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Creating an impressive interactive portfolio


You’ve built some amazing sites, so what’s the best way to show off this work to a hiring manager? Here are some inside tips from an interactive design recruiter.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Sites like Carbonmade and The Loop take the hassle out of creating your online presence.

Show big, beautiful graphics. Large graphics grab attention. To preserve work that’s likely to change over time, take screens shots and animate them to keep the site interactive.

Keep it simple. Your web portfolio is still a website and must function as such. Be sure the usability is up to snuff. For example, avoid tiny thumbnails or navigation that is tough to see. The hiring manager should be able to find your work in two seconds (and find it again to show someone else). If they have to hunt for it, they won’t.

Make it focused. It’s easy to throw everything up on your portfolio, from your latest vacation shots to your kids’ portraits. Leave those personal tidbits to your Facebook page. Your portfolio should highlight your best work and your work only.

Go for the heart. Pick your best pieces that engage and connect emotionally, not analytically. Heart vs. brain stuff is what design is all about, and that is exactly what you want your prospective employer to do when looking at your portfolio.

Keep it updated. I know, I know, you’ve been so busy working you don’t have time to add new projects to your portfolio. Prove to hiring managers that you’re up on the latest interactive design skills by keeping your portfolio current. (This will give you a great excuse to put off some more dreaded tasks, like folding your laundry.)

Tell your story. Share some brief context about your thought process behind the creation of each piece, your role in the project, and what the outcome was for your client. This demonstrates that you’re not only a skilled designer, but a thoughtful marketing practitioner and business person who understands that design exists to drive revenues.

And let your clients tell your story. Solicit testimonials from previous clients that you can highlight throughout your site.

Check out the competition. Look at other portfolios at sites like KropBehance, and Coroflot for ideas and inspiration.

QA. Check out the site on multiple browsers and platforms to make sure it consistently performs well. And be sure to periodically check your links.

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