Job-Specific Portfolio

Hello and thanks for your time in advance.

I am heading in for a second interview with a company that makes a very specific product. Although I have experience in other realms of ID, I have not specifically spent time on their particular type of product.

My question is, I am putting together a portfolio of approx three thoroughly done projects pertaining to their type of product (let’s just say its blenders for an example). Is this too much to bring to a second interview? My goal in doing this is to convince them that I can jump in the game quickly and be on my toes in all aspects of the process.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


I would balance it with things outside of their areas of expertise but make sure ou can take that outside experience and make it relevant to them. Part of bringing someone new in is that they should have new things to offer in addition to having the ability to tackle the core needs.

Unless the new, specific-to-this-interview-stuff, is pure styling, I don’t know that it’s really worth spending the time on. At best, you’ll make a lot of assumptions about what is or isn’t important to this prospective employer. My own opinion is that you focus on the excellent work you have already done, within real constraints, and have the confidence to let that speak for itself. After all, “blenders” or whatever are probably no more challenging than any other category you’ve worked in. As long as you can demo your technical and problem solving skills, you’re golden - what difference does it make if it’s stoves or sneakers or seating? Solid is solid.

Great! Thanks guys.

I agree, the combination of bringing something different to the table as well as showing solidity are the most vital components. Unfortunately, all the work I’ve done since being out of school is off-limits for portfolio candy. Obviously my skills have improved since my student portfolio, so that is the biggest motivator behind this.

Thanks again.

I make one or two portfolio pages for each project I’ve worked on as I complete it. I keep the styling of these pages as a basic ‘house style’

When I get an enquiry, it’s then a five minute job to then throw a specific portfolio together in Adobe bridge, no messing about. I don’t have time to spend developing a new portfolio from scratch for every enquiry so this method works for me.

Shoenista--------Great strategy!


To touch base on this for anybody who might be interested in the original question:

I decided on one thoughtfully-done project that reflected the direction I knew that the company was moving in. I printed out two copies for each of the two members I was meeting with (paper-clipped, no fancy presentation), and they were able to constantly refer back to certain examples in the pages that reflected what they wanted out of their ID (they were a marketing VP and engineering VP). They appreciated knowing that I could sketch and develop the unique product they produce…

…However, nothing really compared to my original portfolio. The storylines kept them very engaged and I could tell that they were going to remember me by my original portfolio.

So I guess I can say that 30% of the work they were interested in was my ‘Job-Specific Project’, and the other 70% was my original, unedited portfolio.

I have my final interview coming up so we’ll see how it goes!

Hope this helps anybody in the future!

Thanks for the update.

I originally agreed with the feedback Yo and bcpid gave you about having a well-rounded portfolio. Showing a designer your attempts at a product they have had many years of experience with may actually highlight your naivete to the category. For instance, I could use my experience in other fields to create what I would consider ‘pretty good’ shoe designs, but a shoe designer would find several ‘newbie’ mistakes in my work. He would be more impressed with my headphones and forklifts, etc.

However, that would apply if you were being interviewed by a Design Manager.
You mentioned that the interviewers were from Marketing and Engineering, which changes everything.

You are right -they would want to see you attempt their product. And it would be a much easier situation to impress them than the one described above.
-Go for it. Create ‘blenders’ like they’ve never seen before and inspire them about the wildest possibilities. Loose sketches will probably give you the most mileage here, allowing them to ‘fill in the gaps’ of any overlooked technical issues with their imagination. Demonstrate your ability to do flashy renderings with other, less personally sensitive objects.