The employment market tends to be very competitive, especially nowadays where more and more people are branching out and heading into the creative arena. When dealing with jobs related to the sciences and the more theoretical fields, a usual resume is enough to display your qualifications. But, with the arts, employers care too little about where you graduated from or where you are currently studying; what they look for in an employee is their creativity. Some employers lack the time to go through one’s resume or interview each candidate, so they depend on portfolios.

For us writers, artists, photographers and filmmakers, a portfolio is a way to display our creativity, skills and value. This is why when creating your portfolio, you have to make sure it stands out. You have to make sure that out of a huge pile, yours is the one that gets pulled out; and we are going to show you nine ways to do that.

Create your own website

Websites are the most versatile tool out there for many reasons. If your portfolio is impressive enough, people will visit your website so, it is like a pre-interview. You should ask yourself, “what do I want to tell new employees?”

On your website, you should include work samples, testimonials from previous clients if you have had any, and also, people’s feedback. Keep in mind that most clients appreciate three things in a website.

One, its simplicity and ease to navigate through. Two, its genuineness; meaning, people do not like it when you try to sell yourself too hard. Your website should display your passion drive and other qualities, without feeling like a gigantic sales pitch.

Finally, clients appreciate an existing follower base. They consider it, not only a good sign but also, an additional bonus that they get if they hire that person.


Even if you have no clients, you need to be working. Create content to fill your website, post content on social media, advertise yourself. As an artist, you need to constantly hone your skills.

People need to see that you are active; that you are still practicing. Moreover, the more you create and publish, the more you and your clients will get to see how much you have developed.

Watching someone’s progress tells a client a great deal about that person; their ability to learn, their openness to receiving feedback and so much more.

Gather references

If you have worked before, you need to get in touch with all your previous clients and track your product down. Then, you should find a way to link it to your website, whether through a link or a picture or a social media page. Think of it as if you are including your name in the credits for a movie.

On the other hand, if you haven’t worked yet, you need to start looking for ways to showcase your work; even if it is for free at first. You only need one opportunity. For example, if you are an aspiring writer, there are dozens of websites who allow guest posting.

That way you will get a reference, a way to promote your work and instant access to quite a broad follower base.

Research your target

When applying for a job, you have to understand what they are looking for. After you have gained enough knowledge about what they have and what they are looking for, it is time for you to act.

Design your portfolio in order to appeal to them specifically. Which means that if you are looking for a job in a logo design company, visit their website and take a look at their previous work. Then, you can edit the layout of your portfolio to match their requirements.

The Flow

A portfolio, whether online or offline should have a flow. It is not just a stack of pages put together to show your work or show that you are a good employee. The most successful portfolios are the ones with a flow.

Don’t think of a portfolio as a song; but, as an album. The most successful albums are the ones with something in common. Some albums are about a story; others are about different stories that take place in the same realm.

Other albums don’t have a story at all; they consist of a prelude and follow that with songs increasing in intensity and seal the deal with an amazing outro. That is what you should do with your portfolio if you want it to stand out.

The Filling

In your portfolio, you should try to include your best designs or films, or content in general. Quantity is not important here since, as we have mentioned before, most clients have time-sensitive schedules.

When looking at your portfolio, what will keep people flipping pages is the quality of your content. You need it to be captivating and you need to give each piece of work its bit of space so as to not let pieces overshadow each other.

Edit, edit, edit

Never send out a portfolio without proofreading it first. Blindly sending a portfolio is a suicide mission. It immediately communicates to clients that you do not care enough about your own image.

Why would they hire a person who does not care enough about their own image, much less, a client’s image?

Show yourself

Clients try to get an idea of who you are a person, as well as, how good you are as an employee. So, try to show bits of yourself within your portfolio, but not too much. After all, this is a business portfolio, not a dating profile.

Keep it recent

It is essential that you keep your portfolio up to date. Include all your recent work, testimonials and references. A good technique is to link your online portfolio to your website. It helps to create a good image.

Final thoughts

Creating a portfolio is your first step to a better career, which is why you should always be looking for work opportunities where you can do your best, in order to add that to your portfolio.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.