Tip Tuesday: Online Portfolios

Students who are pursuing creative careers should definitely have their own website portfolio where they can feature their work and also have something to share with employers while internship/job searching. Whether you are pursuing photography or writing, if you have creative content that displays your skills, talent, and experience, a portfolio is an absolute must. Creating a web portfolio is also a great idea if you are interested in freelancing or taking on personal clients who are interested in your work.

Oftentimes I get questions on what should be in a portfolio and what resources are out there for guidance. Here are a few things to get you started with your creative portfolio.

Platforms

First, you need to find somewhere to build your online professional base. There are a variety of free and easy to use options like WordPress.com, Wix, and Weebly. They offer a variety of website templates and themes. For a unique look, pre-made design templates can usually be purchased at a reasonable cost and come with easy installation guides. There are also some sites designed specifically for writing portfolios including clippings.me, Pressfolios, Journo Portfolio, and Contently. If you want to go the extra mile, consider purchasing your own domain name like http://www.sallyspider.com so people can easily find your site. Most sites have a feature where you can easily purchase and create your domain name through the platform.

Content

On your site you will want to feature your best work. If your trade is photography, then share the top 10-15 photos you have ever taken. Show versatility like movement, animals, people, landscapes, etc. You can always share a link to flickr or another photo sharing site for people to view more of your work. For those with a writing craft, curating a sample of different pieces, with short explanations of what the piece was for, is helpful. For example, was this a topical essay written for class or an article you authored for a school publication? Give your audience background on your work.

Highlight Yourself

While your portfolio’s goal is to showcase your work, it is also a place for people to learn more about you. Who is the person behind this great work? Create an “About” page or section that shares information about you, your education, experience, and passion for your craft. Some people will even post a PDF copy of their resume on their portfolio and, of course, contact information should someone be interested in you and your work. Do not be afraid to share what you are looking for, even if that’s searching for a full-time job or freelance work.

Keep it Current

As soon as you have an online presence it is vital to keep things fresh and up-to-date. Add new pieces of work, share information about anywhere that your work is published or featured, and make sure your contact information stays accurate. If you want to create an active presence on the internet and really give your audience the opportunity to know you, consider adding a blog section to your site. This is where you can share your own knowledge and expertise of your field, feature updates about your work, and establish a community that cares about your work. Most of the sites mentioned above have the ability for you to keep a blog.

Research

To get some ideas, consider taking a look at different portfolios you can find online. Check out 99 Remarkable Photographer’s Portfolios, 40 Brilliant Design Portfolios to Inspire You, and 10 Writer Websites that Kick Butt and Get Clients. If you do not feel comfortable creating and maintaining a website, there are an incredible amount of “how-to” articles that you can find online to help you along the way. A few to start with are Writing Portfolios: A How-To Guide10 Steps to Building a Photography Portfolio You’re Proud Of, and 6 Presentation Tips for Your Graphic Design Portfolio.

To get feedback on your portfolio we would encourage you to seek out a professional or mentor in your field who can give you direct and specific advice.

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