Sampler Portfolio?

Hi all- As I search and apply to various ID jobs, most listings ask for a portfolio to accompany your cover letter/e-mail. I have been in the process now of fixing up my current pdf sampler portfolio and thought you guys would have a lot of great advice on this. I know I want to send something great to my potential employer, but at the same time I don’t want to put my whole portfolio there and have nothing to talk about when I do get the call in to interview. I’ve been thinking on this and think perhaps the best ‘recipe’ for a sampler portfolio to be something like this: 1-2 projects “in depth” (shows problem, sketches, development and solution), have 2-3 pages of “show case” (pretty pics of my final pieces from other projects, no process shown) and 2-3 pages of sketch/CAD ability. I’m really curious as to what other people send out with their cover letters, if anyone cares to share their sampler portolfios please do post them! Your thoughts and advice are appreciated, thanks!

In the prehistoric years, when I looked for my first job, I sent a physical teaser, resume, and cover letter by mail and followed up with a call. In those days, schools weren’t turning out as many graduates. Also, the market, while not great, was better than it is now. Even then, not everyone replied to my applications. Now you can bet that any job you are applying to is getting HUNDREDS or more applications. So you need to stand out as an applicant. Many companies are pre-screening you on your portfolio because there aren’t enough hours in the day to interview you all. This means that you won’t get a call (in some cases you’ll never hear from them ever again) unless you do it right the first time and stand out in some positive fashion (don’t get me started on the “Naked Guy” portfolio). So, rule number 1 is to follow the job ad’s directions on applying! Seems simple but 50% of the applicants don’t do this.

So, here is your answer: It depends on the job application. You need to follow the application directions.

Some people are only looking for teasers. Send a teaser to them! Simple.

Some people request a complete portfolio. You can upload it to an ftp site, use a company like, whatever. In this case don’t forget to send your background sketches (the bad ideas too), mock ups, etc. One guy send me 5 emails consecutively. Whatever - it worked. There’s plenty for us to still interview you on. Don’t worry.

Why would anyone want to hire someone that can’t follow basic instructions? I hope this helps. Best of luck to you all.