Putting Together a Creative Portfolio

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Do you have many folders called “untitled” on your desktop and endless working files called final.doc, finalfinal.doc and reallyreallyfinal.doc? Well, why not take all your sleepless nights’ worth of work and turn them into a creative portfolio?

Your first reaction to this might be: Why though? The answer is simple; according to the Ministry of Education an average of 290,000 graduates are produced every year, nationwide. A portfolio would be the best way to set you apart from other graduates.

Here are a few tips to producing your own portfolio that could be the key to your dream job:

1. Choose your platform: digital or physical?

Do you want to be able to carry a hard copy of your portfolio around or do you want it to be accessible by anyone, anytime? You should explore your needs, nature of industry and potential employers to decide which direction to go with. You might even want to go with both! Use Adobe Illustrator or InDesign to design your printed portfolios. Two popular (and free) websites for digital portfolios are Behance and Wix.com.

2. Decide on a concept

A concept is like the big idea in an advertisement – the key message you want your audience to see when they flip through your portfolio. What does the concept say about you and your personality? Think of it as your own personal brand, a style, look and feel that expresses to the audience about who you really are. Think visually. Is your concept tropical? Use earthy tones. Futuristic? Use geometric shapes and neon colours. Retro? Go for lines and 8-bit style design.

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3. Curate your work

Time to dig through years of your past work! Include college assignments, past client projects or even passion projects! Note that not all your work might make the cut. If you’re not particularly proud of a certain work, leave it out! Better yet, redo or revamp the idea into something new. Flaunt only the best work you have done, or can do.

4. Tell a story

Make your work tell a story about yourself and the way your mind works. Don’t just dump all your work into the portfolio. Show the process behind it. Write a few lines or show sketches that display the thought process and rationale behind every project. Make it less robotic, more human.

5. Spell-check!

Super important! Employers will not look twice if there are too many grammatical and spelling errors. Get your work checked by a second pair of eyes if you don’t trust yourself.

6.Update, update, update.

One of the most common mistakes made by graduates is recycling the same portfolio every time. Constantly update your portfolios if you have gone for an internship, or have done some new projects in between. Employers love self-directed briefs too! Show them that you took initiative by giving yourself your own project or assignment to showcase your skills.

Your portfolio will only be as good as the effort you put into it. Try to separate yourself from other graduates by adding more personality and flair into your collection. Try to think about your strengths and why employers would be interested in you.

Don’t be scared to showcase mistakes you have made, just be sure to show how you solved them afterwards. Critical thinking and problem solving are two very crucial skills that employers are looking for.

Finally, remember to be human and be yourself.

Good luck!

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