Building your design portfolio? Here are 8 things I wish I’d known
Two years ago, I was finishing my last semester of college, and preparing for the seminal moment in a design student’s life: portfolio reviews, and finding a job. And even though I was finishing a degree in graphic design, I was looking for a full-time job as a UX/UI Designer.
My hard work paid off. I landed a job at Bloc, and it’s been a magical time.
But, it was a painful process. I got a lot of rejection emails, and made a lot of mistakes. Now that I’m building a company that creates new UX Designers on a daily basis, I can look back at my old portfolio and pass on those lessons learned. Here are 8 things that I got right and wrong.
1. Present your work as a case study.
Fill your portfolio with as many case studies as possible.
When I applied to jobs in college, I filled my portfolio with big, beautiful visuals. I applied to UX/UI jobs left and right, with no luck. “Why? What am I doing wrong?”
I asked a friend for help — and she passed along a few portfolios of friends that’d gotten hired at top tier companies and…
They all had case studies. Rich, wonderful case studies that talked about their design process, their successes and failures, and their ultimate design solutions.
I thought, Why couldn’t I have case studies?
So I added case studies. And, success. My employer response rate jumped.
Big beautiful images look great, but they don’t tell a hiring manager if you can solve a problem. Can you design a solution that makes your users, clients, and stakeholders happy? Can you talk about your process — what solutions you tried, what worked, what didn’t, and why? Can you show heaps of work including prototypes, wireframes, scrapped visuals that shows your rigorous problem solving skills?
Show that you can solve problems, and you’ll show that you’re worth hiring.
2. Carefully curate your portfolio