How to create a compelling art portfolio for job applications


As an artist or designer, you may have a portfolio of your work, but how do you present it for job applications?  Here are some tips on how to create a compelling portfolio that convinces a recruiter that you are the perfect candidate for the job.

Create a portfolio that showcases your artistic skills

The portfolio is a curated collection of your artistic work. As with any job application, there is a chance you’ll get cut out at the CV level if your artistic work is of poor quality, or not transferrable to the style required by the business. Doing some research on the company you’re applying to work for will help you get an idea of their artistic style. If you can, try to include work that matches your artistic style and skills to their needs. When applying for a print design position, have samples of your logo design work in your portfolio. For a digital design position, have samples of your web design work in your portfolio. If applying for a position in the fine arts, such as a painter or illustrator, you’ll want to have samples of both your paintings and your artistic sketches and drawings.

Be selective about what you include in your portfolio

I recommend you include up to 10 pieces of art in your portfolio. Be selective about what you include. For each piece of art you include in your portfolio, you must ask yourself “why?” Why is this the best example of my artistic skills and style? Is it because it’s the most recent piece of art? Maybe it’s the only piece of art you’ve created in a particular style or genre. Or perhaps it’s the piece of art that you’re most proud of. Now reflect on how those pieces demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the company you are hoping to join.  If they do, leave it in.  If not, consider whether it is really selling you for the job you are going for.

Ensure that everything in your portfolio is well-crafted

You don’t want to give the recruiter the impression that you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of artist. You want them to know that you’re a professional who produces quality work. Make sure that each piece of art in your portfolio is well-crafted and a finished product. If you’re including sketches or drawings, make sure that they’re tidy, neat, and free of unintentional smudges or markings. If you’re including a logo design or letterhead, show a finished product that’s ready for use.

Digital tools to create your portfolio

The are many online tools available that artists can use to produce digital portfolios for job applications that enable showcasing creative projects.  A web search will bring up lists of sites and tools available to artists.  Popular sites like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace can be used to host your portfolio.  Specific platforms for artists include Carbonmade, PixPa and etchester.

Don’t forget to include your contact information

Finally, don’t forget to include your contact information on your portfolio. The hiring manager should be to reach out to you easily and quickly. Include your email address and phone number on the first page of your portfolio. You can also include your name and contact information at the bottom of each piece of art in your portfolio. Make sure it’s legible and large enough to be seen. If you do all of the above, you’ll create a compelling portfolio showcasing your artistic skills and style, proving to the recruiter that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

Main image credit:  Photo by Matthieu Comoy on Unsplash