Does your portfolio show the ROI of your work?

Does your Portfolio Show your Real Value?

After graduating from college, no doubt you learned that your portfolio needs to showcase your work—but has anyone ever helped you understand how to showcase your real worth? That is, how do you show hiring managers the value you bring to any project that you take on and the company at large? We're not just talking about showcasing your ability to design, but the ability to connect design to it's impact on the customer and the company. Honestly, It’s a tough task! But we’re here to help you revise your portfolio while taking in the right considerations to make you stand out in a competitive job market. Here are the tips we recommend:

Decide on a direction

We’ve discussed this before while helping you build case studies, but it’s the first step in helping you know which type of case studies to showcase. You have to know where you want to go with your career to successfully communicate your value. Write down your aspiring job title or desired projects. Then research award-winning work being done by the superstars in your field. Begin making a list of qualities you will need to cover in your case studies: What hard and soft skills does it take to get the job done? How would you go about this same project but in your voice or design style? Which projects have you done that were similarly successful and why? What does your unique voice bring to projects? Once you’ve decided on a direction and at least three case studies you want to write, you’re ready for the next step.

Market Your Hard and Soft Skills

Aside from looking at others’ work to understand necessary hard and soft skills, you can read job descriptions of dream jobs in your desired industry for inspiration. Have the list of skills nearby while you write and hone in on how you utilize skills like leadership, problem-solving, organization, software proficiency, time management, and more. Bonus points if you’ve noticed a desired skill that you bring to the table that most others may not have. For example, maybe you’ve become a specialized generalist in your field and can speak on the unique traits and talents you’ve brought to past projects.

Show the impact of your work

Creatives often stop at showcasing the skills needed to complete a project because our focus tends to be on creating a pleasant, appealing customer experience as a result. However, aesthetics are lower in priority for most companies. To effectively show the impact and results of your work to hiring managers, you need to keep track of KPIs (or key performance indicators) that analysts and marketers on your team. Some examples of KPIs include:

  • Conversion Rate, or how fast consumers took a desired action (signing up, buying during a sale, etc.) as a direct result of your work.
  • Customer Lifetime Value, or the estimated value of how long your work kept customers engaged throughout a period.

Return on Investment

(or the positive monetary value the company received at the end of a successful, budgeted campaign.)

The easiest way to receive these metrics is to ask your former marketing teams for their results. It’s also possible to calculate these metrics on your own if you have access to the campaigns’ data. The point is: you’ll want to end your case studies with these metrics while speaking to how you positively affected the company’s bottom line. For example, maybe you kept the budget lower than expected, helping the company to reach a higher ROI than expected. Perhaps you took a unique initiative to strengthen the customers’ experience, thereby increasing the company’s CLV. Side note: remember to be respectful of proprietary information while getting as specific as you can about how your work positively impacted the company. 

Revise your portfolio often and add bonus content

The more often you revise your portfolio, the better. At the very least return to your portfolio three times a year and revise your case studies, focusing on the above tips in accurately communicating your worth. Aside from the core portfolio on your website, think about adding a blog section or newsletter where you create daily or weekly content that showcases how you think, how you problem-solve and include your creative musings, learnings, experiments, and teachings. Your bonus content offers another way of letting hiring managers get a feel for your personal brand, voice, and level of expertise. You’ll be adding value to your website overall, improving SEO, and helping your site get seen by your target audience.

TLDR; One of the best ways to make your portfolio stand out is to have a highly focused and succinct collection of case studies that marry your unique talent and skills with metrics to back up your work. It’s the consistent combination of these two elements that will make you more hireable. In between portfolio revisions, it also helps to flesh out your website with articles and helpful content that provides readers with a well-rounded view of your expertise. As always, if you want to talk to a recruiter about your portfolio or any open jobs you see here at Artisan, reach out!

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