to execute, but definitely worth the effort). Another idea might be to tag your work so that people can search with tags like “interactive” or “broadcast.”

Always have a downloadable resume and all of the ways to connect with you like email, phone number and/or social media.


Show only your best work. They tell you this in school and it will be true throughout your career. If you’re not excited about the work, don’t show it. If you think a prospective client or job might like to see an example of something specific, like a DM (direct mail) piece that you’ve done, then bring it to the interview in case they ask for an example.

Have at least 8 to 10 campaigns on your site (suggested by my “go to” seasoned recruiter in Boston, Carol Taylor). But don’t put average work in to reach that amount. If you don’t have it yet, strive for it.

It’s okay to show work that didn’t get produced if you really love it. Some of the best work doesn’t get produced. But, make sure you’re showing some things that get produced or your ability to sell your ideas will be questioned.


Make sure the colors are clear and the copy is readable. Especially if you’re a writer, the copy absolutely must be readable. A technique that many use is to click on the screen shot to enlarge it.

Save screen shots of all the work you’ve done in case the site changes down the road. I particularly like when someone has both options available — look at the screen shot on the portfolio site or go to the live link (if it hasn’t been altered).

Specifically for UX people: Another tip from Carol: show people how you think, outline the problem/challenge/your role in solving it, how it was solved, step by step, the final outcome/results and all related documentation and designs, including post it notes when applicable.

Showing personal or experimental work is great if it enhances our understanding of who you are and what you’re capable of.

If you have proprietary work, password protect your site or portions of it. You can give it to a recruiter for a week and then have it expire. This is often done with pharmaceutical work.

Practice presenting your portfolio. No matter what level you are, it’s always a good idea to do that before a meeting, especially if you’ve changed the format. You want to be familiar with your book and able to adapt your presentation to the situation you’re presented with.

The main thing with your portfolio is to keep it up to date and always work on improving it. That’s the beauty of the digital portfolio. Once you have a system that you can work yourself, you can update it as often as you’d like.

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One Response to more creative portfolio tips

  1. […] her blog, she’s written some great articles about how to create an online portfolio, additional tips, and 8 tips on perfecting your portfolio. However, what I struggle with is how to handle the actual […]

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