How to discover what makes me stand out to an employer?

Hi there,

I’m a recent ID grad who just relocated from midwest to west coast with a few internships under my belt feeling really stuck. I’ve gotten some great feedback on my portfolio and am still working to add a few personal projects to show more of my skill. But I’m not getting any traction at all on applications for junior ID design positions/internships.

Moving forward I’ve been trying to address “What makes me stand out, and what could I contribute to the team” generally in my work, but I’ve been stuck in this question for about a month. I know there is something awesome here I have to give. And when ever I go to write these things down they just sound cliche or blurry. Any Ideas on how I can pull out what I have to offer rather then just thinking about it?

Here’s a link to my website: Rachel Abela

To start off positive: Overall your portfolio reads fairly well, and the projects that you do elaborate on seem fine.

With that said, you show 6 projects.

Your 3 bottom row projects offer me nothing in terms of why I should hire you. You show a single page app screenshot and a loading screen - neither of which give me any indication you have actually done what you say you’ve done on the right hand side (If you lead research, wireframes, and flows, show me artifacts from that process).

Sprinklers are from a past life, therefore why do I care?

The packaging exercise is supplemental at best. Unless you have more details you can share about all the different variations you went through, it does not come off as showing any particular strengths.

With the harsher bit out of the way, your top three projects seem to be reasonably well thought out and documented. But as an employer I would ask myself “did you only get 3 good projects out of a 4 year education?” and “where would you be strong to hire?”.

You show a number of internships on your resume, I would hope that all of those internships had some collateral you would be able to use in your portfolio, if not on the web then at least in private presentations and email.

Long story short, you discuss a lot of content that is not shown. So if you feel like you aren’t getting traction and have all these skills and experience you need to make your portfolio wow me more. Put in more projects, more compelling imagery, and if there are holes in your story then make up the filler to stitch it all together. Otherwise, it comes off as a red flag that either: You’re lying about what you’ve done, you’ve not actually produced any of those artifacts, or you haven’t bothered to document your process properly.