There was a time when creative types – writers, photographers, and designers – would go to job interviews with a physical portfolio. Today’s employers are looking online to see what people have created.
So how do you stand out from everyone else? Create a visually pleasing online portfolio that not only presents your best work, but also shows the world who you are (brand building) and what you have done.
There are several online portfolio sites, both paid and unpaid (paid sites allow you to have a customized URL) that provide various options. Once a platform has been chosen, there are several things people should do in order to stand out.
Build Your Brand
While there are a lot of designers and writers out there, there is only one you. Figure out what makes you unique and use your portfolio as a way to highlight those abilities. Include skills, interests, and hobbies. Portfolios should include a statement about who you are and what you do so that potential employers immediately understand your strengths.
Spend time on your About Me page. Include a professional photo (people are more likely to hire you if they know what you look like) and list your skills, both hard and soft. About Me pages should be easy to read and professionally designed. If you are in the multi-media business, consider using a video to promote yourself. Regardless of what your page looks like, have an outside person read your site to not only look for spelling or grammatical errors, but to ensure your messaging is clear. You want potential clients to leave your site knowing exactly what you offer – or don’t.
To Include or Not Include
If you are new to an industry, your selection may be limited. However, there is no reason not to include volunteer work or projects you have done at school if they are relevant for the career you are profiling. For those who have been in the industry longer, it’s important to remember to include your best work rather than everything you have ever created.
- Testimonials from clients, co-workers, former bosses
- Skills that go beyond technical ones
- Awards received, shows and exhibits attended, volunteer positions, speaking engagements
- An updated downloadable resume
Blog. Blogs are a great way to showcase information about yourself, present industry information and share your knowledge without asking for anything in return. Blogs also provide additional content to share on social media.
Remember the End Goal
What do you want your site to achieve? Whether you are looking to get a full-time job or increase the number of freelance clients you have, your portfolio needs to include a call to action, which is often in the form of a button directing potential clients to your contact page. Your contact page should include an email address and your social media links. Your social media platforms themselves should be clean and professional, which will help you to continue to build your personal brand.
Your online portfolio is an extension of you. Present your best and truest self and potential clients will find you.
Lisa Day | Contributing Writer