How to make a portfolio

What do you think the employer pays attention to first? In most cases, people point to portfolios and work experience. This is logical. How else can employers assess the quality and professionalism of a worker? Only by looking at examples of work. Unlike a resume, which tells about your experience and professional skills, a portfolio shows precisely what you can do. It’s a collection of your professional experience.

Undoubtedly, it isn’t easy to choose a designer for a project. If you have not seen his work, you do not know in what style he works and what tasks he can solve. This is why the portfolio is more important than the resume in the case of creative professions. For other jobs, a portfolio may not be necessary. But any recruiter would be happy if you had one.

Do you need a portfolio? Probably yes, if:

  • you have a creative job;
  • you create something entirely new every time you work (drawings, design projects, articles, codes, images for photography);
  • your work is project-based;
  • your employer asks for a portfolio.

However, a portfolio is usually unnecessary for those whose work involves following instructions. For example, accountants, secretaries, human resources specialists, system administrators, waitpersons, and salespeople successfully land their dream job without a portfolio, with just a resume.

This article by Layboard for work will show you how to make a beautiful and practical portfolio that will attract a dream job.

How portfolios differ from resumes for employers

A portfolio is a list of the works of a particular professional. For example, a copywriter’s portfolio consists of written texts sorted by topics or text type (commercials, website content, slogans). Journalists collect in their portfolios their best articles: marketers – successful projects for the company. Lawyers – complex cases they solved in favor of the client. Programmers – excerpts from codes. Plastic surgeons – photos before and after operations, teachers – teaching developments, lessons, and achievements of students. Model portfolios are snapshots that give an idea of the model’s work differently. For example, a portfolio represents images of websites, banners, and other designer products made by a web designer. It’s hard to find a profession where you can’t have a portfolio. 

Portfolios differ from CVs in the way they are voluminous and in the amount of detail a project requires. A CV is usually 1-2 pages long, and the portfolio size depends on how many tasks are in it and how long the case descriptions are.

The details that are disclosed in the portfolio are:

  • what tasks you faced,
  • how you solved them,
  • what challenges you encountered in implementing the project,
  • how you solved these problems,
  • what the result was and why.

You judge a designer by the level and quality of his works in the portfolio: is it worth working with him or not? That’s why you have to pay a lot of attention to the design of portfolios.

Who needs a portfolio, and why

People in creative professions most often need portfolios:

  • designers,
  • photographers,
  • stylists
  • marketers,
  • copywriters,
  • actors, etc.

What to put in a portfolio:

  • banners, logos, merch, interiors, clothing sketches,
  • photoshoots,
  • photos of assembled bows,
  • stories of accounts you’ve promoted,
  • examples of texts,
  • photos and videos from productions or films, etc.

Sometimes a portfolio helps with career advancement for lawyers, teachers, programmers, etc. People in such professions can be packed into a portfolio:

  • successfully won cases,
  • methodical works of authorship,
  • website, application, or software.

This will increase the level of professionalism of the performer in the eyes of the future employer and demonstrate your professional skills.

Why else do people in these professions need a portfolio:

  • justify a raise in salary and position,
  • to show the results of their work,
  • confirm your authorship and attach reviews.

How do I make a portfolio?

Identify the areas in which you want to create a portfolio. For example, for a copywriter, it can be commercial proposals, texts for websites, naming, and slogans. For a photographer: reportage photography, portraits, wedding photography, etc.

For each area, select your best work and average-quality projects. Then, optimally include 10-20 positions in the portfolio in each area. This already creates in your client a general idea about your level.

Think about a beautifully designed portfolio. For example, a freelance copywriter can create a single .doc file containing all the selected proposals or create a separate file for each text. The main thing is that you should format them appropriately. You can create several folders where you can add your work by area.

Place the portfolio on the Internet, a personal website, a flash drive, or a disk. Ideally, your portfolio should always be with you because you never know where you’ll end up with a client.

What kind of work should I add to my portfolio?

The first question when creating a portfolio is what kind of work to specify. If you’re a first-time freelancer, that’s it. If you are a beginner, then that’s it. In that case, the quantity of your work is working for you, and the quality may be lower than the guru level. But you show the client that you already have completed projects, and many of them exist! The main thing is to have experience.

If you are not a beginner and have a thousand or two written news articles, or a hundred running websites, then choose exciting jobs. You’re a professional, and you know you’re better at it.

It’s essential to include the best as well as average projects in your portfolio. The client needs to understand what quality you can deliver consistently, not just in case of a “creative hit.”

Guidelines for creating portfolios for different professions

Let’s look at how to create a portfolio as an example of a marketer, a copywriter, a programmer, or a manager.

Marketing Specialist

To make an attractive portfolio for a marketer, you need to:

  • choose the most significant cases in his practice;
  • describe the products that have been worked on;
  • describe the promotional tools;
  • represent the financial side of the project;
  • evaluate your work according to KPIs.


Evaluating an author’s work by KPI is difficult. Therefore, the rules for compiling a portfolio for a copywriter will be different:

  • choose the most representative examples of texts,
  • prepare screenshots of your texts,
  • categorize them,
  • describe the requirements and the deadlines,
  • attach links to publications if the customers have posted texts in the public domain.


A website is the most telling option for a programmer’s portfolio. Upload feedback about working with you, show examples of sites and applications you worked on, and provide links to them if possible.


We have the answer if you’re wondering how to put together a portfolio for a manager. What to put in a portfolio for a manager:

  • the topic of the project, the organization, and the industry, so it’s clear what kind of environment you worked in;
  • how many hours you spent on the project, how many people were on the team, and who made up the team;
  • systems of interaction in the group, conflict resolution, and motivation;
  • your deadlines, and whether you were able to meet them or not. If not, explain why;
  • how you prepared the instructions for the work and set the TOR for the employees;
  • the financial side of the issue: were you able to meet the budget, or did you have to exceed the limit;
  • what KPIs were met at the end of the project, and to what extent.

Services for creating and publishing a portfolio in half an hour

Making quality and beautiful portfolios takes time, which is always in short supply. However, several services will get you started in just half an hour.


Behance is one of the most popular services among designers. Register yourself, upload your work and wait for clients. Just keep in mind that there is a lot of competition. The more details you provide, the more chance you’ll get noticed.


English-speaking website for portfolio copywriters. You can upload 16 works in pdf format, but you can’t leave your contacts without connecting a premium account.

Also read: Must-Apply Resume Tips for Executive-Level Jobs


We’ve highlighted this social network in a separate item because it’s much easier to work with than the others. You must sign up, create a “My Work” board, and add examples.

In this article, we tried to collect as much information as possible about how to make a portfolio that will make you stand out from other applicants. Then, choose the suitable cases to get the job you want. You can use an exceptional service if you don’t have time to create a portfolio.