How to Build Your Portfolio as a Product Design Engineer
Like any other candidate looking for a job, your goal as a professional vying for a product design engineer role is to ace the interview and get that job. However, to do that, you need to showcase your skills first. This is why you need to prepare a portfolio that would create an impact and make your interviewer want to hire you instantly.
The secret is in the presentation. A good portfolio should showcase a product design engineer’s best work, spark the interviewer’s curiosity and keep them engaged until his talent wins them over. In addition to that, soft skills matter a lot. According to CareerBuilders, 62% of recruiters are looking for your soft skills. Therefore, your portfolio must not be too complex or too plain but a mix of both. Your personality must show in your portfolio as you demonstrate your technical skills. More importantly, it should exactly convey what’s unique about you.
Here are ways that will help you focus on building an impressive portfolio as a product design engineer.
1. Know your target audience.
Before you dive into making the perfect portfolio, ask yourself:
- Who am I creating this portfolio for?
- How can I best engage my audience with my portfolio?
- Which of my works will impress my desired audience?
- What sort of work interests me?
All of these questions will help you understand what kind of portfolio will be appreciated by your audience and whether your desired audience is someone you would like to work with in the future. Ideally, you should construct a portfolio that speaks to all audiences and shows them what they are looking for, especially when it comes to a portfolio as detailed as product designer engineers’.
Usually, three kinds of people view your portfolio: recruiters, clients, or design managers:
- For Recruiters
The placement of your work matters a lot. You should always place your best designs at the beginning and the center to cater to recruiters that have to scan through hundreds of portfolios. They usually look at a portfolio for two to three minutes to see if your work is impactful. So, adding a short paragraph for context with your design would go a long way.
- For Clients
Your portfolio should have a section that gives an overview of your work’s technical details. This part would be ideal for your clients who need a quick view of whether you know your work or not. It would help to add value-based designs for your clients to help them understand what you would bring to their business. You should depict your strategy, process, and style through your designs.
- For Design Managers
You can showcase case studies in the last section of your portfolio for the product design engineers or managers who would like to review your work in detail. This will help them understand your process and your problem-solving skills. Adding micro animations or responsive designs will also make a great impression on your audience.
2. Show your best work.
Your portfolio is the very first introduction of yourself. It should convey why you are the best candidate for the position of product design engineer, what makes you unique, and if you can perform well. Remember, always add projects that will help you get hired.
The projects you add to your portfolio to apply to a specific job must be relevant to the company’s requirements. As a product design engineer, your portfolio must contain projects that not only highlight how talented you are but also tell your audience that you are well-equipped to face any challenges that might occur during the job.
Always go for quality over quantity. Get rid of outdated projects and replace them with fresh, visually rich content. Don’t worry about having lesser projects in your portfolio, as recruiting managers only need a few samples to make their minds about you.
3. Choose the right format.
Many designers opt for easily accessible formats like PDF, while others prefer sharing the drive link to their portfolio. Some product design engineers build their portfolios using CMS tools such as Behance, WordPress, Wix, Dribbble. Other product design engineers even choose to code their websites.
Any of these are fine as long as you consider that the person reviewing your portfolio may not want to make an extra effort to see your work, so choose a format that is accessible and easy to load. Make sure that the file is not heavy, the link is not broken, and the settings are changed to the public. If it’s a website, try to create it in the public domain. Moreover, try not to add password-protected files as it may frustrate the recruiter.
As a product design engineer, your portfolio should also be easy to navigate. It should be easy to understand and offer an enhanced user experience. Make it easy for your viewer to move around and switch from project to project. They should also see your contact information clearly in case your work interests them.
4. Demonstrate usability.
Aesthetics are essential to design, so is usability. If your work is too intricate or complex to be converted into an actual project, then it’s of no use. You must take the design principles into account before getting creative.
Make sure that it can be easily pulled off in real life. Your portfolio should consist of projects that convey how you can design products that are both beautiful and practical. Just like any other project, it is good to make sure your portfolio is easy to use, easy to navigate, has a beautiful design, offers a great user experience, and has relevant, high-quality images to go with the projects.
Double-check your portfolio to see if it has a typo or a blurry image. These careless mistakes will not be appreciated by the client. They need to know whether you can be trusted with the project or not- attention to detail is extremely important when it comes to product design.
In addition, the description given with your projects should relate to the restrictions you had to deal with while working on that project. For example, you can tell how you created an intelligent design considering the budget, time constraints, among others. This will show your recruiters that you can work under pressure and produce work that will do the job.
5. Tell The Whole Story
While it is great to feature the final designs in your portfolio, adding several step-by-step images or a short video to depict your creative process would be good. You may also add the tools you used to work on that project. This will help the person reviewing your portfolio develop an understanding of your thought process and your style.
Explain the relevance of the product and who it is for, and why they need it. You can even describe any quantitative or qualitative data you had to work with. It would be good to also share about the team involved with the product and how you faced the challenges that came up while designing- and why it was an issue in the first place.
Let us help you find the right opportunity.
Building your portfolio as a product design engineer is only a start to achieving your dream job. After you create your portfolio, use it to your advantage as you seek the career that you deserve.
You don’t need to worry much about finding the right opportunity. We at Agile WPS can match you with our clients who are hiring product design engineers. As soon as we have your perfect career match, we can also prepare you from interview up to placement. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.