Ask Lucy - How Can I Be Found by Recruiters?

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Question

I would like to know which platform is best for designers to showcase their work. One where recruiters can see their skills. What do recruiters want to see in a designer and what’s the best way to present a good portfolio?

-anonymous by request

Answer

I think there’s a common belief amongst the design community that the answer to being “found” is in the design portfolio. I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. Perhaps that’s not the popular answer and maybe I’ll receive some boo hiss for saying so. I can’t speak for all recruiters, but I personally do not surf portfolio platforms in search of talent. Why?

When searching for design talent, we’re doing so on behalf of a client for a specific position and needs depending on their product and strategic goals. Typically, clients are looking for a specific type of background i.e. product category and market segment. For example, a lifestyle footwear brand might desire other lifestyle footwear brand designers. It’s not always as simple as that; often times a search will expand to adjacent industries (industrial design, etc.) and market segments (performance, outdoor). The point I’m trying to make here is that a search typically begins with the desired background and experience. This may sound frustrating, unfair or just plain wrong. There’s a myriad of reasons as to the “why” behind this that I won’t delve into as it’s a fairly deep rabbit hole and can be silenced for the sake of your question.

Back to the question before us. Design portfolios are still important. They should be well organized, showcasing recent and or relevant work for the type of role you are seeking. They should not be a lifetime catalog of everything you’ve ever done in chronological order. It’s too overwhelming and a good recruiter who knows quality design work coupled with knowing their client should be able to spot it immediately. Less is more. If an employer requests to see more of your work or something specific you can always send more. Keep your portfolio concise and focused. Keep it simple and try not to overthink it. It’s easy when you’re detail oriented and a perfectionist by nature to want to “hide the whole portfolio until it’s absolutely perfect”. Sound familiar? There’s no such thing as perfect. Design is subjective. What’s ideal for one brand may be discarded by another.

I promise we’re close to landing the plane here…. Which platform is best? The one that’s easiest for you to maintain. As long as it provides a link that can be easily accessed by those you share it with, it’s perfectly acceptable. Most recruiters and employers use LinkedIn when searching for talent. If you want to be “found” I’d make sure your profile is up to date AND you have a link to your design portfolio clearly listed.

-Ask Lucy