You understand the value of a good portfolio because you want to stand out in the crowded job market. Now, you are in the process of coming up with one but are not quite sure what you need to include, to make it unique and attractive. You have come across varying opinions on what to have, and are finding the task very challenging. If you are currently in this situation, our article below will let you know how to make a portfolio page and what you must include in your portfolio.
Why Do You Need a Good Portfolio?
A good portfolio is what your potential clients will use to determine whether you are the right person to work with. It will showcase the kind of work you can do, and you must, therefore, be very particular about what you include. You must also be creative and present your work in an easy to digest manner. For creatives, the first impression is critical to whether or not you land a project. Your portfolio is your voice, and the primary tool you will use to sell yourself.
What Are the Key Components of a Good Portfolio?
Coming up with a good portfolio takes time and effort. When you are working on one, ensure you include the following:
1. A Section About You
Having a section about you is critical because the client will want to know who they are dealing with. Present yourself and your credentials, in an exciting manner. Highlight the essential things you want a client to know, without going into too much personal detail. Use it as an opportunity to show why you like your industry. Highlight how you hope to contribute to it. It is also the place to talk about your experience, and why you are the best person for the client to have on board. Be personable and avoid coming through as arrogant or a brag. Let your work speak for itself instead, because that is basically what the client would be interested in.
Also seriously consider having your photograph on the portfolio. People like to put a face to whoever they are talking to, and you should, therefore, invest in an excellent picture to include. Be careful about the type of photo you upload; it must present you as someone who looks professional. Avoid informal photographs or selfies, because they do not show that you are very serious.
2. A Section About Your Skills
Your portfolio is the perfect place to show exactly what it is you do. See how best to describe yourself, let the person looking at your portfolio know from the very beginning what you are bringing on the table. Whether you are a designer or copywriter, among others, there are keywords you must use to describe yourself. Every creative is unique in how they work, and you must include this in your portfolio. If, for example, you require the client to fill in a client brief, you should let them know from the outset so that they understand your processes.
Your rate card is also essential, and you must try to be transparent and very clear in your fee break down. It will help avoid a lot of back-and-forth with the clients if they do not understand your pricing structure.
3. Work Samples
Your portfolio must include a section that has samples of your work, which you will show your prospective clients. In this section, you should focus more on quality rather than quantity. No one has the time to go through 20 or 30 work samples. You should, therefore, focus on a maximum of five or less. Pick the work that truly represents what you can do and make it specific to the type of work you are pitching for.
Together with this work sample, you should put in your resume for any client who may want more information about you. Remember your portfolio can only highlight so much, and so the resume becomes critical in passing on additional information. Your resume must have relevant details such as your skills, education level, and hobbies, among others. You must also highlight the jobs you have had in the past. Also, show how the experience you managed to gain can help in your current position. If the roles had no relevance to what you are currently doing, then you can consider leaving them out.
4. Include Testimonials from Other Clients
You have no better way to sell your services than to show what other clients think of your work. Testimonials are a powerful tool because it is all about third party endorsement. Client feedback is more potent than you talking about your level of skill. With the current client’s permission, share the contact details with the prospective client if they ask. They may want to get more information about your work from an existing client.
If you have ever won an award for any of the jobs, it must have a very prominent place in your portfolio. Industry category awards are fantastic because it shows that you can compete with the best. If you showcase your work in exhibitions, then you must include this in your portfolio, and invite your potential client to see what you have to offer.
5. Contact Details
It will beat the purpose of creating a portfolio if you do not include a contact page. If possible, have your contact details on each page of your portfolio. Include multiple ways of getting in touch with you, including phone, email, and chat, among others. Also, make sure you have a contact form that your online visitor can fill so that you start generating your email list.
Your portfolio is a marketing tool, and it must, therefore, have a Call to Action. Create a sense of urgency through the use of calling me,’’ get in touch’, hire me, among others.
6. Have A Logo
As a creative, it would be hard for you to convince a potential client that you can work on their logo if you do not even have one yourself. The logo is also branding for your company. Include a good tagline that gives information about you at a glance.
