I had to ask myself an important question:
“What does my career look like in the next 5 years?”
I decided that developing my UX career takes top priority.
Instead of displaying my art and graphic design work alongside my UX/web design projects, I chose to greatly emphasize my UX design process.
Now the real question is,
”What do design recruiters look for in a strong candidate’s portfolio?”
I gathered information via a Twitter poll question.
I also asked seasoned designers about what they would like to see in a potential teammate’s portfolio.
Additionally, I discovered fascinating and informative articles about the subject:
• “The Worst Portfolio Ever”
by Alex Cornell
• “What Do Recruiters and Hiring Managers Look for in a UX Portfolio?”
by Kyle Soucy
What I have concluded from my research was that recruiters and design teams look for the candidate’s process through their projects.
Thus, projects should be displayed prominently upon landing.
These projects should illustrate a journey about what shaped this candidate into becoming the designer they are today.
I applied the results of my research thusly:
I made it clear what the intent of the project was with one word within the title; For example, this very project’s challenge was to “Refine My Portfolio”.
I listed what was important to communicate within my individual projects
— because I want to tell you that I am a very astute and perceptive designer.
I selected 4 projects that highlight my strengths as a UX designer:
• Understanding the technical/engineering side of web application building
(Creating The Arkhives)
• Collaboration, communication, and teamwork under a strict timeline
(Rescuing Krav Maga Xtreme)
• Succinct information gathering, developing empathy for users, and understanding users
(Researching Wearable Technology)
• The ability to think unconventionally, emphasize cleverness
(Refining My Portfolio — you are here.)
What I learned:
I discovered a glaring mistake when I was reviewing my first portfolio:
I explained absolutely nothing about myself as a designer. (But I can silently tell you I have an eye for art and design, at least).
It was quite the challenge to simplify all the information and detail needed to display in my portfolio. I attempted several ways that deviate from the norm, even considering writing down a “design process” map in lieu of projects.
Thanks to my mentors and other designers all over the world, I realized that sometimes what is already familiar is what is best.
Refining my portfolio was definitely an exercise in empathy, research, and simplification, alongside critical thinking.