If you are a professional trying to find work, you may find it hard to stand out from the sea of talent in today’s labor market. An online portfolio showcasing your skills can be the best way to attract new business, but how do you even begin?
Fortunately, WordPress.com can provide the platform you need to create a professional portfolio online. You can promote your best work in a highly visual way, either for prospective employers or potential clients. Better yet, if you don’t know where to start, our Built By WordPress.com service can help you create a professionally designed portfolio website quickly.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what an online portfolio is and why you might need one. Then we’ll outline five steps you can follow to get yours up and running. Let’s get to work!
An Introduction to Online Portfolios
An online portfolio is a digital collection of your previous work. It visually demonstrates your skills and qualifications, and can be a way of establishing yourself as a brand on the web:
Portfolio websites are useful for (but not limited to) those in creative industries who want to showcase what they have to offer. This can include professionals like the Play Nice design studio (shown above), as well as artists, writers, photographers, and speakers.
Why It’s Beneficial to Have an Online Portfolio
Creating a professional portfolio online offers many benefits, including:
- It is easily searchable. All of your professional accomplishments are collated, rather than scattered across various platforms. This can boost your online presence, and makes it easier for interested parties to find you through Google searches (and even share your work with others).
- It tells a story. With all of your projects in one space, you can clearly demonstrate how your work has developed over time. It is also easy to update this virtual space with new projects, and you can remove old work quickly.
- It highlights your best work and achievements. Rather than trying to display everything you’ve ever done, you can focus on your outstanding accomplishments. Along with work samples, you might also include positive feedback from people or brands you have worked with.
- It can attract inbound leads. By demonstrating what you can offer, you improve your chances of securing new work. Providing a clear call to action and contact information encourages visitors to follow up.
- It looks professional. You can present yourself as a brand exactly how you want, showcasing your personality through the work examples and the theme you choose. Putting effort into crafting a portfolio not only shows creativity, but also demonstrates consistency, dedication, and communication skills.
Other than the time and effort required, there’s little downside to creating your own portfolio. The good news is that this task may be simpler and quicker than you expect.
How to Create Your Professional Portfolio Online in 5 Steps
If you’re ready to get started, here are the five key steps for building your professional portfolio online.
Step 1: Make a Clear Plan
First, you need to decide what platform you would like to use. WordPress.com is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMSes) that allows you to create your own site to host your work. This platform is free, flexible, and beginner-friendly.
What’s more, you don’t need to do it all yourself – our Built By WordPress.com service can help you create a website for your professional portfolio quickly. Simply fill out the form provided, and our team will work closely with you to professionally design your new site.
Once you’ve chosen the tool you’ll use, you need to decide on a domain name that reflects your brand. This will allow you to be easily searchable.
Finally, you should decide what industry you’re targeting. You can also consider what pain points your product or service will solve for potential clients. This will help you decide what samples you should showcase in your portfolio, and keep it focused on the industry you’re looking to work in.
Step 2: Collate Samples of Your Work
When you begin selecting samples, you should choose examples that are relevant to your target audience and reflect the kind of work you want to do. You’ll also want to focus on the projects you’re most passionate about, most proud of, or have received the best feedback on.
You can still create a portfolio if you don’t have real-world examples of work yet. For instance, if you’ve just graduated, you probably don’t have much experience in a professional workplace. Instead, you might create hypothetical projects for imaginary clients, focused on the industry you are trying to break into. This might even be the extra factor you need to stand out in the job application process.
It’s also a good idea to try and tell a story with your samples. For example, creative post-production company Workprint features a running background reel of work on its landing page, which immediately tells the visitor what the business does:
Not only is this visually eye-catching, but it presents the work in a clear, scrollable format that encourages you to read on.
If your industry is not traditionally visual, you can include any other examples of work that best demonstrate what you do. This can include case studies, research, reports, presentations, or certificates.
For instance, data scientist David Venturi uses his portfolio to show off online courses he’s created and to drive traffic to them:
Most people think of portfolios as resources that only designers and other visual professionals can use. However, with the right approach, almost any profession can benefit from a portfolio since it can make you stand out to recruiters or help you attract clients.
Step 3: Add Your Key Information
Next, it’s important to include more than just work samples in your online portfolio. You should consider creating an “About Me” page to explain the work you do, and give the reader some background about your story and career.
You could also include a professional photo and feature your traditional resume. Here’s an example from wedding photographer Larisa Shorina:
After all your hard work in compiling your portfolio website, you’ll also want to list your contact details so potential clients or employers can get in touch. These include a phone number, an address and a map (if you have a physical business location), and, of course, an email address. A great contact page will include all of that information and a contact form so that users don’t have to copy and paste your details.
If you have them, you could also include positive testimonials from happy customers or clients, or highlight any high-profile companies you have worked with. Freelance UX/UI Designer Stef Ivanov includes a separate testimonial page with his online portfolio:
Social proof can be a persuasive marketing tool. Therefore, endorsements are an effective way to advertise yourself as a brand and provide further evidence of your good work.
Step 4: Organize Your Portfolio
Now that you’ve gathered all the content you will include in your online portfolio, you should make sure it is visually appealing and easy to navigate. You’ll want to ensure that readers don’t have to go through a long journey to find your work.
Artist Holly Wong provides clickable categories visitors can use to sort her projects by type, while also including a page where you can scroll through all of her work:
You can make use of WordPress.com categories and tags to easily organize your own work based on broad groupings or specific topics.
Step 5: Share Your Portfolio
Once your portfolio has been created, you can continue to add your most recent projects as your skills and experience grow. It’s vital to keep it frequently updated.
You’ll also want to get your portfolio out there to attract the work you’re looking for. You can share it on any social media site you are active on, including LinkedIn. The link to your website could also be incorporated as a permanent detail in your Twitter and Instagram bios.
To make your work easily shareable, you can also use a tool like Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons:
Finally, it’s smart to add a link to your online portfolio in your email signature, and include a bonus link on your resume if you are actively seeking employment.
Build Your Own Professional Portfolio Today
By crafting a professional portfolio website, you can demonstrate the skills and abilities you have that make you stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, WordPress.com can provide the platform you need to get started, along with customizable design options and support from our Built By WordPress.com service.
To create your portfolio website, all you need to do is:
- Make a clear plan.
- Collate samples of your work.
- Add your key information.
- Organize your portfolio.
- Share your portfolio.
Do you have any questions about building your professional portfolio online? Just reach out and we will get back to you soon.