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It's time to share my research from the past few years. Hopefully, this will be useful to people. Feel free to RT this tweet or any of the tips.

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1. Let's start at the beginning. Your portfolio is not your portfolio presentation. You present the latter in person or remotely. The portfolio is read alone without you in the room. Two different documents doing two different jobs.
2. Your portfolio and portfolio presentation can be closely related. Design your portfolio first. Then extract images and salient facts from it for your presentation deck. Don't use your portfolio directly. Good interviewers have already read it. It's you they want to hear.
3. Every so often, someone will write that the UX portfolio is the wrong tool. They could be right, but it doesn't matter. Hiring managers far and wide have firmly decided: If you want an interview, share your portfolio. Unless you're Sir Jonny Ive. Jonny, you don't need one.
4. Some senior UX practitioners have held on without a portfolio for a long time. I have bookmarked tweets from senior people years ago declaring that they don't have a portfolio and never will. Today, those people have portfolios. You too need a portfolio.
5. Let's say I left my home now and grabbed the first person I saw on the street (while social distancing). I could help that person create a UX-style portfolio. How? Quite easily. A UX portfolio is just a collection of stories. Everyone has stories. Especially work stories.
6. Sometimes, Senior UX managers say, 'I can't do a portfolio. I don't do design directly anymore.' Stop right there. Your role means you have different stories. Instead of design work, you can talk about how you grew your team and facilitated their work. That's exciting stuff.
7. The secret of creating an effective UX portfolio is to use the skills you've been trained in or use every day. Researcher? Discover the needs of hiring managers and deliver your findings! Designer? Understand user needs and design what meets them!
8. Another key point: You are not the primary user of your portfolio. It's for hiring managers and those involved in the hiring process. Before discussing their needs, let's look at how you can also benefit from your portfolio. That's right. *You.* Bet you're surprised now.
9. Actively maintaining a UX portfolio helps you get your stories straight. What are you going to say at a networking event when a prospective boss or client asks, 'What do you do?' These are the stories you share. Have them in your portfolio. Tell them. Hone them. Update them.
10. Mastering a skill takes not just time but reflection. Creating your portfolio will be easier if you maintain a work diary or logbook to draw from. So, start one. And now you have one, use it for reflection. Think about your work. Reflect on your craft. Develop your skills.
11. Regularly update your UX portfolio throughout your career, not just when job hunting. Over time, you may start to see patterns appear in your work preferences. You may also observe gaps in skills and knowledge. Use this information to inform your future employment decisions.
12. My mate Dave, a UX designer, agreed to meet a prospective client. He spent an hour presenting his previous work. At the very end, he was asked, ‘OK but where are all the pretty designs?’ UX portfolios clear up confusion. Don’t be like Dave. Send your portfolio as a pre-read.
13. When the first interview is just a conversation, don’t be surprised if your portfolio ends up guiding it. In fact, when putting your portfolio together, ask yourself ‘What do I want hiring managers to ask me about?’ And leave anything out that you don’t.
14. A UX portfolio can be less important if you’re the type of person who can find work through people you already know. But even in this situation, your pal can use your portfolio to justify your hire to the higher-ups. It’ll help them to easily explain your previous successes.
15. Ever heard stories of how people found their work in other people’s portfolios? I have. I dug deep and in every case I found, the plagiarist simply copied documents and UI designs. It’s much more difficult to steal stories. So, focus on stories and make them your own.
16. My occasional mentor @jmspool has said that hiring managers shouldn’t demand a UX portfolio as the best designers may not have one. He’s right, for now. But more and more designers have one, and as a candidate, do you want to be the one that doesn’t? I suspect not.
17. What is the goal of your portfolio? To get you an interview? Yes. But what does that mean? A few years ago, my friend @cjforms tweeted that a user researcher's job is to help their team learn about users. Show how you did that.
18. If you're a designer or product manager, I suggest your goal is for your portfolio to show how you helped your team design the right thing and deliver it on time.
19. If you're a manager, your goal should probably be how you helped your team of researchers and designers help their teams. And how you helped the wider organisation to deliver better products.
20. There's a secondary goal to be attached to these, and that's to convince the portfolio reviewer that they want to work with you. So, two goals: 1) To show you can do the job that the hiring manager is recruiting for, and 2) to make them feel that they want to work with you.
