How do you handle NDAs while still trying to maintain a well-rounded portfolio?

over 3 years ago from

My current employer had me sign a non-disclosure agreement when I first started working for them. A majority of the work I've done has been client-based so it totally makes sense.

However, now that I'm looking for a new gig and trying to update my portfolio, I'm finding it difficult to round it out with more substantial projects (My current portfolio has a lot of personal/just-for-fun type of work.) What are the best-practices for showing NDA protected work to potential employers?

Some suggestions that I've heard from family/friends:

  • Keep portfolio, but show potential employers your NDA work from your laptop during in-person interviews.

  • Password protect your portfolio (Not a fan of this option because I feel like it might shut out a lot of people that are curious about my work.)


  • Account deleted over 3 years ago

    I've done the former before. I had a presentation set up on an iPad I brought and handed it over to them while we talked. They could flip through things and I simply took the iPad back when leaving. I prefer tis method for a few reasons:

    1. There is nothing live on the internet at all - even password protected.
    2. I can control what I show depending on the audience.
    3. It makes for a better meeting. As a collective whole we (me and the presentation) tell a story. I can talk about specific challenges or process in real-time with a live human being, versus sending off a link of work where there is a much more disconnected experience in terms of talking about process/results/etc.

    A friend of mine has teased things in the past... showing logos for the different brands he did work on.... and had a disclaimer on his site to the effect of, "feel free reach out to me to arrange a time to talk and see more of my work". I do something similar to this on part of my current site as well. I've done work for some companies I can't show, but still let people know I did work for them by showing their logos.

    3 points
    • D. M., over 3 years ago

      I think this is a great compromise. I like the idea of teasing companies you've worked with without showing the work on the website.

      0 points
  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, over 3 years ago

    Read the NDA if you haven't already.

    I've been hit with this recently and when I re-read the NDAs I realized the projects were only under wraps until they were public.

    Once the work was in public domain (launched, announced, etc) we were then able to discuss and talk about the project freely.

    It's usually in an area that discusses the instances in which the NDA is terminated.

    2 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      Interesting. The NDA seems pretty strict. There is some type of written permission that's required.

      0 points
      • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, over 3 years ago

        Even if the project/work is over or has been made public?

        If anything I'd say read the whole thing. (Only making an assumption cause you said "seemed").

        And lastly, if its still is really strict then talk to the company to have them resolve it. Nothing wrong with a little bit of negotiations

        0 points
  • Michael Senkow, over 3 years ago

    5 years of working, noones cared?.....

    0 points
  • Luan GjokajLuan Gjokaj, over 3 years ago

    What else you could do is work always on side projects and keep making cool stuff constantly, so you’ll always have something to show

    0 points
    • Account deleted over 3 years ago

      Heh. Unless a chunk of your side projects are the ones under NDA... :-)

      0 points
  • Greg BowenGreg Bowen, over 3 years ago

    Most NDAs protect IP that is not known to the public, so if it is a website, I think that is OK. I have also had good luck asking employers to share work that is not ready for public release in private emails to drum up work.

    As an aside, I won't sign NDAs that do not have a term, usually two years.

    0 points