Through my own experiences applying for design roles, I've learned just how crucial a good well-optimized portfolio can be. It’s a crucial tool that showcases your ensuring that your qualifications don't go unnoticed. accomplishments and skills, In this article, I'll explain why having a well-done portfolio is so important when you're looking for a job and give you on creating one. 8 tips 1. Separate case studies managers tend to scan portfolios rather than read them in detail. Therefore, having a clear and straightforward structure is crucial, especially when presenting various customer experiences, different digital products, and multiple features. Hiring company → target audience or customer persona → product or service → module or feature → project stage. Typically, a designer's portfolio follows this structure: Instead of relying solely on slide titles, use separator slides with bold headings to guide your readers. You can also include some brief context on these separator slides, like a company's industry or a product overview. On a website, a simpler, linear structure often works better than a nested one. Provide essential company and product information in the introductory sections. If you have with similar intros due to working on the same product for the same company, consider combining some or showcasing only the most impressive ones. more than 4 related case studies 2. Add navigation at the end of long case studies In-depth case studies, which are typically expected for more senior roles, often span several slides. While they showcase your ability to tackle complex challenges effectively, they can also be a bit overwhelming for the reader. To make sure the hiring team can easily follow along, it's helpful to provide at the bottom of each slide that indicate the project's stages. This not only keeps them on track but also serves as a visual representation of your design process, eliminating the need for generic diagrams from the internet. “breadcrumbs” 3. Include more information in the case study cards When presenting your portfolio online, whether through a website or like Notion, your projects are often shown as images and title cards. While this format is common, it's a chance to provide users with helpful hints before they click on a project. tools Here's what you can include without making it too long: A short product or project description. Details about the company or organization. The platform you worked on (e.g., website, mobile app). The design challenge you tackled. Key outcomes or achievements. Your role in the project. These quick insights offer users valuable context before they explore your work. 4. Insert highlights before case studies Your case studies page is a great opportunity to emphasize your unique skills and value. These allow hiring managers to see what lies beneath your showcased projects. And you can offer valuable insights to those who see the portfolio before reviewing your resume. quick highlights Here are some ideas for what to include: Diverse industry experience (e.g., ridesharing, e-learning, banking). or strengths (like data visualization, customer research, or advanced prototyping). Special skills Years of relevant experience (e.g., leadership roles, UX consulting). Noteworthy achievements, such as creating mobile apps from scratch or launching successful startups. 5. P rovide descriptions for complicated cases Most design projects, no matter how well you follow best practices, tend to be too complicated to present. So, it’s important to like workshop canvases, sets of mockups, or complex diagrams. provide captions for images Without captions, important details in these images might go unnoticed. Even if you include links to the original documents, it's unlikely that hiring managers will look into them. Include information that isn't immediately evident from just looking at the image. Workshop canvas priorities → the top 5 topics chosen by the team. User interview reports → 4 critical user issues. → 3 customer pain points and 3 solutions to them. Customer journey maps Usability testing reports → 5 usability problems that need fixing. Prototype screenshots → 3 key user interactions. 6. Find the right mix of text and visuals Whether you choose a slideshow or a website format to show your portfolio, it's essential that the content strikes a balance between being informative and engaging for potential employers. Achieving this balance involves finding the right mix of: Text: explanations and captions that provide context and insights. Visuals: sketches, images, mockups, and diagrams that illustrate your work. While visually appealing portfolios are attractive, they may not fully demonstrate your problem-solving abilities. Conversely, text-heavy case studies offer a detailed narrative but may lack visual appeal and could become dull. Therefore, aiming for can create a well-rounded and effective portfolio. a text-visual ratio ranging from 50/50 to 25/75 percent 7. Demonstrate the tasks you want to do Everyone's journey in design is different. Along the way, you can face periods where the majority of your work doesn't align with the direction you want to pursue in your next job. Which would lead to challenges with portfolios. That’s why it's crucial to , particularly for the role you're applying for. be selective and purposeful when making a portfolio For example: Transitioning from brand identity to software design? Show web projects that align best with this direction and leave only 1-2 logo slides toward the end of your portfolio. Starting with UX consulting? Add more complex interfaces, interaction diagrams, and , rather than just landing pages. design workshops 8. Don’t leave out non-perfect projects Perfectionists, consider this: sometimes, the less glamorous aspects can enhance your case study's appeal. Instead of omitting the unattractive old version of a digital product you've revamped, embrace the comparison for a more compelling narrative. "before/after" Here's a simplified story progression: Start with a striking image of the new design and a brief summary to grab attention. Share a step-by-step project story, including the old solution and identified UX issues. Conclude by showcasing the new solution's effectiveness and its proven impact. All in all A strong portfolio is crucial, often speaking louder than certificates, diplomas, or resumes. Unlike many other professions, it’s a valuable asset for designers. However, building an effective portfolio isn't easy; it requires effort and benefits from an iterative approach. The suggestions I've mentioned are simply my recommendations. Ultimately, how you apply them is only up to you. If you optimize your digital persona too much, you can be hired for a role that doesn't align with your true passions and skills. Remain authentic.