Here Are 9 Crucial Elements That Every Creative Portfolio Has to Have
The average job opening gets around 250 resumes. Is yours going to stand out?
While it’s true the market for creative jobs is growing steadily, this means there’s more competition than ever. You need to be able to stand out and get the best positions.
Have you looked at your creative portfolio recently? Your portfolio has to be strong and immediately grab your prospective employer’s attention.
Not sure what to put in a portfolio? Already have one but feel it needs a refresh?
We’re going to break down the crucial elements that every creative portfolio has to have. Follow along and get closer to snagging your dream job!
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Start With the Basics
It should go without saying, but you need to have certain basic information front and center. After all, there is a reason they’re called the basics.
Here’s what every portfolio absolutely must have:
- Your name
- Your title (or prospective title)
- Contact information, like email and phone number
- Your website (if you have one)
- Relevant social media (if you host your art on any social media sites)
Remember that this is your professional portfolio. Your email, website, etc. shouldn’t have an irrelevant, unprofessional name.
Tell Your Story
Including a short description of yourself is helpful. It gives your prospective employer an idea of who you are and where you come from.
We don’t just mean what school you went to or where you grew up. Those are alright topics to address but aren’t necessarily that interesting.
Talk about how you were drawn to whatever field you’re interested in — fashion, photography, art, etc. Make it short, sweet, but interesting.
Be Picky with Your Presentation
There’s no mincing words: you’ll have to be ruthless when it comes to selecting what goes into your portfolio.
We know it can be hard. As you’re making a portfolio, try to remove emotion and look at your stuff with a critical eye.
You can have a trusted friend or teacher take a look at your work to help you out. They can bring an outside perspective if you’re too invested in your art to be picky.
Quality Over Quantity
Got your best stuff all lined up and ready to go? Not so fast.
You’re going to have to make even more cuts.
While you might have a huge body of work to draw from, you don’t want to clutter your portfolio. You don’t have to include every piece involved with a project.
A good number to hover around is about 10 pieces. You can go a little lower, but don’t go over.
Showcase Work that Worked
Had a bunch of ideas that never really came together? Got hired by clients that then ghosted so your plans were never realized?
No doubt you created excellent work in those situations. You can still include them in your portfolio if they were really good — with an exception.
Try to showcase the work that saw the light of day. Those pieces went through rigorous client demands and production process to come to life in the real world.
As long as it’s really good, you can keep some concept art in there –just keep it to a minimum.
Be a Team Player
Not all work comes from a single source. Many times, you’re part of a team effort.
Don’t put those works in your portfolio and claim they’re all yours. That doesn’t mean you have to leave them out.
Here’s a chance to show how well you work with others. Include your team projects but make sure you’re clear about what role you played and what you brought to the table.
Featured Campaigns: Your Time to Shine
The centerpiece of your portfolio is your featured campaigns. These are the real stars that will help you shine.
Your featured campaigns should be things that you worked on by yourself. These are your strongest, most comprehensive pieces.
Featured campaigns are multimedia works executed in various formats. Use them to demonstrate your range and your thought process from concept to execution.
Here are some ideas of genres to include:
- Social media campaign
If you created something unique that isn’t on this list, like organizing a yarn bombing flash mob or a temporary sculpture, by all means add it in. Don’t put in too many — about two to three will suffice.
Do you have a side gig that you did just for the fun of it? Something that sparks your soul but that you never made a penny off of it?
If it’s good enough and shows off your talents, put it in your portfolio. Since you’ll be fired up to talk about your passion projects, use it to start a conversation.
Don’t go overboard, though. Add in only one or two of these in your portfolio.
Branding yourself is more important than ever. Your portfolio should simply demonstrate who you are, what you’re capable of, and how to reach you.
Here’s a recap of everything that you’ll need:
- Basic info: name, contact info, relevant third party sites
- A description of who you are and what you do
- Featured campaigns: two to three
- Various projects: around 10
- Passion projects: one or two
On top of a physical portfolio, it’s a great idea to make a basic online portfolio too. A website under your name or logo is easy to set up.
The same rules apply for an online portfolio as a real world one. Don’t include every piece of art; focus on the quality.
If you have business cards, don’t forget to add your website to them too.
Craft Your Creative Portfolio
By following these steps, your creative portfolio is sure to attract the right kind of attention. You’re on the road to finding the fulfilling work you’re looking for!
Still want another helping hand? A personal brand strategist here for you!
We offer a wide range of services to help fine tune any portfolio to perfection. Reach out to us today to get started!