Working life

Creating and showcasing your creative portfolio

21 Dec 2023, 10:38

artist drawing

A portfolio is an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and ideas to potential employers. Showing samples of your work is standard practice in some industries and can help you stand out to hiring managers in others.

Portfolios are commonly required for creative jobs such as:

Building your portfolio

1. Select your work samples

Start by sorting through your relevant work and selecting strong samples that showcase your skills. Use examples that are recent and relevant to the job that you are applying to. Portfolios can include images, photographs, project reports, writing samples, designs or other creative works. These samples can come from school projects, volunteer experiences, previous professional experience or projects you have worked on in your own time.

2. Organise your work

Hiring managers may be sifting through a large number of applications trying to narrow down their list. Make your portfolio easy to interpret so that employers can easily find what they are looking for. Start with contact information, a short bio and a list of your skills. Then follow with the samples you believe are the most relevant and important. Make sure to categorise your work in a manner that is logical and easy to follow. Including a table of contents and page numbers can make your portfolio easier to navigate.

A good portfolio provides a visual demonstration of your work. Make sure that your portfolio is visually appealing as this is also evidence of your skills. Present your portfolio in a way that is consistent and represents who you are and your work style.

If you are presenting a physical copy of your portfolio, use a folder or portfolio case that is easy to look through and use section dividers that make it easy for employers to find the information they are looking for.

3. Customise your portfolio

Once you have created a ‘template’ copy of your portfolio, make copies of it and customise them for the jobs you apply to. Use your portfolio to emphasise the specific skills that each employer is looking for by swapping out or reordering work samples and listed skills.

You can figure out what hiring managers are looking for by looking at the requirements listed in the job description. Your CV and portfolio should demonstrate why you are a good fit for this particular job.

Make sure to keep your portfolio updated with your most recent work. As you grow as an artist the work you produce will change, make sure that what you are presenting to employers is a reflection of the style and quality of work you are producing now. Always put your best foot forward when applying for a job, an outdated portfolio can give hiring mangers the wrong impression of your work.

Putting your portfolio to good use

Don’t just submit your portfolio at the application stage and forget about it! If you are called for an interview, the employer will be interested in discussing your work. Take the time to review what you have put into your portfolio. Think about what you have accomplished in your field and refence your work when answering questions as evidence of your skills.

Learn more about how you can style an online portfolio and the tools you can use.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.