Having a professional LinkedIn profile is surely a good start, but if you really want people’s attention you need to market yourself with a portfolio site. This is basically your personal LinkedIn page, only with much more room to display your skills.
Developers, designers and writers each have different skills and work to display, but they all have one thing in common: they need to sell themselves to potential clients.
In this article, I’ll show you some useful tips for making a portfolio site, along with some great live examples.
Why a Portfolio Site?
Having a professional LinkedIn profile is one thing, but you can really show your skills using your own portfolio site. Why? Freedom! You can do anything you want with it, and really make a lasting impression. You can even win awards with it.
What you want is potential clients visiting your site and instantly thinking, “I want that too!” It’s your virtual showroom, which prospective clients can even show others when they need to convince someone else.
Even the most professional LinkedIn profile looks like every other profile on the service, but your site is your way of saying, “This is me, and this is what I can do for you.”
Need more convincing? Well, this is the LinkedIn profile of the guy with the most awesome portfolio site I’ve even seen.
It’s All About Selling Yourself
It’s sounds like a cliché, but you are your own best salesman. This means you have to sell yourself without losing your own identity.
As you’ll see in the examples below, there are many ways to display yourself. You can choose to become a cartoon, use tons of photographs, display your technical prowess, or impress with your writing.
Tailor your site to your personality
What’s important is that you feel comfortable on your own site. If you’re a bit shy, make a cartoon of yourself so you don’t have to use your picture online. Make your site wild and extravagant if that’s what describes you best. Make your site your online equivalent. Give it character while still keeping a professional touch when it comes to wording.
Keep it relevant
Make sure your portfolio includes relevant work. Only list team efforts if you made a significant contribution that can be identified as your work. Never take credit for other people’s work. Specify what you did, and how it benefited the whole process. If possible, make a screenshot to show your part.
Trim the fat
It’s okay if you sculpt your portfolio a bit by showing only the work you like. We all need to make a living, sometimes taking on work we’d rather avoid to earn a few bucks. Use your portfolio to target the type of work you do prefer to do.
Give prospective clients an idea how it is to work with you. When working on-site, include testimonials from previous customers or co-workers. When doing off-site only, let people know what they can expect when it comes to communication, managing deadlines or your work hours.
Make a good impression
See your portfolio site as the equivalent of sending in a job application, convincing prospects why they should hire you. Try to make the best first impression you can, with the added benefit of prospects coming back to your site for fun when it’s really slick.
Oh, and don’t use the word “we” when you’re just on your own …
What to Include?
There are a few basic things every portfolio site must have:
- your name and picture
- a little bit about who you are
- your contact details
- recent work
- your skills
Sounds easy, right? Let’s have a look at some examples and see how a little (or in some cases a very large) bit of creativity can make this list come alive.