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How to: Create the Perfect Visual Portfolio

Learn the top three factors hiring managers consider when reviewing your portfolio

When applying for any creative job position, such as graphic designer or web developer, it is required to have an online and/or pdf portfolio portraying your previous projects. A portfolio should reflect the look and feel of your resume but focuses on showing your skills, and not telling. The purpose of a resume is to inform the hiring manager of your past work experience, education, contact information, and skills, such as which software you may know. Your portfolio is intended to display your finished products and some of the rough drafts, for example, the different iterations of a logo you created in black and white and in color. Before you begin creating your portfolio, there are three things you need to focus on: what you can do, what you have done, and how you accomplished it.

What You Can Do

Before jumping into your portfolio, you need to decide on what you want to be recognized for and focus on it. If you are applying to be a graphic designer focused on branding, your portfolio should be primarily based on previous logos and campaigns you designed. Do not be afraid to display your other skills such as web designs and personal illustrations; however, it should not be the featured pieces on your site. Select the projects that you are the most passionate about to present first so when it is time to discuss them, the interviewer will recognize your dedication.

What You Have Done

A portfolio is a compilation of completed projects you created. In your portfolio, it is important to show finished designs and how they can be used in a real life scenario. As a graphic designer, if you are focused on branding and showing a logo you created for a client, place the logo on business cards and other marketing materials to show the connection from art to reality. Be mindful of the projects you wish to portray and how they can relate to the positions you are applying.

How You Accomplished It

Not all portfolios are required to be online; some jobs may ask you for a PDF portfolio. When that occasion occurs, it is to your benefit to list the software, as well as, any special technique you used while creating the final product. To use the example of being a graphic designer focused on branding, if you designed a logo, be sure to mention using Adobe Illustrator (software) and the golden ratio (technique). By doing so, it informs the interviewer that you are well-rounded and knowledgeable.

There are many websites available to begin creating your portfolio such as,, and that are easy to use and do not require you to have experience in coding. Whether you want a PDF portfolio, online portfolio, or both; find your passion, highlight your skills, and let your art land you the job of your dreams.

Written by: Sheena Roman

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