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The Complete Guide to Creating a Portfolio

The average duration of unemployment in December 2020 was 23.4 weeks. What’s more, 27.3% of unemployed individuals found a job in less than five weeks while nearly 20.9% found a job within 5-14 weeks.

Whether you’re a recent grad, looking to change careers, or looking for a new job, you know that the job search can be stressful. You have to constantly look for job posts, apply to them, then wait to see if they contact you back.

One thing you can do to put yourself at an advantage is to create a professional portfolio of your work. You can submit your portfolio when applying for jobs. A well-crafted portfolio allows you to show off your best work.

Want to learn more? Keep reading to learn about creating a portfolio of your work.

Who Needs a Portfolio?

Wondering if you need to create a professional portfolio for yourself? Portfolios can be useful in a variety of industries and professions.

Most commonly, portfolios are used for creative professionals such as graphic designers or photographers. They are used to showcase a creative professional’s best work.

However, other types of professionals can benefit from a portfolio. Whether you’re a marketer, teacher, or even a student, you can create a portfolio to showcase your work to prospective employers.

What’s more, you don’t have to wait until you’re out of a job to create a portfolio. You can start working on one now and continually update it.

Choose Your Best Pieces

To start creating your own portfolio, gather your best work. You may be tempted to include all of your past work and projects. However, it’s best to go through your work and choose only your best pieces.

While a portfolio is going to be longer and more detailed than a resume, you still don’t want it to be endless. A prospective employer is going to have a limited amount of time to check out your resume, cover letter, and portfolio.

Choose a Variety of Work

Another tip for creating a portfolio is to choose a variety of work. You want to show prospective employers that you’re able to work on different types of projects in your industry.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can show logos, flyers, and other material. If you’re a writer, you can show blog work, web copy, and other different writing.

You can organize your work into categories so that the viewer can see your range of projects.

Online or Hard Copy?

Wondering the different kinds of portfolios? You have the option of a digital portfolio or a print portfolio.

Online portfolios are easier to create and manage, and you can update them as needed. It’s also simple to send the portfolio website link when submitting a job application.

However, for some jobs, you can create a hard copy of your portfolio for job interviews. This way, your work will be right there front and center. This can be useful for artistic professions such as a print designer.

You can showcase your design skills through your physical portfolio. For example, you can design your print portfolio with eye-catching designs and details such as a surface pattern design.

Keep It Updated

You want to keep your portfolio relevant and updated. Don’t rely on projects or work that you’ve done in the past. Employers want to see what work you’ve done recently.

The same way you keep your resume updated, continually update your portfolio to show your recent work.

Keep the Portfolio Design Simple

When it comes to creating your own portfolio, keep the design and details simple. You want to create a portfolio that someone can easily navigate and find your work.

You should also consider the user experience when clicking on your website. You don’t want a website that will take forever for all the images to load. You also want a website that can easily be viewed and navigated on a mobile device.

Include Project Notes

For some projects, it can be helpful to include project notes. For instance, notes can help explain projects that are not visual.

Your project notes can talk about the project process, what skills you used, and the stages of the project. You can also include testimonials or quotes from the client. This shows that your clients recommend you for the job.

Include a Short Bio and Contact Info

Your work portfolio is about you and your skills. You should include a short, professional bio.

You want to show your work, but you also want to be humble when talking about yourself. Another tip is to include contact info so that people know how to get in touch with you.

Use Quality Images

Now is not the time to skimp on image quality. Especially for creative professionals, you want to use quality images that can showcase your work.

Many professionals will only spend a short amount of time looking at your portfolio. You want to use quality images of your work that will capture their attention and show your skills.

Get Another Look

Before finalizing your portfolio and hitting the publish button, it can help to have someone take a second look. You can have a trusted friend or colleague take a look and give you their opinion about the design, look, and content of your portfolio.

Sometimes you work on a project so much that you just want it done. However, a second opinion can help spot issues that you may have overlooked.

Final Tips for Creating a Portfolio

It can seem overwhelming when creating a portfolio because you don’t know where to start.

When putting together your portfolio, consider your target audience. Think about who will be looking at your portfolio and how you hope to convey yourself as a professional. You want your portfolio to speak volumes about your skills and talents.

Want to learn more tips and advice? Check out more articles on our Lifestyle blog.

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