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How to Make Your Portfolio Stand Out

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Written by Dana Berry

In a world full of people trying to achieve the same things as you, you may often find yourself wondering: What makes me different? Well, that’s a question only you can answer. Realistically, a lot of people out there have the same types of samples in their portfolios as you do. Like a house of mirrors, you are surrounded by many versions of yourself. That’s scary, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways to make your portfolio stand out.

1. Make it personal

One of the biggest mistakes someone can make when creating a portfolio is 

assuming people know them. How can you avoid this? Make your portfolio reflect who 

you are. Remember, employers see hundreds of these. What’s more exhausting than 

looking at the same portfolio time after time? Make their ears perk up. Show your 

personality! They won’t possibly know who you are unless you make them.

2. Be selective

You know the old saying “quality over quantity”? Well, believe it or not, it’s true! Quantity 

only goes so far. Employers would rather see that you know what you are doing and are 

skilled at your craft. Plus, who has the time to review 20 different pieces of work? Pick 

your best samples and roll with that. Own your work. If they like what they see, they may 

ask you for more. That’s when you can provide quantity. 

3. Don’t shy away from context

If one of your samples was a successful part of a campaign, shared on a big social 

media account, published in a magazine, or whatever else it may be, include that! It’s not 

bragging. Employers want to know about your successes. Provide context for what 

you’re including. There is a difference between a high school essay and a top-tier 

placement. If yours is the in the same ballpark as the latter, own that. They’ll be nothing 

but impressed.

4. Be aware of your presentation

Creativity is great and all, but if employers can’t navigate your portfolio, they won’t waste 

time trying. Make sure your portfolio stands out while still maintaining functionality. On 

top of that, make sure it’s clean. Messy portfolios are eyesores and headaches waiting to 

happen. They want to see you are professional, which involves providing clean, 

organized work. A good test for this is having a friend, parent or professor go through 

your portfolio as a test run. Are they overwhelmed? Lost? If so, clean it up.

At the end of the day, remember that there is no formula for portfolios. There is no recipe for success. It all depends on each individual and each desired position. These four tips are a great starting point, but don’t be afraid to branch out. If you put the work in, your portfolio will stand out in no time.


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