How I built a winning portfolio and got my dream offer? | by Arpit Chandak | May, 2023

UX Planet

My step-by-step process to creating a portfolio that got me hired

How I built a winning portfolio and got my dream offer?

Several months ago, the startup I worked for faced unexpected closure, leaving me uncertain about my future employment.

Given the challenging job market further impacted by recent layoffs, I knew that finding work would not be easy. However, I found that having a strong portfolio representing my skills was critical in setting myself apart and landing interviews.

In this guide, I will share with you my step-by-step approach to building a winning portfolio that helped me secure a job with an offer I could only dream of.

This guide will break down the process into 5 straightforward steps

It’s really important to choose the right platform to start building your portfolio. I would suggest choosing the platform based on the time you have in hand and also if you are already accustomed to a no-code platform.

  • If you have less time on your hands go with Notion, Behance, Dribbble, or Carrd to quickly create your portfolio in a day or two.
  • If you have ample time on your hands let’s just say a week or more go with proper No-Code builders like Webflow, Wix, Framer, or WordPress.

I personally went with Wix for 3 reasons. I am accustomed to using Wix, it’s very affordable in India & I already had a domain registered on it.

💡A quick tip I would suggest please buy your own name domain even if you are not planning to make the portfolio right away.
Firstly it creates a professional outlook and secondly, you never know if someone else may buy the domain who has the same name. (Few of my friends really faced the problem of not getting domains of their name)

Website builders for making design portfolio

When it comes to building a winning portfolio, planning is key. Before diving into design, it’s important to lay out what will be included in your portfolio.

Some important sections to consider are the “About Us” page, a showcase or entry point to 2–3 top projects you’ve worked on, client testimonials, and your contact details. To give your portfolio a story-like feel, consider adding a section called the “Design Journey” where you walk through your personal design journey. Also, I would highly suggest adding blogs, and resources or mentioning side projects you have worked on.

Before starting to design, make sure you assemble all the necessary assets and information, such as client testimonials and project assets. Setting approximate deadlines for different sections or pages of the portfolio can help you stay on track. It’s also important to remember that your first version doesn’t have to be perfect. Aim to create an MVP, or minimum viable product, and refine it over time.

High-Level Initial Information Architecture I build for my personal portfolio
High-Level Initial Information Architecture I build for my personal portfolio

When it comes to designing your portfolio, there are a few important points to keep in mind. Let’s dive into them:

  1. Hero Section: Make sure your hero section clearly states what you do. It’s a great opportunity to highlight your skills. Consider including key points that emphasize your expertise and what sets you apart.
  2. Showcase Diversity: It’s important to demonstrate your range and versatility in design skills. Showcase a variety of projects that highlight different styles, industries, or problem-solving approaches. This will show potential employers or clients that you can tackle various design challenges.
  3. Design Process: When presenting your projects, always show your design process. Explain how you approached each project, the decisions you made along the way, and the rationale behind them. This gives insights into your problem-solving abilities and adds depth to your portfolio.
Hero Section of my portfolio

Now that you’ve put in the effort to create your portfolio, it’s time to publish it and share it with the world. Remember, having a live Minimum Viable Product (MVP) portfolio is better than not having one at all. Let’s explore the next steps:

  1. Publish Your Case Studies: Once you have the bare minimum ready, it’s time to go live. Publish your case studies and portfolio on your website. Don’t worry about achieving perfection from the start. Launching with the essentials will allow you to gather feedback and make improvements over time.
  2. Optimize for SEO and Launch on Google: To increase your portfolio’s visibility, optimize your website for search engines (SEO). This will help potential employers or clients find your portfolio when searching for relevant keywords. Be sure to submit your website to search engines like Google. Additionally, update all your social profiles to include a link to your portfolio.
  3. Share on Social Media: Leverage the power of social media to showcase your portfolio. Consider creating a video where you explain your journey of building the portfolio and highlight key aspects. Share this video on your social media platforms, such as Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube. Include a link to your website so viewers can explore your entire portfolio.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to publish and promote your portfolio effectively. Remember, your portfolio is a reflection of your skills and accomplishments, so be proud and share it confidently. Good luck as you launch your portfolio to the world!

Sharing my portfolio on LinkedIn with everyone
Sharing my portfolio on LinkedIn with everyone

Taking feedback is a crucial step in building a great portfolio. To gather valuable insights, follow these pointers:

  1. Book Free Calls with Industry Mentors: ADPlist offers the opportunity to book free calls with mentors working at your dream companies. Take advantage of this resource. Schedule calls with experienced designers who can provide valuable feedback on your portfolio.
  2. Clearly State the Purpose: When booking these calls, clearly communicate that you’re seeking a portfolio review. This will ensure that mentors know the specific focus of the conversation and can provide targeted feedback.
  3. Be Prepared: During the call, be prepared with pen and paper to take notes. Actively listen to the mentor’s suggestions and recommendations. Remember, their feedback is invaluable, so be open-minded and receptive to their insights.
  4. Implement the Suggestions: After the call, carefully review the notes you took. Identify the suggestions that resonate most with you and align with your vision for the portfolio. Implement these suggestions and make the necessary improvements to enhance your portfolio.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to seek and incorporate feedback from top designers in the industry. This iterative process will help you refine your portfolio and make it even stronger. Remember, feedback is a gift, so embrace it and continue to strive for improvement.

In the end, building a winning portfolio is a journey of self-discovery, growth, and determination. It’s a reflection of your skills, passion, and dedication to your craft. So, take the leap, showcase your best work, and let your portfolio be the gateway to your dream offer.

Remember, success comes to those who believe in themselves and continuously strive for improvement. Keep refining, keep learning, and keep pushing forward. Your dream offer awaits!

Best of luck on your portfolio-building journey, and may it lead you to incredible opportunities and a fulfilling career!

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