You are more than a collection of skills. When you start interviewing with employers, they also want to see who you are as a person—after all, they’ll be with you and you’ll be with them for eight-plus hours each workday. Now this might seem a bit like you’re revealing too much, or maybe you’d rather be a chameleon and blend in with the environment to fit in. Don’t.
In addition to your skills, you’re hired for your opinion—your views and your unique perspective that you’ve been honing all your life. Of course, there’s a subtle art to showing your personality strategically, as you don’t want to go overboard by revealing everything all at once. Focus on things that are unique, relevant, and that people can relate to.
As part of my portfolio I would sometimes include photos of dishes I made in the past to tell a more compelling story of cooking and design:
Figure: Food as Portfolio Work
In the past I’ve seen designers show hobbies, such as:
Cooking, which is a nice metaphor for design—you can be making something based on a recipe or you can create something new based on the underlying science and principles.
Visiting museums and new exhibits.
Sketchnoting at events and conferences.
Drawing and illustration.
Here’s an example.
I love exploring real and imaginary spaces like food, alternate reality experiences, cycling, movies, and TV. In early 2013, I successfully raised Kickstarter funds for a book about ice cream around the world. The book was released January 2016. I traveled to 7 countries and interviewed over 60 ice cream shops. My favorite ice cream flavor is goat cheese ice cream with roasted cherries.Jennifer Ng
Now that’s dedication!
The point is not to start going to museums, eating ice cream, and sketchnoting tomorrow. Highlight a hobby that you’re already passionate about, one that will resonate with others and help them connect to you on a human level.