Portfolio Preparation

Whether you are a designer, developer, illustrator, photographer, or artist, it is important for you to have an effective way to show your work and talent to potential employers.

Developing Your Portfolio

Step 1: Select Samples

The goal is to select items that best represent your core strengths and industry experience while showcasing your creativity, technical ability, and range.

  • Use feedback from faculty or creative industry professionals to select your best work
  • Choose high-quality pieces
  • Select pieces that are relevant to the employer or gallery you are approaching
  • Include a piece in different stages to show the progression of ideas and problem solving
  • Receive permission to share any work that belongs to clients or employers

Step 2: Organize

Your portfolio should demonstrate to employers how your skills will meet their needs and how they can profit from hiring you.

  • Create a title page with your personal contact information
  • Use a consistent graphic theme – color, type, size
  • Develop a sequence for your work that begins with your strongest piece and ends with a lasting impression
  • Include a caption with each piece: include the project title, your role, technology/process

Step 3: Customize

Ultimately, your portfolio should resemble a well-written resume. It should be relevant and easily customized. Always match your qualifications with the unique needs of the potential employer.



This method of showcasing your work is being replaced or at least supplemented by digital formats, but in some cases, it may make sense to have a physical portfolio. There is always the option of creating a unique portfolio book or case that matches your career goals.


A digital portfolio holds the advantage of allowing potential employers to find you with a quick search. Your viewers should see, without scrolling, your concentration of work and a large image of a project you are proud of.

Showing Work

Prepare to show your work on different digital devices (iPad, laptop), an online database, or through a printed portfolio. It is not recommended to present through a flash drive on the interviewer’s computer.

Unless prompted, there is no need to explain each piece as the interviewer goes through it. Be prepared to answer questions about your work, the time frame, and any problems you faced and solved. Leave a resume and sample of work for them to remember you by.

Portfolio Checklist

  • Your name, contact information, and a link to printer-friendly resume is included on the page

  • A simple design/format was selected that will not distract from your work

  • Large images (800 X 600) are incorporated in your pieces

  • A scroll through feature showcases your work

  • A short description is added to each piece

  • The portfolio is tested to ensure there are no errors in links, grammar, or typos.

Showcasing Your Portfolio

There are a number of portfolio hosting sites, many of them free, that you can use to promote your work. It is important to be able to provide a URL of your portfolio on your resume and in emails to prospective employers.

Popular Sites