Does your portfolio include case studies? Whether it's a design portfolio, marketing portfolio, or another portfolio, it's crucial to add case studies that make you shine. A case study is a specific example of your work that exemplifies your skill and expertise. For example, I include case studies in my market portfolio to highlight what I can do for brands as a social media marketing specialist and content strategist. Case studies should include tangible, quantitative results to illustrate what you can achieve with your work.
It’s one thing to talk the talk and tell your audience what you can do, SHOWING them what you can do is a huge game changer! Here are a few reasons why your portfolio should include case studies:
1. Demonstrate your expertise in your niche. This is your chance for a humble brag, so use it well. Take this opportunity to clearly display your knowledge, skills, and experience. Incorporate quantitative results from a project to highlight your expertise proves you can do it.
2. Provide social proof with clear results. People want to SEE what you can do. Tell them what you can do and back it up with proof. Include stats and key performance indicators to further drive the point home. For example, you can say "I strengthen social media marketing strategies by doing XYZ."
3. Build trust with your target audience with results. When people see the results themselves, they’re more likely to be convinced and trust that you are great at what you do. What do you do when you're considering buying a new product? You read reviews online, check out their website, and ask your friends or family for advice.
How do you choose the type of case studies to include in your portfolio? The right case study is unique. It will strengthen your portfolio and serve a point to highlight a certain skill, service, or expertise. With each case study, this is an opportunity to share your story and prove that you are an expert in something or capable of a particular skill. The right case study is also tailored for the right audience. You should consider your portfolio as a project and every project has a specific end goal. What is your intention and purpose with your portfolio? Are you an artist aiming to show that you are skilled in a certain medium? Perhaps you're a photographer experienced at capturing concerts or weddings. Select the case studies that embody the best of your work depending on the scenario.
Generally speaking, I'd recommend including 3-5 of your most outstanding case studies in your portfolio. Choose the cases that best illustrate your skills and expertise. For me personally, I categorize my case studies by client; for each case study, I provide a more detailed explanation of the services I provided that client and share the quantitative results from my work. Don't feel like you have to share a large number of case studies in your portfolio; whether it's two or four, choose only the projects that serve you best. Remember: you can edit or swap case studies in your portfolio depending on the scenario, job application, or potential client.
With case studies, you want to clearly demonstrate your skills and expertise that convince others that you are capable of performing what you say. Saying "I implement strong marketing strategies for nonprofits" simply isn't enough. How do you do implement successful marketing strategies and how have your former or existing clients benefited from your work? Did the nonprofit's increase their number of donors, did your client's social media engagement rates increase because of your work? With that in mind, your case studies should exemplify your strengths with evidence to back your claims.