When applying for creative jobs such as design, development, writing or other artistic roles, showing examples of your work through a portfolio or samples is crucial. Rather than just listing your skills and experience on a resume, showcasing actual work samples allows potential employers to get a true sense of your abilities and assess if your skills are a good match for the position. In this blog post, we will discuss best practices for selecting, presenting and organizing work samples to include when submitting a job proposal or application.

Selecting Examples to Feature

The first step is choosing which pieces from your portfolio or archive of work you want to highlight. When selecting samples, consider the following:

Relevance to the Position: Pick examples that are directly related to the type of work outlined in the job description. Avoid including irrelevant or unrelated pieces.

Variety: Include a selection that demonstrates the range of your skills and experience. Multiple diverse samples are better than focusing on just one area.

Quality and Completion: Choose your best, most polished work. Published, finished projects make a stronger impression than works-in-progress.

Currency: Feature more recent work to show your current abilities. Outdated samples may give the impression skills are not up to date.

Impact: Select pieces that will leave a memorable impression and clearly showcase your strengths. Consider including samples that achieved good results.

Presenting Your Portfolio

Now that you've chosen which work to feature, it's important to present it in an organized, visually pleasing format. Here are some best practices for portfolio presentation:

Use a dedicated website or online portfolio platform: This creates a professional presentation that can be easily shared and accessed by employers.

Limit each sample: Include just one or two quality pieces per page to avoid overwhelming the viewer.

Use descriptive captions: Provide explanatory text for each sample outlining your role, the project, results, etc.

Optimize images/files for online: Compress large image and video files for quick loading on different devices and connections.

Consider different mediums: Include a mix of images, videos, PDF documents as appropriate for the work.

Add navigation: Make it easy for viewers to browse through your samples with a clear menu or pagination.

Organize logically: Group samples thematically, chronologically or by skills/mediums for a logical flow.

Proofread carefully: Ensure there are no spelling/grammar errors in captions or descriptions.

Referencing Portfolio in Proposal

When submitting a job application or proposal, be sure to reference your online portfolio. Some tips:

Include the portfolio URL: Provide a live link that can be easily clicked to view your work.

Highlight featured samples: Mention 2-3 relevant examples the hiring manager should pay extra attention to.

Explain your selection process: Note how the included samples directly relate to the position requirements.

Invite feedback: Politely ask for comments or questions about any samples from the prospective employer.

Highlight results: If any samples achieved measurable results, be sure to call those out.

Thank the viewer: Express appreciation for taking the time to look over examples of your skills and experience.

Following Up After

After submitting your proposal and portfolio link, follow up in a timely manner to answer any additional questions:

Send a thank you note: Reach out within 3 days to express gratitude for their consideration.

Ask about the timeline: Inquire politely about next steps and estimated timeline for their decision process.

Offer expanded access: Let them know you're available if a more in-depth review of your portfolio would be helpful.

Provide new insights: If you connected further with the employer, share any new thoughts based on your discussion.

Express continued interest: Thank them again for the opportunity and reiterate your enthusiasm and qualifications for the role.


Incorporating curated work samples into your job application materials allows potential employers in creative fields to directly assess your skills and fit for the position. With strategic selection, presentation and reference of relevant portfolio pieces, you can showcase your abilities and stand out among other candidates vying for the role. Proactively following up after submitting also maintains engagement with the hiring manager.

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