Is it more important for a portfolio to capture interest or demonstrate specific skills?

As a very experienced UXer, I’m trying to figure out if my portfolio should focus more on interesting design decisions to capture attention, or demonstrating my skillset to check off job requirements. Ideally it would be both, but keeping my case studies succinct means having to prioritize one or the other.

My personal instinct is to be interesting to get a recruiter or hiring manager want to engage more deeply. As someone who does have a lot of experience and some prestigious clients, I’m guessing my ability to research, wireframe, prototype, test, and collaborate will be assumed.

There’s a catch to all this though. I’m working to get back into UX after a 7 year hiatus and even though the high-level design thinking and process haven’t changed, tools and standards have. Additionally, ungated boot camps have flooded the industry with untried UXers, which I think means that recruiters and hiring managers aren’t taking core skills for granted and need to see these explicitly addressed in portfolios.

So this brings me back to asking myself: Should my portfolio focus more on being interesting or demonstrating specific skills? Or from a different angle, how much does it matter that the work in my case studies is very dated now? I think this may come down to the type of role I can get after being out of the field for so long, with more senior level jobs being a better match for a portfolio that focuses on interesting thinking and problem solving, and more junior level ones a fit for demonstrations of specific skills.

Any thoughts? This question has been on my mind for few days now. I’d appreciate any insights you can provide!

By the condition that you mention, coming back after 7 years hiatus really is not easy. And from that perspective, I agree that the only thing thats changing is the technology, the principles, method will stay the same. Therefore for a perfect restart, I suggest creating a portfolio that highlights more on your interest, more on your personality, showcase some of your best work, your thought process

It really depends on what kind of role you are looking for. I think it’s best to focus on both interesting thinking and problem solving as well as demonstrating specific skills.

both capturing interest and demonstrating specific skills are important aspects of a portfolio, and the balance between the two may vary depending on the purpose of the portfolio. For a professional portfolio, demonstrating specific skills is likely to be the primary objective, while for a creative portfolio or a portfolio for job-seeking purposes, capturing interest becomes more important. The best approach is to strike a balance between the two by creating a visually appealing portfolio that showcases the individual’s unique style, creativity, and personality, as well as their abilities and achievements.