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Other newsletters in the A+ Portfolio series:

It’s 100% possible to be paid or hired to do something you love. Even if you don’t have the qualifications for it.

I was offered a full-time graphic designer position at a company eventhough I didn’t have a degree for graphic design. (I still feel kinda flattered when I think of it.)

I'm not saying getting formal qualifications for something is a waste of time. Only that a lot of us didn't get to study the actual thing we want to be doing at school. BUT THERE'S STILL HOPE!

All you need to do is to put yourself out there and show that you’re a rocking __(insert title here)__ and you’re THE person people want to hire / pay in a truly A+ portfolio!

So in this email, we’re going to look at the second most important thing that you should put in your A+ portfolio:

Show off your creativity with your Creative Process.

OK, the term “creative process” is somewhat misleading. It’s hard to explain creativity. It’s a product of your thoughts. If you’re a visual person, it’s even harder to put the ‘magic’ into words.

But for your portfolio, what prospective customers and bosses want to see is how you apply creativity to the technical process.

They want to see how you do what you do. Not at the two-hour-documentary level, but this-person-knows-what-she’s-doing level.

I’ll give you an example so we’re on the same page.

Let’s say I’m a cake artist. (Sorry, I have a thing for cakes. If you want me to use other examples next time, let me know!)

My technical process when baking a cake is like this:

  1. Receive inquiry from client for a cake.
  2. Find out client’s needs and objectives. (This is the info-gathering process from the last email!)
  3. Prepare ingredients for cake batter.
  4. Mix ingredients.
  5. Bake cake batter.
  6. Measure and prepare cake frosting.
  7. Frost cake.
  8. Decorate!

How this could look like on my portfolio is something like this:

I got an email from Miss Nurul who wanted a cake for her bestfriend’s birthday party. I sent her a list of questions to find out what kind of cake will suit her party.

Among the questions I asked were:

  • Is there a theme for the party? Or theme colours?
  • What kind of flavours does your friend prefer?
  • Do you want a short cake or a tall cake?

After she replied with answers, I suggested my special Lemon Berry cake because it has wonderful strong flavours and looks great too! She agreed and I got to work.

I got started by preparing the ingredients. Since she wanted a tall, slim cake, I reduced the measurements by ⅓.

(Picture of ingredients)

.....

As you can see, I first explained my Info-Gathering Process by stating the questions that I asked the client.

Then, I wrote about how the client's answers influenced how I carry out the technical process of baking a cake. I explained how I used my creativity to make sure that the client will get the perfect cake for her party!

You don't even need that many words when you have photos. They'll do the talking too! Include as many photos as necessary to guide the reader through your process.

Should you include your Creative Process for EVERY work or project on your portfolio?

YES.

This is what you should put in your portfolio, every. single. time. you bake a new cake. (Or have a new work / project)

  • If the process is the same for every cake, why should I include it for every cake? Won't it be REPETITIVE and BORING?
  • Can’t I just say, “If you want to see me prepare the frosting, go to this other post!”?
  • Can’t I just say, "This is a photo of the cake I just baked. For the full process, go to my firrrrrssssst post. Thanks!"

My answer is NO, NO, and PLS NO.

Don't assume that people WANT and WILL click to other posts that you direct them to. Most people won't bother.

That means that if you don't explain your Info-Gathering Process + Creative Process in that exact post that they're reading, they're going to think that you don't have any process.

So it's safer and wiser to explain your process everytime you update your portfolio.

If people don't see you explain your process, the overall impression that they get from you would be very AVERAGE.

But if you DO explain your process every single time:

  1. You’ll look consistent, i.e. You do certain things the same way so that you achieve the same awesome results for every cake.
  2. You’ll look responsible, i.e. You put in the same effort for every cake.
  3. You’ll build a reputation, i.e. Certain things only YOU do or say will establish your very own personal brand as a cake artist. (More on this in the next email!)

In short, to look like you have some mad skills, you have to show off those mad skills!

I won’t lie, documenting your process in your portfolio needs more effort than just posting a SINGLE photo on social media. But the effort will be so worth it.

You'll build the reputation of being professional and skilled -- exactly the kind of person people want to pay / hire! 😉

We’ll look at how you can maximise your portfolio to build a personal brand next Friday. In the meantime, think about all the creative projects you can do when you’re rich and famous.

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