The importance of an online design portfolio

Particularly if you’re applying for digital design jobs, you’ll be expected to show off your skills in an online/electronic portfolio. This isn’t to say that a hard-copy portfolio is completely redundant, but many employers will expect you to have examples of your work in a digital format. Not only is it a good way to display your past projects, it can also help to speed up the application process by ensuring your work is put in front of employers quickly and easily.
If you’re lacking an electronic portfolio, it could put you at a disadvantage behind your competitors.

Here are a few top tips for compiling a tip top online portfolio:

  • Tailor your portfolio to the design job in question. This is the beauty of an online portfolio – it’s very easy to tweak. Don’t assume that one size fits all.
  • Keep it relevant. If you’re applying for a Flash design role, show strong, recent evidence of your Flash work.
  • Investigate the online portfolio software that’s out there – such as Behance ProSite, Carbonmade and Portfoliobox. They’re easy to use and are free for the most basic package.
  • They can give you a simple, clean, professional looking online portfolio in no time.
  • If web design is your main focus, perhaps consider building your own bespoke website.
  • Provide context. Make sure you add a short explanation about each design. Online space permitting, you should include:
 1. The name of the contact and company for whom the work was done
 2. Your specific role in the project
 3. The skills and software used to complete the project
  • Typically, 10 examples are considered ample for a portfolio. Try not to make it overly long or short.
  • You could consider pulling together a shorter, more concise application portfolio by building a bespoke page online, or putting together a file to email across. This should be absolutely relevant to the job and straight to the point. Remember to include a link to your full portfolio online, so that those interested can view your whole body of work.
  • Think from an employer’s perspective. Your favourite (more ‘arty’) designs might not be best suited for selling your skills to a prospective employer. Think about the job in question and the purpose of the role, will your designs have a sales focus for example? Demonstrating a commercial slant to your work may well be preferable.
  • Always keep your online portfolio up-to-date and consider personalising it with a short introduction about yourself.
Include links to your online portfolio in relevant places, such as on your CV and LinkedIn profile.
If you’re interested in progressing your design career, browse all of the digital design jobs we’re handling now.
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