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Bootcamp Highlights: Design Portfolio

By Ella Halstead
August 27 2019

Posted in Bootcamp Highlights, Student Resources

Written by Justin Espinas

In the recent years, there have been a lot more designing roles popping up in the industry. Dave from Sparks Interactive came in on Wednesday to talk to us through design portfolios and how we can use it to land us a job.

As an employer, Dave said that he finds the cover letter and portfolio are more important than the CV itself. In your cover letter, he said you should try not to be too formal or too casual with it. Do your research and try to show some engagement to overcome this. For your design portfolio, it should represent you and show off all that you can do.

What to say in your portfolio:

– Name. Make it big and obvious

– Intro and bio. Call out your skills!

– Be confident about the future

– Be clear and direct about what you do and where you’re going

For the work that you show on your portfolio, Dave made it clear that is important that you are able to explain it. Work doesn’t speak for itself. This is especially important when talking about your projects in person.

In your portfolio:

– Focus on your best work

– Aim for 5-6 pieces to start small then grow

– At least 3 deep dives

Deep dives are case studies of the projects you’ve done. Your intro should talk about the why, the goals you had for the project. Talk about what you did to plan for it and what your process for improving and testing your project. Your outro should talk about the results and the final project. What happened and how’d it go? It’s a great plus if you can add in what someone said about the work you’ve done.

Adding group projects into you portfolio is a great way to show that you can collaborate with a team. In the work industry, collaboration is very important and you won’t go very far without it.

Before you send off your portfolio to industry employers, it is highly important to proof and check your work. Even better, get some fresh eyes on it. See if it makes sense to others and ask for feedback.

Some portfolio work ideas to add if you’re having trouble:

– Redesign a past student project

– Redesign an existing website

– Take on something small – and finish!

If you think your work isn’t good enough:

– Feedback = progress. Ask for help if you can

– Do more work! The more practice you get, the more you improve

– Get over it and get out there. If your confident about your work, and you are enthusiastic about it, it is good enough

Dave highlights the fact that as a designer, it is your job to ask questions. So be proactive, meet people, ask questions and network! If you do the hard yards, you’ll be sure to land that designer role!

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