It’s a new year and you’re feeling like a change of scenery. You want to work on some new design projects that excite you again, maybe work with a whole new team! You’ve decided – in 2015, I’m getting a new digital design job.
You’ve got the design skills and X amount of years experience working for a top digital agency. You love your typography as much as flat UI, and dream about how you’re going to integrate parallax scrolling into your websites. That’s great, and this will shine through in your interviews, but the most important thing to get you through the door is your portfolio.
I’m writing this as feedback from design managers is more and more focused on people’s portfolios, not their CVs.
There’s a lot to think about when putting together a digital design portfolio. To keep it brief, and from a recruiter’s point of view, here’s some things that are worth thinking about;
- Is my portfolio tailored for the jobs I’m applying for? If you’re applying for a design job focused on responsive website design, you want to make sure your work is relevant and focused on responsive. Past examples of print design won’t help. Alternatively if you’re going for an integrated design role, you want as much variety as possible across all the different channels. Consider what the hiring manager will be looking for, put yourself in their shoes and be objective about what you display. Sometimes, less is more. Is that illustration you sketched out 6 years ago still relevant for the UI design role with Amazon you just applied for?
- Where do I display my portfolio? Behance is a popular place, easy to use and accessible – very easy for a hiring manager to click a link and have access to all your work and view it all in a short space of time. You might be applying for a design role that involves front end coding, so maybe consider a personalised website coded by yourself (that way you’re already showing off both skillsets, design and development). If you go down the route of developing your own website, make sure it performs well and doesn’t crash or have major bugs. That won’t impress anyone! Another big no-no is a long list of separate web links – when you first apply for jobs bear in mind hiring managers might not have the time or patience to click through and evaluate each site you’ve worked on before, especially if they have 25+ other applicants in their inbox!
- I’ve signed NDAs on some of my projects? In this instance it’s still important to explain what you’ve been up to. A brief description of the project, the design style you’ve used and other insights can help managers build a mental picture of your recent projects – mention this in a cover letter or in your CV.
- What’s the most important thing I do? The days of focusing on CVs and the big names that have hired you before are over. Now it’s about showing off your designs, and there’s a lot of competition out there. The most important thing is to make sure you have a portfolio – this is the most important way of ‘selling’ yourself to a prospective employer. I’ve seen relatively inexperienced designers invited to interviews over people with 5+ years of experience.. Because they presented their portfolios with style and tailored them for that vacancy.
This link mentions a few other important things to consider: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/creating-professional-portfolio-site/
Once you’re happy with your portfolio you might want a little help looking for your next project. At Hanover we specialise in digital design roles, both permanent and contract and work with designers daily, so while other recruiters might not appreciate your skills we genuinely understand your capabilities and are happy to talk through opportunities and options available to you. Find out more about how Hanover can help you – hanrec.com
About the Author
At Hanover we do things a bit differently. We’re not your average recruiters. We’re honest, friendly and consult with you to fully understand your requirements before offering you positive solutions. We use our diverse industry knowledge to successfully match the right candidate with the right job role, so everyone’s happy! We’ve been involved in all things web, digital and tech since we started out in 2006 and we are now an award winning agency with fantastic clients to whom we can deliver highly skilled innovators, creatives and commercial and technical professionals.
Find out more about how Hanover can help you – hanrec.com