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Diversity is Essential for a Design Portfolio: How to Catch the Eye of a Potential Employer

For many graduating students, the looming prospect of getting of job in your field that you just spent the latter part of your life studying can be daunting.

Hard decisions have to be made to either try to find work in the city you’ve been dwelling in or moving on to another town. Both can be challenges in their own right.

“If you’re graduating from college or university in a city like Halifax, there are many students who have attended the same schools, applying for the same jobs and all have the same portfolio,” Carleton said.

Graduating Students Get Caught in the Same Web

That problem emanates from the design programs that delegate the same assignments. While they are intended to promote the student’s individuality, they all follow a certain design structure. Students then spend their year working on the same projects and then putting them into their respective portfolio, which isn’t the wisest choice, Carleton stressed.

“You want to be seen as different as the rest of the students out there, so I think it’s good to do personal work,” he said. Carleton was hired at a design firm shortly after graduating from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) this year.

In Carleton’s experience, private work meant he would spend hours creating fake companies and designing attractive logos for them. By putting unexpected elements in his portfolio, it showed his range of diversity and separated him from other design graduates with the same material.

Put Different Design Work in Your Portfolio

However, Carleton said it’s highly important to consider your audience or employer.

“If you’re simply making a portfolio to impress people, then go strictly artsy. That’s always impressive,” he said. “But if you’re trying to get a job, fine arts just won’t cut it.”

Carleton said new designers should include material like pamphlets, newspaper ads and random items. While they might be uninteresting to the designer, they might pique the interest of the employer.

Consider Who Your Audience Is

“It’s going to show your range of ability to address corporations that need material like that,” he said. “If you have diversity in your portfolio, you’re likely to get more work out of it.”

So when you’re heading out into the job market, remember to consider your audience and have a wide range of material in your portfolio. It will distinguish you from your classmates and other job hunters.

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