By Darya Soufian
With summer internship season (or even scarier, graduation) approaching, it’s important for employers to have easy access to your work. An online portfolio is the best way to do that since you can customize it and express who you are to your future employers and friends. Below, The Eye has collected some of our top tips for you to build your own portfolio:
- Determine your method of distributing your portfolio.
There are many different ways to deliver your portfolio online. The sites below are easy to customize and user-friendly–you don’t need to be a design pro to navigate them. Here are some of our favourite online portfolio platforms:
- WordPress (unlimited customization and third-party plugin access)
- Wix (very easy to use and incredible customer support)
- Squarespace (so many pre-existing templates to choose from, yet still customizable)
- Linktree (used to share multiple sites in one)
- Carrd (customizable and has templates if you don’t want to do the designing)
These kinds of sites can be used for free but by paying a small annual fee, you can have a custom URL to make it more professional and drive more traffic to your site (this will also help your search engine optimization (SEO)—more on that later).
- Gather your best work to include in your portfolio.
Whether you’re a writer, painter, photographer or architect, this is your chance to show off your best pieces. It’s best to showcase the work that you want to be doing in the future, so choose projects you’re really proud of and that reflect your interests. It’s best to be very selective and keep it to just a handful of projects so the portfolio stays focused.
- Use eye-catching images, but keep it simple!
Photos are what grabs the attention of your audience, or in this case, your employer, so you want them to be impressed with the assembly of your portfolio. Use visuals that complement the overall theme of your work and best represent what you want to do. You want to keep it simple, so select a couple of images that go together so it doesn’t clash and look too busy!
If you’re doing an image-based portfolio (eg. graphic design, photo, video etc.), there are different rules to keep in mind. There might be less focus on words going up on your site and more photos. Make sure you’re still being selective about your work so there isn’t too much going on your page.
- Put together a bio that expresses who you are and what you do
Use your biography or about page to your advantage. This is your chance to tell your story and say what you’re passionate about. Make it approachable but keep it simple so you don’t give away too much from the beginning and your employers want to know more, therefore, they’ll have to reach out to you.
Here’s an example:
Hello world! My name is Darya Soufian and welcome to my portfolio! I’m a Ryerson based journalist, who aims to acknowledge the changes and impactful events across the world in my work. On this site, you will find some samples of my work and possibly some blog posts in the future!
You should also have a contact page for potential clients or employers to reach you easily. You’ll never gain leads if they can’t contact you!
- Using SEO to your advantage
By using SEO to your advantage, you can make your portfolio accessible and easy to find when plugged into a search engine. SEO is the process of categorizing sites to make them easier to search on the web. By using keywords on your site that users will search for when looking you up, you’ll boost your search result ranking. There are SEO plugins out there to show if your work is properly optimized like SEOPress and Yoast SEO. Be sure to use your social media channels to drive traffic to your site and boost your SEO ranking as well.
- Keep it updated!
After your site is built to perfection, be sure to update it frequently with your work to keep it fresh. The best portfolio’s are never static, so do a rotation of your pieces to keep it alive and share it on social media.