What does it feel like when you take a look at the portfolio of your mentor? Do you have a feeling of admiration and awe running through your mind, and wish it was yours? For a freelancer in search of a job, or for one who is still working on building up skill sets in a chosen industry, having an outstanding portfolio on the internet is crucial. Word of mouth is good, but it doesn’t compare to having a great portfolio website of your own. It gives you a better standing with clients and would-be employers. As a new freelancer in the field, you may find it a little daunting to achieve the portfolio you know you need.
What is the way forward, since you need a strong portfolio to bid for the work you really want to do? You need not worry if you fall into this group. You can still create an enviable portfolio with just a few projects to your name.
Read on for tips on building that freelance portfolio you’ll be proud to showcase.
1. Create A Portfolio Of Your Personal Works
If you are a developer, web designer, illustrator, graphic designer or content writer who is starting out, creating a portfolio of works for your personal project is the right move. Build your own website, as a web developer or designer. Draw a beautiful icon on your site if you are an illustrator. Add your signature style to your website if you are a graphic designer.
When you build a portfolio in this way, you are letting prospective employers know more about your style and experience. This portfolio is a project of your skills. Go ahead and flaunt them.
2. Add The Elements That Are Most Important
Your portfolio is not just a collection of your past projects. Someone in your industry may be impressed by the work and appreciate the skill required in achieving it, but clients who are less familiar with your field need specific details. Add the necessary explanations your employers may have in mind. This can also include the pricing, as well as niche proficiency and work style.
An ideal portfolio should follow this order of importance:* Point out how you can make things better for the employer. Let them know what you are able to do with respect to their project.* Ensure a convenient way of contacting you if they are interested enough in your work.* Be more explicit on your work details. You need to itemize what you are able to do, and the nature of employers you are comfortable working with. Give relevant and adequate details on your portfolio.* Let employers know the type of person you are. Take the employer through your work process. Explain how your last project was carried out successfully. Explain your style.
These points provide information a prospective client is likely to want. By giving that useful background, you have already saved them time and effort.
3. Don’t Just Show, Tell It
Portfolios are all about showing, right? Not necessarily. Portfolios are actually about work examples. Spend some time explaining the process you went through to execute a project. Give instances and obstacles you encountered in the process. Don’t hide the fact you came across some difficulties. Potential clients will get along better with a freelancer who is not all about the positive, while trying to hide details. Besides, explaining what went wrong gives you the opportunity to prove you know how to fix things, or overcome troubles.
4. Focus On The Type Of Work You Want And People You’d Like To Work With
If you have a minimal portfolio, spend some time explaining your kind of work, the type you are comfortable with and love doing. In this stage, you should point out specific types of companies or employers you’d love working with. Perhaps the projects you presented on the portfolio don’t show your skills, but the ambition and potential you portray can make the difference with employers. They may want a less busy person who may have more time to dedicate to the project.
5. Include Practice Projects
Your portfolio doesn’t need to be restricted to projects you executed and were paid for. Include those you were involved in during training, and when at school. Never fret about adding those little projects you worked on in your spare time.
6. Say Something About Your Education
Emphasizing your education is one way to close gaps you may have in your portfolio. This is great, especially if you have just been trained on new skills. Detailing how and where you learned your current skills shows a potential client what is possible. Explain that you studied arts while in school, and have sold paintings on e-commerce stores like Etsy. If you’ve learned to develop websites and are about beginning a new career, this is where to exhibit the skills. Visitors get more confidence to work with you this way.
7. Add Mentions, Press And Testimonials
You may think there would be nothing on the internet about you, but you might be surprised when you Google your name. Anywhere you were featured, whether in your town's newspaper or a tweet from a web designer who happened to tweet about you and your work - this should be included as a reference to your experience. Include it in your portfolio, regardless of whether it matches your field or not. This will show you are just the person you say you are. You are building trustworthiness that way. Never be too timid to ask for testimonials from previous employers, clients, and teachers.
8. Give Out Free Resources
You can feel uncomfortable when asked to give out bits of your work if you are trying to keep the books balanced, especially at the beginning. Giving a small sample to your clients is, however, a great way to win their interest. So go ahead and give out a small hand-drawn pack of icons if you are an illustrator. For a web designer or developer, give away useful tips to building a beautiful mini-website. When you give out part of your work, it is a way of showing goodwill and that you are ready to do even more. It gives visitors something to hold on to about your style, and helps build your reputation in the field as a professional and an expert.
9. Add Latest Portfolio Screenshots With Links
A screenshot of a recent or updated portfolio website, links to newly published articles, or adding a logo with a link, each give you a chance of winning some clients over. A client can glance at the screenshot to see what it looks like, and click the link to have a detailed view.
10. Delete Old Projects You Don’t Want About Your Skills
When freelancing, a time comes when you will outgrow some of the additions to your portfolio. As you gain more experience, you may not want older projects to show up because they no longer reflect your skill level. At this point a spring clean is in order. Alternatively, you may choose to improve on them to fully reflect your current experience and expertise.
The best approach to having a remarkable portfolio is to continue to develop your skills. If you have a lean portfolio, acquire additional skillsets relating to your area of focus. This will improve your chances of getting the kind of work you'd like in the future.
Got any tips for building an outstanding portfolio you’d like to share? Drop a comment in the box below.