Efficient Portfolio Sample Sheets - standard vs. custom

I am going crazy spending tons of time modifying my portfolio pdf sample sheets for each job application. I assemble all in AI or Indesign and output as pdf. What I am finding, because I’ve done a lot of different projects is that I spend a lot of time tailoring the content to each job and want to put more than less in, I am also up against the size limit, resolution and deciding focus vs. breadth.

Do members agree that I must tailor content to the job ad (like a resume) or can I get away with a “standard one size fits all” that shows breadth through a range of projects?

Does anyone use one of those pdf editors that allows you to edit pdfs directly instead of having to edit the AI or Indesign source doc. and re-write a pdf? If yes, which one, does it work well?

I’ve been doing a standard fits all approach for the past 4 years and it has never worked out. This year I am going for depth, not breadth. I am targetting a few firms (5 or 6) and really laying on the custom portfolios based on their design philosophies.

Adobe Acrobat works great for quick edits, but is a pain to use in the long run. What’s wrong with just reexporting? Indesign CS5 supports background exporting so there’s no real reason for you not to do that.

hey, thanks for the quick reply. I’m using CS3. I tried looking up background exporting in Indesign - did not see it. What is it?

I just discovered the import only a particular page option of the pdf if it wasn’t created with one of those low-cost pdf printers. So it is easier to pick the page out of other portfolio sheets. Indesign seems to re-export the pdf pretty well without a lot of loss.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people who look at these sheets just do a gloss over, so if you’ve done a lot of kids stuff, but it is in different materials and interesting mechanics, problem solving, they just label it as “ok he designs for kids” - they don’t see how it can translate? I hope I’m wrong.

I know every profession has its ups and downs, but ID gives you a lot of homework, with this portfolio creation, upkeep and repurposing into new formats, and customizing thing. I’m exhausted of it.

I tend to go with a fixed format and content, but just customize which sheets I pull or re-order accordingly. I have a master indesign file with 80+ pages of process stuff, and will just go through and export what I need in whatever order based on the demand.

I also have a more fixed mini-portfolio that has more text and tells the story of who I am this. This way I can have a well written, concise, content rich device to communicate the overview and custom generate process and samples to back it up based on the need. I also be sure to constantly add to my master Indesign doc every time I complete something that I can show so it’s super easy to pull samples as need be on the fly.