7 Tips to Build Your Portfolio Right

One of the best ways to get jobs as a creative freelancer is by having a killer portfolio to show off your skills. In fact, sometimes your portfolio of work is more important to a prospective client than your resume, experience or education! So no matter what sort of freelance work you do, it helps to create a portfolio of your work. Here are some tips to help you make a portfolio that will help land your next big gig.

1. Take stock of your work

Look through your work and choose your favorite samples—this is your chance to put your best foot forward. Only include the stuff you’re really proud of and that’s relevant to your area of expertise. It’s important to remember that sometimes less is more. Wouldn’t you rather have a client look at five really amazing pieces of your work than ten projects that you think are just “so-so?”

2. Create spec work

If you’re just starting out and don’t have many clients yet, it’s totally acceptable to use “spec work” in your portfolio. Make up a client and create a project to show off how your skills could be put to work by completing a mock assignment. Clients are generally less interested in what the stuff in your portfolio was used for, and more interested in how you created it. If you can speak intelligently on your role in creating the pieces in your portfolio and the strategic thinking behind them, clients will be interested to hear it. So don’t let a lack of clients hold you back—create some spec work and post it to your site.

3. Keep it simple

The last thing you want clients to do when they arrive at your site is to be overwhelmed or unsure of where to look first. Using a simple, clean layout for your portfolio will allow clients to focus on what really matters—your work. Don’t spend too much time overthinking your layout. Use a template or a site like tispr to easily build your portfolio, show off your services and get more work.

4. Add testimonials from clients, teachers and colleagues

If you want to paint a picture of what it’s like to work with you, consider asking former clients for testimonials. If you’re just starting out, quotes from teachers or colleagues can also work for this section. And remember, it’s quality over quantity—you don’t need a ton of testimonials. Having a few nicely worded quotes from people who have worked with you in the past is enough to help establish credibility for you and your business.

5. Advertise your services

If you offer a range of services, add a page to your site that details the various packages that you offer. You can add pricing directly to your site or give a general idea of packages and ask for visitors to contact you to inquire about rates. Keep in mind that it might be advantageous to leave pricing off of your site so you can create a fair estimate once you get more details about a project.

6. Brand yourself

Your portfolio should include examples of your work and successes, but it should also paint a clear picture of who you are as a person. Make sure your website has an “About” section where you give a rundown of who you are and show clients a bit of your personality. Talk about your passions and your creative process. This way, prospective clients will be able to visualize how you’d fit within their existing team. Include a professional headshot on your website to help create familiarity and give off a friendly, welcoming vibe.

7. Include contact information

Don’t forget to give people who visit your site an easy way to contact you! Include an email address or phone number for potential clients or collaborators to get in touch. You can also link your portfolio to your social accounts for more engagement opportunities. According to a 2017 survey from CareerBuilder, 70% of employers are using social media accounts to screen potential employees. Use this to your advantage and provide direct links to your social media right from your portfolio (and make sure you keep your social media accounts “safe for work!”)

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