How To Successfully Present Your Portfolio
You've landed a job interview, and you've got a strong portfolio behind you... but how can you make sure the interviewer sees the full quality of your work in that short time? Here are our tips on how to present your portfolio in it's best light and ensure the interviewer is fully engaged.
1. Dead space is your friend
Remember, dead space focuses the eye. Instead of having various work samples scattered across the table, place each piece neatly in the centre of the table (using the table as a frame) and removing it before presenting the next piece. Creating this frame will focus the eye of the interviewer on each individual work sample, if you have too much work on display at once the viewer is constantly flicking between page to page without fully taking anything in. This also applies to digital portfolios - dead space framing works, so consider the size of your screen to incorporate enough space for a margin.
2. Simplicity is key
Again, you want your work to be as easy to focus on as possible, so keep personal branding/labelling/distracting borders/lurid backgrounds to a minimum. Anything that can distract the eye from your actual work should be avoided, your work should take centre stage here so the viewer can focus solely on the work and it's details, not what's happening outside of it's borders.
3. Keep it current
Try and keep your portfolio recent and relevant. A dated portfolio will not work in your favour so it's important to keep updating your portfolio with new work, or at least remove any visible dates on older work that is still looking fresh. It is good practise to update your portfolio on a regular basis anyway but if (like most of us) it's bottom of your on-going to do list, now is definitely the time to move it over to 'done'.
4. Don't be negative
You're there to sell yourself - so why would you criticise your own work? If there is a piece of work in your portfolio that you just aren't happy with, don't tell them everything that's wrong with it, try and find a positive slant. For example if a piece of work is particularly mundane, instead of presenting the idea that it just isn't your best work, use it to your advantage by saying you've included it to show you have done and are happy to do the 'bread and butter' jobs as well as the more challenging projects. All studios have this type of work at some point.
5. Stop saying 'we'
A tell tale sign of someone who is guilty of coasting-through, often on the back of others hard work, is when they can't explain exactly what they did in a project. There is nothing wrong with presenting work that was a team effort, but it is important to explain your involvement. You could have ran the project single handedly, but if you can articulate what you did, what your ideas were, and why final decisions were made, it will come across like you had very little involvement. Whilst you want to show you can work well in a team, it's important to not let the fear of not looking like a team player overshadow what you actually did. Take pride in your contributions!
Following these tips should make for a smoother portfolio presentation, but if you have any more useful tips be sure to share them and let us know!
For more of our advice on displaying your portfolio, have a look at our blog 'Digital vs Print: How Should I Present My Portfolio'. Or if you are looking or some interview tips, check here.
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