Professional Internship recruitment season is upon us, which also means it’s portfolio perfecting season for those applying to many of the creative opportunities within The Walt Disney Company. Internships for graphic design, photography, copywriting, video production, art direction, and more may require the submission of an electronic portfolio. Creating the perfect portfolio that will help your application stand out can be a daunting task – I know from experience!
Luckily, a variety of creative managers across the The Walt Disney Company were kind enough to share some of their best portfolio tips and tricks that I’m sure will help you on your journey to an astounding portfolio.
Let’s dive in!
- Show your process.
Although it may be tempting to display just your final piece, understanding your creative process can be more valuable to a hiring manager than seeing the final product. Process work helps the viewer understand your problem-solving abilities, your decision-making, and why you landed on your creative solution. Process work may include inspiration mood boards, drafts, sketches or wireframes. At Disney, we are storytellers. Think of your process as the story of your work!
- Be confident.
You need to believe in your skills before someone else will! However, be wary of presenting yourself as arrogant – no matter how experienced you are, there is always a new learning opportunity ahead of you. Always be open to constructive criticism, perhaps even in your interview!
- Be honest about your work and your involvement.
Remember to always give credit where credit is due and actively call out the teamwork involved in any of your projects. (Teamwork makes the dream work!) Additionally, highlight projects that you played a large part in bringing to life versus those to which you contributed much less.
- Find the perfect balance.
Efficient and compelling storytelling is your goal. Your portfolio may need to speak for itself if you are unable to present it, so be sure that you effectively communicate both your work and your personality. Aim to be concise, interesting, positive, and purposeful – don’t ramble!
- Understand your audience.
There are so many incredible creative teams across The Walt Disney Company who all work on different types of projects. If your portfolio is heavy in animation, but you’re applying for graphic design internships, you may want to reconsider the projects you’re presenting. It’s important to remember that versatility is also appreciated, so even if you’re applying for publication design, supplemental skills like photography, illustration and motion graphics could be shared. The supplemental skills can show that you have the ability to develop your ideas across multiple mediums.
- Make it personal.
Passion often shows itself outside of work, so don’t be afraid to share your passion projects in your portfolio! If you’ve created personal illustrations, invitations for a family Christmas party, or a video that highlights a vacation, include these projects, so long as the quality can stand up to the rest of your projects. Your passion projects are a great illustration of how you are able to express your creativity.
- The “Wow Factor”.
You’ll want to try your hardest to ensure that your portfolio will stand out from all the other applicants. Creating a personal brand, impactful specific company-inspired work, or a leave-behind piece can all impress a hiring manager. Creativity is key here – be sure to think outside the box.
- Keep updating!
Walt once said, “Disneyland will never be complete”. Similarly, a portfolio is never complete! Be sure to continually update your portfolio throughout your professional career. Ideally, you should aim to update your portfolio each time you update your résumé.
I hope these tips will help you submit a creative portfolio you can be proud of! Good luck, and happy creating!