“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”…Portfolios


We’ve seen ‘em all – portfolios that is.  Your portfolio is a critical aspect to getting hired for a job in the creative industry.  In our 15 years of staffing creative professionals, we have seen some great, good, bad and ugly ones…portfolios that is.   So, we’re sharing some insider tips to help you build a better portfolio.

  • Put Your Best Foot Forward – Organize your most recent and relevant work up front and be sure your portfolio is easy to navigate through.  Keep in mind that your portfolio should tell the viewer a story.  So be sure each piece is well-thought out and not just random pieces.
  • Quality vs. Quantity – A portfolio with 30 pieces is just too much – keep it down to 8-12 strong pieces.  Never ever, ever use poor quality color copies or printouts.  Use the finished piece and if you can’t, get the file professionally printed.  Better yet, set up your own photo shoot and take some beautiful pictures of the final piece.  Finally, spell-check everything!  We can’t stress enough how many times our clients have said no to a perfect candidate simply due to a spelling error or typo in their portfolio or resume.
  • Fine Tune – Tailor your portfolio for each job interview. Present your strengths as they relate to the company’s needs.  If you are interviewing for a conservative financial institution, chances are they will not be wowed by that racy ad campaign you did for the cutting-edge apparel company last summer.
  • Cut out the Clutter – Another no-no is trying to sell capabilities that are not required for the role – it just clutters the presentation and the interview.  If you are interviewing for a writing job, don’t harp on your capabilities in flash animation. Focus, Focus, Focus!
  • Know Your Stuff – Be prepared to discuss each piece and use industry terminology.  Hiring managers will be looking for how you created a piece not just what you created.  Keep in mind that your portfolio will be viewed by creative professionals as well as those in other industries.  While you should know the correct technical terms, make sure you can clearly present your work to those with no professional creative experience.
  • Leave an Impact – Develop a designed piece of your own that you can leave behind representing your overall style and work. Never leave your portfolio for anyone.  If someone wants to show a colleague your work, offer to schedule another time to come back or send them a link to your online portfolio.

Remember, first impressions can make or break next steps in the hiring process.  Your portfolio speaks volumes about who you are and what kind of employee you might be.   Follow these steps and you’re well on your way to having a great portfolio.

If you want a CM Access recruiter to review your portfolio, just give us a call and we would be more than happy to – it’s our job!

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