21. The poorest-performing UX portfolios are always those that fail to meet these goals: collections of hi-fidelity screen mock-ups or UX deliverables. Even the old industrial design portfolio style of annotated products is unsufficient. Stories are what you need.
22. There's a convention to portfolios now: An intro, 'about me' content, case studies, then additional content intended to provide a more rounded picture of the candidate. Can you do something else? Sure, but there's risk involved. Be sure your approach still meets user needs.
23. How can you uncover user needs? Well, the first step - like when you research or design anything - is to decide who your users are. If you skip this step, you're going to have trouble putting your portfolio together. Analysis paralysis is likely.
24. So, who do you want to work for? Which companies will likely deliver the outcomes you want? Who will offer the culture and values where you will feel like you belong? Startup? Corporate? Agency? What domain? Finance? Ecommerce? 'Just anyone' won't cut it.
25. Once you've decided on the type of company you want to work for, start uncovering their needs. Look at any job ads the companies have published in recent months. Get a highlighter and mark up anything significant. The main tasks, the skills and personal qualities required.
26. Done that? Good. What do your chosen companies have in common? These are the things to emphasise in your portfolio, where you have them. Don't lie or pretend. That won't help anyone. It certainly won't help you.
27. Have you identified some gaps? Are the companies requesting skills you don't currently have? How can you obtain them? A course? Voluntary activities? Mentoring?
28. Don't necessarily let these gaps put you off applying for a role, particularly if you're a woman. Most women (and some men that don't match gender norms) won't apply for a job if they don't match the requirements 100%. This is a mistake. Here, it's OK to ignore the rules.
29. For clarity: Do apply if you don't meet a job's requirements 100% but don't pretend you have any skills or experience you lack. Be in it for the long haul - find ways of getting anything missing. Genuinely have that 'growth mindset' employers often value.
30. Don't stop at analysing job ads to understand your chosen employer types. Snoop their websites and social media. What clues do they give away as to how they work and what they value?
31. Pay special attention to LinkedIn. Who is working at your chosen companies today? What was their background? Where did they work before? Do the companies favour people with particular experience? The more you can understand company needs, the better.
32. Who do you know who has worked at your chosen companies? Who do you know who knows somebody who has worked there? LinkedIn will tell you. Once you know, be bold - request a coffee or an introduction.
33. Having requested a coffee or an introduction, be organised. Prepare questions you need the answer to. Don't just sit there in awkward silence. Save that for romantic dates.
34. But also be prepared to listen. Treat it the same way you would user research. (See what I mean about using your research and design skills?) If you do most of the talking, you're wasting the opportunity.
35. Treat local UX networking events and career fairs the same way. Who is going to be at them? Who do you need to seek out? What are you going to ask them?
36. I'm not going to give you the questions to ask. They need to be relevant to you. There is no single magic formula for creating your portfolio. The most authentic portfolio is the one that reflects you. And only you can decide what that means.
37. A note for reviewers at community UX portfolio events: Start your critique by asking who their portfolio is for. If the answer lacks detail, don't waste your time. Give your mentee some pointers on how to research their users. Then move onto the next person requesting help.
38. Let's assume you're smarter than most. You know who your portfolio is for and what they need. It's time to start looking at what you have to offer in detail. That's probably going to start with an audit of your previous work.
39. I think @MandaLaceyS was the first to write about personal content audits. The article is still online at @uxmatters. You ought to check it out.
40. A few people have been kind enough to publicly share their personal content audits or portfolio plans. This one is from my faraway friend and roving UX consultant @ericscheid https://twitter.com/ericscheid/status/1093716297102221313
41. Another example: This one is from @ericaheinz. She wrote it up. Check the replies for the link. https://twitter.com/ericaheinz/status/1024756132806582274
42. At this point you should have a) an understanding of what your favoured companies are looking for, and b) a document listing evidence of what you have done before. My online course will offer tools to help bring all this together, but see the next tweet for a simple approach.
43. Take a sheet of paper. Draw a vertical line down the middle. On the left, write down the needs common to your chosen companies - one per line. Start with the most frequently requested items first. Summarise the corresponding evidence against each line on the right.
44. Now, look at the information on the right. This is the stuff your portfolio should probably emphasise. How you do this is down to you. It's how you do that which will make your portfolio your own.
45. Beware of any portfolio course or mentor that states that you must present things a certain way or in a specific order. There are rules of thumb. But your goal is to create a portfolio that speaks for you, not to create a carbon copy clone that lacks differentiation.
You can follow @ifenn.
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