Whichever point in your career you may be at, your online portfolio is your professional lifeline in the digital age. For those in creative jobs, your portfolio is a physical realisation of ingenuity; therefore you need to nourish it. These top 10 tips will help you kick-start the process of breathing life back into your work.
1. Exclude work that doesn’t showcase your current ability
Leave out the pieces of work that don’t represent the standard of work you do now. “First-evers” should be left in the nostalgia of your bedroom. You should have a minimum of five brilliant pieces.
2. Show the work you want to get
Every 3 years you should strip out old work to create an accurate perception of what kind of work you wish to do in the future. Remember to strike a balance between showing a latitude of skills and creating a holistic impression of your work. Just as marketers target markets, you should too. Don’t create a Jack-of-All-Trades reputation; it will only make finding new opportunities more difficult. For instance, if you are in content marketing but wish to focus primarily on social media jobs, include at least three examples of successful social media projects you’ve worked on.
3. Compile your portfolio logically
Compile your work logically, either chronologically or by theme. Chronologically is often best as you can have a highlights section to give an overall impression of the range of abilities and styles you have.
4. Keep things simple and easy to digest
Don’t allow your website to take attention away from your work. The website is simply there to store your creative portfolio. Creating over-elaborate layouts can attract the viewers attention, taking the shine off the projects you’re actually trying to showcase. Wix and Flickr are cheap, user-friendly and flexible platforms, which are created with designers in mind. Keep it clean, keep it fresh and keep it minimalist!
5. Ensure employers can find your work fast
On average, users won’t wait for more than 1 minute before abandoning the task of finding your work. It’s therefore important to make sure the paths to your work are visible and short. If you choose a more advanced hosting and website option, ensure the speed of page loading isn’t sleep-inducing speed.
6. Keep your portfolio fresh with new projects
Whenever you finish a project (and once you have caught up on sleep), ensure you upload it. This gives you a sneaky excuse to email a potential or previous employer and share your latest air-punching moment. Aside from the desire to brag, you could bring in new work instantaneously.
7. Use social media to your advantage
Place your work on a blog tied to your website and then distribute it regularly on social media to gain feedback. Crowdsourced opinion can help you decide which pieces to put in your online portfolio. If you haven’t worked with big brands, you can leverage public support to help you step up professionally. There are platforms specifically suited to designers and industry discussion.
8. Take criticism of your work constructively
Say goodbye to the box of tissues. Trolls and the online public can be harsh – it’s much easier to be critical when there is no face-to-face communication and a computer screen to hide behind. That said, do take negative opinions into consideration, but know when to defend your work.
9. Tell the story behind the work in your portfolio
People often like to know the thought process behind your work. You can use this to bolster your future success. Explain the background of each project included in your portfolio. If it was commissioned on behalf of a well-known brand, mention it.
10. Don’t forget the basics
It seems ridiculous to mention but some people do forget. Always provide your contact details, make them easy to find and offer multiple ways to get in touch.
Working in a creative industry means you have the ability to rebrand, rediscover and target the companies and projects you work with. Apply with a link to your digital portfolio to Salt Recruitment, we’ll find the right company for you!