Skip to main content
Image of the Author

Melissa Chungfat

SFU Alumnus
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
MOSAIC
Online Facilitator

empty
an SFU student presenting
As Stanley said, “Be a curator. Portfolios are a museum of design that tells a story.” Know who you are and have your portfolio reflect your values and personality

Traditional resumes are becoming more and more irrelevant in the design industry. Portfolios are must-haves for SIAT students who want a chance at getting an interview with Co-op employers. Students in Communication, Business or Computing Science also put themselves at a significant advantage when they bring print or electronic portfolios to interviews.

Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. As a SIAT and Computing Science Advisor in Surrey, students commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

Fortunately, SIAT students Stanley Lai and James Ma took the initiative to run a very popular and successful Portfolio Workshop series that this summer.  The purpose is to help students develop an industry-ready portfolio and share tips on how to succeed as a designer.  The workshop was open to students of all faculties.

Peer Learning

In the first workshop, Stanley emphasized from the beginning that the approach of the sessions is to learn and share experiences from other students in the room. While he gave his perspective on certain topics, he encouraged people to disagree with him and offer their perspective.

“All of us are learning from each other,” he said.

The 70 participants, including students from Communication and Computing Science, were separated into three discussion groups: film, graphic and interactive. The discussion topics included:

  • What is a design portfolio?
  • Why portfolio?
  • What makes good work?
  • What is your purpose?
students working in a team in a classroom settting

Principles for Strong Portfolios

For designers, the portfolio plays a significant part in determining whether someone gets hired or not.

Stanley once went to an interview with an employer who immediately put his resume aside and asked him to pull out his portfolio. Design employers pay little attention to what school people attended and care more about their design style, motivations and personality.

While students were sharing their experiences and getting into deeper perspectives such as discussing the difference between art and design, the following ideas were essential in creating a strong portfolio:

Tell Your Story

What is it that distinguishes you from other people? Your body of work will demonstrate how you evolve and progress. As Stanley said, “Be a curator. Portfolios are a museum of design that tells a story.” Know who you are and have your portfolio reflect your values and personality.

Define Your Purpose

Are you looking to get people to use reusable cups to reduce waste, begin a social movement or get hired at a small design firm? Your work has a purpose and the influence you want to have on your audience will shape what you put in your portfolio.

Be Honest

Many projects are often done in teams where everyone makes a specific contribution. Be honest about which parts you completed rather than take credit for more than you actually did. One student brought up a case where a student was getting feedback about a project and claimed that he was the team leader. Then his teammate who worked on the same project was looking for feedback from the same person and claimed that he was the team leader.  The design world is smaller than you think, dishonesty could come back to bite you.

Your Peers: Future Colleagues

The design industry is small. Students at the Surrey campus often work in teams and find people they work well with. Some students at the workshop showcased an iPhone application, a project they started in their own time once they realized they made a good team. Students who are in interactive design need to consider collaborating with people working in film, computing science, or new media. The participants shared associations and events that students could participate in so they can expand their networks. You never know who you may end up working with in the future.

 

     

    About the Author

    Image of the Author

    Melissa Chungfat

    SFU Alumnus
    Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
    MOSAIC
    Online Facilitator
    Melissa Chungfat is an Online Facilitator at MOSAIC where she teaches professional newcomers to Canada for Settlement Online Pre-Arrival. She is an SFU Communication Co-op graduate, freelance writer, world adventurer, cyclist, and cheese connoisseur. Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn.

    You Might Like These... Career Exploration, Networking, Portfolios, Social Media, Professional Development

    a flatlay of a person using an ipad to browse images
    Can Blogging Help You Land a Job?

    Some job seekers looking for possible ways to edge out competition are using weblogs (or blogs) to create and maintain a positive online presence. Blogging might help you land a job – but before you open a blog, we offer some information about blogging and a few tips on what you can do if blogging intimidates you.

    animated man being pulled down a hill an @ sign, underneath the words "take control of your reputation"
    Enhancing Your Online Reputation

    Your resume and cover letter impressed them… Your interview dazzled them… and you’re confident that your references will sing your praises. But, what else could factor into an employer’s assessment of you as a potential employee?

    a flatlay of a work station featuring an ipad
    How to Make a Successful E-Portfolio

    A student’s e-portfolio is a chance to wow employers by showcasing their creative and detailed work. To do this, there are specific elements that can make the difference between getting the right kind of attention and getting overlooked.

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    an SFU student presenting
    library_books
    Blog
    Why Portfolio? Inside a Portfolio Workshop
    Portfolios, Professional Development, Seeking, Career Exploration, Interviews, Student Success

    Many students struggle to figure out the best way to put a portfolio together. They commonly ask: “Which projects do I put in a portfolio?” or “I don’t know how to do HTML or CSS, how can I make an online portfolio?”

    You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

    A ceramic block with the words "Write Without Fear" printed ontop
    5 Reasons to Write a Co-op Reflection for the OLC

    You might have noticed some amazing co-op stories written by your fellow peers on the OLC, but have you ever considered sharing your story?  Here are five reasons why you should write for the OLC.

     

    a flatlay of someone using their tablet browsing the news
    Communication Portfolios

    Hear what this co-op student had to say about the Communication Co-op's annual "Get the Edge" event. This year's focus was all about portfolios! Read on to see what communication professionals have to say about the importance of having a portfolio and creating a personal brand.

    animated man being pulled down a hill an @ sign, underneath the words "take control of your reputation"
    Enhancing Your Online Reputation

    Your resume and cover letter impressed them… Your interview dazzled them… and you’re confident that your references will sing your praises. But, what else could factor into an employer’s assessment of you as a potential employee?