Having a professional, up-to-date portfolio is essential to any job-seeker, entrepreneur, or freelancer. With each passing year, the competition for ever-coveted positions becomes more intense, and showcasing your talents in a polished, professional portfolio is key to standing out from the crowd. While creating a portfolio from scratch requires some time and effort, the steps needed to successful make your first portfolio are outlined here in detail for your convenience.
1. Identify Your Audience
Before beginning the process of constructing your portfolio, it is essential to consider who your audience is. Knowing who you want to impress with your portfolio can effectively guide elements such as content and design. For example, if you are trying to find a position in a corporate tech industry firm, then the design and content of your portfolio should highlight functionality and innovation.
On the other hand, if you are crafting your portfolio to showcase yourself in creative circles, then you can tailor it to show off original design layout and aesthetic qualities.
2. Gather Your Materials
The second step in creating your portfolio is to gather the necessary materials for it. This includes deciding which specific accomplishments, talents, and work experience to incorporate.
You will also want to consider which other elements you should include, such as links to your website or social media accounts. Try to select things that accurately reflect your skills and qualifications. You can also choose to feature a particular range of materials for the sections within your portfolio, such as coding or graphic design pieces.
3. Plan Out a Design
Now it’s time to plan out the look and feel of your portfolio. You can choose to build a physical or digital portfolio and determine which technology you’ll use in its construction. Consider the types of platforms that would suit your materials, as well as the kind of layout design you think would help to highlight your skills and talents best.
Making sure that your portfolio is easy to navigate and understand is essential, so selecting a type of layout design that makes great use of whitespace and minimalism is a good idea.
4. Design Platform
At this stage, you will likely want to start planning out the design platform you will use to craft and publish your portfolio, as well as decide which hosting service to enlist. Your choice of platform should be based on the type of material you plan to feature in your portfolio, as well as the sort of medium you want for displaying it. Examples of popular hosting services for digital portfolios include Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace; however, there are dozens of platforms to choose from, and you should select the one that best reflects your goals and taste.
5. Developing the Portfolio
The next step to making your portfolio is to start putting it all together. This step focuses on arranging the content in logical sections, embedding some media, and deciding which elements to include from social accounts.
Make sure to include pieces that you think truly shine in their specific areas, as well as pieces that showcase your development journey. Don’t forget to incorporate some descriptions of the projects you are featuring and mention the core technologies behind them. This can give recruiters a better understanding of your technical background and work experience.
6. Testing the Portfolio
After you have created your portfolio, you will have to test it to make sure it works properly and confirms to industry standards. Most notably, you need to check how it looks on different devices to be sure that it is mobile-friendly.
Any images you have included should also be checked to ensure they are properly compressed and load quickly. If possible, you should also ask someone you trust to review the portfolio and give you feedback.
7. Sharing the Portfolio
When your portfolio is finalized and reviewed, you can begin to share it with your chosen target audience. Depending on the type of portfolio you created, this could mean sending it to employers, posting links on different forums and platforms, or showcasing your work on your website.
If you crafted a digital portfolio, you should also remember to promote it on your social media accounts and include the link in your email signature.
8. Managing Your Portfolio
Maintaining and updating your portfolio is important for it to continue to be relevant. The best way to manage it is to establish a timeline that allows you to easily review and adjust your portfolio every 3 or 6 months. This way, you can add any new relevant skill sets or work experience you have obtained.
You should also make sure to test each new version of the portfolio to bring it up to industry standards.
9. Consider Credibility Factors
As you review and make changes to the portfolio, it is a good idea to consider factors that help to increase its credibility. These include gathering professional feedback and reviews, having accurate and honest descriptions, and making sure the portfolio is updated with fresh content regularly. Adding different types of media also helps to establish credibility, providing evidence of your abilities and skills to viewers.
10. Establish Yourself as an Expert
It is important to make sure viewers of your portfolio can identify what you do and how you do it. That is why it is important to provide detailed descriptions and back up claims with evidence. This can help to establish yourself as an expert in certain fields, provide evidence of your skills, and allow recruiters and potential clients to have a better understanding of your experience and capabilities.
11. Make Your Portfolio Stand Out
While keeping your portfolio professional, don’t forget to make it stand out from the crowd. After all, your portfolio is the first step for viewers to learn about you and your work, so adding a little bit of flavor to the design and content could make the difference between standing out and blending in with the competition.
Experiment with styles, layouts, and media to submit a portfolio that showcases your full capabilities in a memorable fashion.
12. Use Different Sections
Although you may have already decided what to include in your portfolio, make sure you arrange it in an organized fashion. Break up the portfolio into sections, both in terms of content and design.
Group together achievements and experiences that are related and classically categorize them such as skills, work, education, and presentation.
13. Track Your Performance
It is important to measure the performance of your portfolio, both in terms of direct outcomes, such as hired jobs or new clients, and in terms of the response it gets from viewers. Try to collect and track data, such as the amount of time people spend looking at your portfolio, the number of clicks, or the amount of downloads for your CV. These metrics and data can be helpful for adjusting the portfolio when needed and allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of it.
Conclusion: Creating your first professional portfolio is a time-consuming task that requires several steps, from planning the design and developing the content to testing and tracking its performance. While it takes some effort to craft, having your first portfolio will help you to better stand out in the ever-growing competition for jobs and new clients.
By following the steps outlined above, you will be well on your way to creating an impressive and successful portfolio.