6 easy tips to create a kick-ass portfolio

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As MCAST students prepare to graduate and start hunting for their first design gig, BRND WGN’s Head of Creative, Katerina Karamallaki, shares her tips on how to best showcase your work.

One of the most important things for any creative is knowing how to present their best work in a professional and attractive way. A great portfolio is essential in attracting clients and prospective employees, whether it’s a physical book, a personal website, or a BÄ“hance page. Here are some easy tips on how to perfect your portfolio:


“You’re only as good as your last job” so edit, edit, and then edit again! In this case, less is definitely more. What you leave out of your portfolio is as important as what you put in. Remember, one great project is better than dozens of mediocre ones. Often employers will only look at the first couple of pages of your portfolio, so don’t feel you need to save the best for last… show off your best work first!


Potential employers usually want to see the thought process behind a project, it is as important as the final piece itself. Sketches, wireframes, work in progress images - add them all in. It’s an insight into the way you think, work, and problem-solve. Set the context for the project: what was the brief, the constraints, the timeline? Be clear about your specific involvement in a project if you were working as part of a team, and discuss if there’s anything you would have done differently. This shows introspection and critical thinking, both important traits in a prospective employee.


Always show the type of work you want to do in the future. Showcase your strengths and don’t include every project under the sun because you feel it will add ‘variety’. You will attract the type of jobs that reflect the work in your portfolio, so if you didn’t enjoy working on it, leave it out.


Self-initiated projects are a great way of showing off your creative thought processes and your personality. It also shows you are driven and passionate about the industry. Creative employers always appreciate people that are interested in their craft outside the scope of traditional work, so make sure to include some of these fun projects in your portfolio.


Before you consider applying for a job or approaching a prospective client, find out everything you can about the person or company. Find out about their clients, the kind of work they do, their culture, etc. Be proactive and go beyond the obvious interview ‘question and answer’ scenario.


It’s an obvious one, but keeping your portfolio up-to-date is very important. Often employers, clients or collaborators will revisit your portfolio at a later time, so keeping it current gives you a better chance of landing that job. Using BÄ“hance or a website is one of the easiest ways to keep your portfolio updated and fresh.

One final note: A good cover email is as important as the portfolio itself. Copying and pasting the same email to every agency doesn’t do much to show off your personality and is not very interesting to read. Write a personalised cover email and include what projects you like by the agency you are applying to, why you like them and even better, how you would improve them. And please don’t start your cover letter with Dear Sir/Madam!

If you don’t land a job straight away don’t despair. Aim high and keep trying. Freelance if you can, or intern at an agency that does the kind of work you would love to do one day which will help you get more experience till you find paid work. Don’t be shy to email agencies for advice, but equally don’t worry if you don’t always get a reply - Creative Directors are inundated with messages, as well as having a gruelling schedule. And don’t be limited to your home country because working or taking an internship overseas will give you invaluable experience… plus it will be fun!

Spread your wings and good luck! Hopefully we’ll meet at BRND WGN one day.