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Recently I gave a talk with two fabulous women (Jacqueline Stetson and Barbara Millet) at UPA Boston on Portfolios and the need for them. The audience was a mixed group – Designers, Developers, Usability Professionals, and User Experience Designers. The primary resounding theme we found as the talk went on was the concept of “brand.”

Let’s discuss this shall we?

As a Designer / Developer / Copywriter – are you doing everything you can to truly embody and be a “brand?” When your portfolio is not up-to-date or comprehensive are you allowing yourself to expand and build your brand?

Consider this:

• What if Nike failed to update their website to allow you to buy the newest Air Jordan sneakers? Would you still want to engage with their brand? Or would you go somewhere else? I hear New Balance is delightful.

• What if Starbucks failed to announce and advertise online/via email they were bringing back pumpkin lattes so you only found out after a colleague came into the office sipping your favorite fall beverage? Would you still want to engage with their brand? Or would I see you in line at Dunkin’ Donuts? (Will you grab me an Iced Latte?)

Please keep this in mind – your portfolio and resume are the portals to your brand. Without a strong portal, it is difficult if not impossible for a client to find your brand, your message, and what you bring to the table.

But I’m a Usability Analyst and I don’t have very many samples?

Trust me – you do. Do you have photographs of your post-its you put up while brainstorming? A picture of your napkin wireframes? Those are samples. They show process. Clients LOVE to see process. Developer? Codes samples are samples, too (yes, people want to see those).

Clients typically have 2 reasons for bringing someone on to their team: 1) To make their company money, or 2) To save their company money. So in every possible way, make sure anyone who comes to your “portal” knows that you can do just that for them.

By making sure your brand is current, relevant, engaging, and ACCESSIBLE via a portfolio – this puts you a cut above the rest in the race we all call job hunting.