Beyond the Resume – Building Your Portfolio

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Knowing what to put in your portfolio and how to arrange it can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve gathered some of our favourite tricks for creating a portfolio that will show off your talents and make you shine.

1. Don’t include everything

We know it can be tempting to include everything you’ve done, especially if you don’t have a lot of work. But try and keep your portfolio between 10-20 pieces. This will showcase your skills without making potential employers commit an afternoon to read your portfolio. Make sure to include your strongest work and try and to keep everything current. It’s best not to include work older than two years.

2. Show off your versatility

Whether you’re a graphic designer, photographer, or a writer, being versatile is a valuable and sought-after skill. If you’re just getting your career started, chances are you’ll have to work on a variety of projects before you can be choosy. Make sure you include a diverse range of content in your portfolio to show potential clients and employers that you’re capable and adaptable.

If you’re a writer or journalist, try including different styles such as a piece of long-form writing, a piece of short breaking news coverage, a piece you wrote for your school newspaper, a multimedia story you’re proud of, or a blog post.

If you’re a photographer, try including photos shot in a variety of different lightings and settings, such as indoor and outdoor photography, low light shots, wedding or family photos, event photos and action shots, and a creative shoot you’re happy with.

If you’re a graphic designer, try including a range of work such as a poster or brochure, a website page, a business logo, an advertisement, or a corporate report.

3. Create a physical and an online version

Having a hard copy of your portfolio is just as important as having an online copy. Bring it with you to interviews so potential clients and employers can weigh the quality of your work and your personality at the same time.

When creating an online portfolio, make sure to add a biography. You can use this to communicate what your job is, how you do it, list your education and experience, and plug your social media!

Speaking of Social media, Instagram is a great way for photographers to share content and draw more viewers to your portfolio. Simply create an Instagram solely for your work and make sure you link your portfolio in the biography.

Many freelance writers and bloggers opt to design a WordPress site to house their portfolio that has both free and paid for templates to use. This can seem like a daunting task – don’t fret. There are plenty of sites available to house your online portfolio that doesn’t require you to be tech savvy. Some of those include Pinterest (an often-overlooked choice for sharing content), Journo Portfolio, Pressfolios, and Adobe Portfolio.

4. Organize!

Once you’ve chosen your favourite pieces that capture who you are and what makes your work unique, you’ll need to organize it in a way that’s eye-catching and easy to navigate. Try choosing one piece to be your main focus. Make this front and center and have all other work appear secondary. If you’re a photographer, don’t use software that makes your photos play as a slideshow. Instead, organize them in the order you’d like and let the viewer click through at their own pace.

Remember, the more you create, the more options you’ll have for your portfolio. Don’t forget to share your portfolio on job search sites and social media such as Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter. Happy Creating!

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