7. The Design of Your Site is Critical
Yes, you are creative, and you can come up with some fantastic designs. You must, however, be careful about how you do it on your portfolio. Strive for simplicity, while ensuring that your site stands out. Clean lines and clean pages attract and keep attention, much more than cluttered sites that look like a mishmash of colors.
You must also ensure that the visitor on your website has an excellent user experience. Check that it is easy to navigate the pages. The page loading speed has a significant role to play on how long people will spend on your website. You must also optimize for mobile. Anyone who is trying to access your site on a mobile device should have the same experience as someone who is using a desktop.
Useful Read: Portfolio Design: Do’s and Don’ts
8. Include Your Social Media Accounts
Social media has made it possible for individuals to access broad audiences without spending too much money. As a creative, it pays to link your portfolio to all your social media accounts. LinkedIn is fantastic for anyone who is in the job market because it is a professional network. Be active on the accounts, and keep on updating your portfolio so that you show the latest projects you have been working on. You will also find industry-specific platforms or networks that you must join.
Once you link your social media to your portfolio, you should be very careful about the kind of content you post. You do not want a potential client seeing you rant about a topic. You also do not want them to access pictures that you did during your free time that is strictly for your friends. Check your privacy options or consider separate accounts for work and play.
9. Consider Blogging
Think about blogging so that you share your experience with the audiences. While initially, you may find it time-consuming and a challenging task, the results are worth it. Work on engaging content, but most importantly, have a good understanding of what your target audience likes to interact with. Do your research so that you become the go-to source for information. The more exciting blogs you generate; the more visitors you will have to your website. You will then rank favorably on the search engines.
You must also incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) by using the right keywords. It will make it easier for search engines to find you. It will also help you to grow an organic audience.
10. Vlogging is also a Good Idea
Not everyone can sit down and come up with engaging written content. Your talent may lie in generating unique and exciting video content. Depending on your area of expertise, and an understanding of what your target audience likes, you have massive opportunities on platforms such as YouTube. You must, however, remember that you are competing with very many other people and so your content has to be outstanding. Also, ensure that you schedule your posts; otherwise, you will lose traffic because no one wants to wait forever for a vlogger to post content.
11. Other interests
If you have other interests that could be of value, then you must include them in your portfolio. You could, for example, take part in community jobs as a volunteer, and can add this as part of your resume. You may, for instance, be a graphic designer, and some of the volunteer work you have done is to come up with branding designs for the local children’s home. Such work has direct relevance to graphic design, and would, therefore, be a fantastic component to include.
12. Tell Your Story
When you are showcasing your work, remember to talk about the thought process behind what you are doing. Have an exciting story that walks the client through from the beginning to the end of your project. You must let the client see your project from your perspective so that they better understand what you are trying to communicate. You should also show how you took into consideration the existing clients brief. Talk about how you worked together, to come up with a fantastic piece of work. It will show that you have a creative edge, but also ensure that you include your client in every step of the way.
You must also find a way to demonstrate or quantify the value you bring to the table. If, for example, you are developing the content for a social media account, you can give tangible results. such results could be “I managed to grow their organic community by more than 50% within six months,”
13. Other Things to Include
When working on your portfolio think about including things such as:
– Any leadership position you may have had in the past
– The number of people who you have managed to oversee
– If you have been instrumental in setting up any networking groups
– If you have participated in any industry events, for example, being a speaker at a conference
– If you have heard any guest appearances on television shows radio shows magazines among others
We have shared with you some fantastic ideas on some of the elements you need to include in your portfolio. Remember your portfolio is the first impression a client has about you and your work. You must, therefore, be very careful about the things you include. Only have what works to your favor as part of your material. You must always put yourself in the potential client’s shoes and think about what you would want to see in a portfolio. Do your research to ensure that you are applying some of the best practices for coming up with the perfect one.
You must also ensure that your online portfolio is easy to navigate and that the online visitor has a fantastic experience on your website. Optimize for mobile and think about Search Engine Optimization so that anytime someone types in a keyword-relevant to your industry, you always come up first.