A portfolio is one of the essential tools for showcasing your skills, experience, and accomplishments to potential clients, employers, or collaborators. It is an organized and curated collection of your best work, highlighting your expertise and demonstrating your value. Creating a portfolio can seem daunting, but with the correct guidance and approach, you can create a compelling portfolio that will help you stand out in a crowded field. Below, we’ll cover the essential elements for creating a portfolio that showcases your strengths and impresses your audience.
Define your purpose
No two portfolios are the same. Nor should they be. For each purpose, there is a different goal, a different audience. As such, you should be dealing with your material in a different way, adding the right work to the portfolio to suit that goal and that audience.
The first step in creating a portfolio is to determine its purpose. Are you looking to showcase your design skills, writing ability, or development expertise? Are you targeting potential clients, employers, or collaborators? Once you have a clear understanding of your portfolio’s purpose, you can tailor your content and presentation to suit your audience.
The people looking at your portfolio will want to understand it quickly. If you put the ‘wrong’ work in – ‘wrong’ being a subjective thing, a different thing to you and a different thing for them – they may have to do extra work to understand its inclusion or will simply disregard it. You may earn the right to have this ‘wrong’ work in your portfolio if you have everything before it be ‘right’, but it has to be a careful consideration, one that will land in a meaningful way as you intended.
Choose The Right Platform
Multiple platforms are available for hosting your portfolio, such as a personal website, Behance, Dribbble, or LinkedIn. Choose the platform that best suits your needs and target audience. Consider the platform’s features, ease of use, and audience reach. Consider, however, that the somewhat now old-school physical portfolios are just as effective as online and digital ones. Businesses and self-employed workers who regularly meet with potential clients and have active brand social media accounts will benefit from looking at websites like mysocialbook.com – from there, you can download your best work and create a personalized portfolio book to showcase your best work.
While many will favour the digital delivery of portfolios, the physicality of a portfolio can’t be overlooked or overstated. Be able to manipulate the work between your hands – change the angle, get closer, go into different lightings, move on and revisit work – is an experience that can’t be replicated digitally. This experience can be seen in the continued love for and gifting of photo books. Be able to take the digitally shared Facebook and Instagram photos and have them printed in a photo book to be to-hand on a shelf, trunk, or coffee table is a timeless thing. The same thing applies for taking a portfolio to a job interview – your potential employer could have a better experience with your work if its in a physical form they can manipulate.
Choose Your Best Work
It’s common knowledge that your portfolio should only include your best work. Select pieces that showcase your unique style, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Be selective and curate your work to ensure your portfolio showcases your strengths and expertise.
You want to make an impression. What your best work is will depend on the purpose you defined – or had defined for you. Not all work will suit all purposes. But don’t include work you’re not convinced on. While you will want to meet the minimum required quantity for the portfolio, you don’t want to flood the portfolio with work that doesn’t justify itself to you or your potential employer, collaborator, friend – whoever is receiving your portfolio.
Organize Your Work
Once you have selected your best work, organize it clearly and cohesively. Group similar pieces together and arrange them in a logical order. Consider using categories or themes to help guide your audience through your portfolio.
The purpose, obviously, will do a lot of heavy lifting for which work has been included in your portfolio, but the order is equally crucial. You have to remember that each piece’s position in an order has an impact on the rest. None will stand in isolation. It’s impossible to cut a connection. What has come before a piece will light it up just as it will light up what will come after. With a physical portfolio, it will be easier for the audience to flick through, be a little more liberal with the pacing and order of the portfolio, but they will understand the intent of your ordering, respect it, and take it into consideration. Think of your portfolio with grammar: the sentence structure, the punctuation, the emotion.
It’s essential to provide context for each piece in your portfolio. Explain the purpose of the project, your role in it, and the challenges you faced. Include any relevant data or metrics that demonstrate the success of the project. Providing context helps your audience understand your process and the value you bring to the table.
Show Your Diversity
While showcasing your strengths is essential, you should also look to show your range and diversity. Include work demonstrating your versatility and ability to adapt to different projects and clients. Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to take on a diverse range of challenges and deliver high-quality results.
Keep It Concise
Your portfolio should be concise and easy to navigate. Don’t overload your audience with too much information or too many pieces. Choose the key pieces demonstrating your expertise and provide enough context to help your audience understand your process and achievements.
Creating a portfolio takes time and effort, but it’s worth it to showcase your skills and achievements to potential clients, employers, or collaborators. Keep these essentials in mind when creating your portfolio, and you’ll be on your way to creating a compelling and impactful showcase of your work.