Building a portfolio is a daunting task. It’s extra work that no one wants to spend nights and weekends on — but getting it done is the number one thing standing between you and an interview for your dream job, or maybe a trip to a really great conference (see the shameless plug at the end of this post).
Here are 5 tips to help get your portfolio noticed:
1. Own your brand
An introduction or “about me” section is your chance to make a personal elevator pitch for your unique talents and interests. How did you get here? What are your personal strengths? What do you do outside of work, or in your past, that you bring with you? Be concise, but make it personal! Hiring managers and potential peers want to get a sense of who you are, and why we want to work with you.
2. Everything sings
Go for quality over quantity, and only show work that you are truly proud of. Choose a mix of projects that shows the range of your experience. Include school, volunteer or personal passion projects. Choose your screens or other images carefully, ensuring the level of polish represents your best work, and pay attention to every word you write. And be sure to get some other eyes on your portfolio before sending it out; like any design project, critique from others will help you make it better.
3. Show your work
UX isn’t just about pretty screens, it’s about problem solving. Share your process. What problem were you trying to solve? What constraints did you have? What did you learn along the way? It’s ok to show ideas left on the cutting room floor. Don’t be overly verbose but show evidence of a robust and thoughtful workflow.
4. Be a team player
In the real world, UX practitioners rarely work in a vacuum, and playing well with others really matters. State your role on each project, and the type of team that you worked with. We want to see how you work with designers, researchers, developers, product managers, and anyone else you’re collaborating with.
5. Show impact
Were you able to validate your designs with end-users? Did you deliver research that changed the strategy for a project or product? What impact did your work have on the organization or business? Relevant metrics always make a strong impression, so be sure to include those if you have them.