Top 10 tips for your product design portfolio


Ensure that your portfolio gets you noticed during your job search.

Your professional background and technical skills are presented on your CV, and are important for a potential new employer to be aware of. But the basis of your role is innovative output and it’s on that evidence that hiring decisions are based. Read our top 10 tips on optimising your product design portfolio for job search success.

1. Two portfolios for two purposes

The portfolio you use to apply for a role (your application portfolio) should differ from the version you show recruiters/hiring managers at interview (your full product design portfolio).

2. Perfect your application portfolio

Short, sharp and to the point, tailored for each job application and containing no more than 10 product design examples.

3. Perfect your full portfolio

Show your newest and most relevant work first, but have a representation of all of your designs available should the interviewer want to see more.

4. Illustrate the product journey

To best show off your design process include the mood board/colour palette, sketches and renderings, CADS and any other relevant information for each design.

5. Context is key

Annotate each example with details of the season, trend name, and company.

6. Aesthetics count

Pay attention to the design and layout of the overall portfolio as it gives a good indication of your creative abilities and organisational skills. Use different backgrounds and borders to give different sections context.

7. Ensure you’re relevant

If you want to be considered for niche packaging design role, make the most evident examples in your portfolio ones related your track record in that area.

8. Showcase your diversity

Even when you’re targeting a specific product area, show your full range of skills. Choose examples from different employers with different specifications so that you can prove your adaptability.

9. Size matters

If you’re emailing examples of your design work, ensure that the file sizes are as compressed to ensure they reach the recipient without any bounce backs or other access issues.

10. Invest online

There’s still a place for the traditional hard copy portfolio, but creating an online version could make all the difference to your job search. Check out online portfolio builders, e-Publication for example, or consider building your own site.
As impressive as your designs may be, don’t leave them to speak for themselves in an interview situation. Be sure to talk through in detail the process for each design, including the brief, process and the ultimate creative and commercial outcomes, with the intention of demonstrating the value your track record can add to the role you’re being considered for.
For more information on your product design job search or portfolio, please get in touch with your local Michael Page Retail team.