I posted a Tweet on the work I've been doing to get my product design portfolio together:
It drew a lot more attention than I anticipated. When I dug deeper into the analytics, I was surprised.
Given that it was engaged by over 800 people, I'm sure something here struck a chord. The ultimate success, in my opinion, is when a product design portfolio communicates how well you could fit into a company's role. That has yet to be seen. However, in the two months, it took me to get it together, I've learned a lot. I'd like to share everything I've learned with you, from mindset to tactical methods to give you the edge. They are as follows:
It's a tall order to figure out what you want from your career, but it's necessary to gain clarity so that the next steps are easier. Knowing where you want to be in two years and what skills you want to develop will help determine what roles to apply for. What to pay attention to, and what not to pay attention to.
If you narrow the exercise down to your career, Will's post is especially useful for figuring out your values, what you enjoy doing, where you want to be and how you can get there. Starting Principles, on the other hand, is a great way to centre your decisions around principles that guide what action to take.
Jonas Downey (Designer at Twitter, previously at Basecamp) has written a fantastic 3,800-word article that is full of useful information. "A recipe for design job searching and interviewing" is the title, and it covers the entire interviewing process from start to finish.
He portrays a knowledge path on what to expect for someone who hasn't had much interviewing experience.
Sarah Doody (UX Portfolio Formula) has a course that I believe will help you get your portfolio ready in four weeks or less.
I couldn't afford her program but the articles that she has on what to do and what not to do when designing your career assets is the next best thing.
I had to rely on her articles as well as other online sources to create a portfolio that I'm happy with. If you can, I'd advise you to pay for it and save yourself the time. Sarah is also extremely helpful and quick to respond via email. Her webinars are jam-packed with valuable information that will help you land your next dream job.
4. Sourcing Design Jobs
These are some excellent job boards that specialize in remote global positions. The majority of other job boards do a poor job of catering to remote global design positions.
Femke's Job Board (design-focused job board)
WeWorkRemotely (most popular for remote workers)
I attempted to design my portfolio using Keynote but quickly gave up given the difficulty in making progress towards a polished and consistent portfolio. It's hard to align elements, keep typography consistent and I missed the ability to create reusable components. So, I switched back to my trusty design tool, Figma.
Figma was not designed to be used to create portfolio presentations, exporting as a packaged PDF isn't straightforward as it might seem. Pitchdeck Presentation Studio plugin can extend Figma's abilities to organize slides, add links and export them as PDFs.
DocSend is a useful tool for sending your PDF portfolio as links. It lets you host your portfolio, update it if you make changes, and track analytics to see which parts of the portfolio aren't working for the viewer. I'd recommend turning off the email reminders though, you might end up checking your email more often than normal.
Quillbot was also used to fine-tune the language used in the portfolio. I'd like to believe that I have a better editorial sense than I do when it comes to writing something perfect in the first draft. Quillbot acted as a sparring partner, allowing me to fully express what I wanted to convey.
6. Get an edge
Most small businesses will use a SaaS tool to make recruiting more efficient. E.g. homerun.co is used by a company where I'd like to work. I wanted to see if there was a way for me to stand out from the crowd, so I signed up and followed the process of setting up a bogus job and submitting my application. It gave me a better understanding of how a recruiter would evaluate my application, and I was able to tailor it accordingly.
That's all I've got for now. Job hunting is a time-consuming process that requires a great deal of focus in order to find something you truly care about. I hope this makes things a little easier.
Upcoming articles on what my personal interviewing experience is like, don't forget to sign up for the newsletter below!