5 Steps for Building a Website Portfolio

Though crafting the perfect CV and resume is an important component when landing job interviews, an online portfolio is an excellent way to enhance your skill-set. A resume tells a potential employer about what you’ve done, but a portfolio website shows a potential employer what you can do, which is an enticing element to bring to the table.

In the past, a web portfolio was usually used only for certain industries, such as web design or a field related to the arts. However, now you can easily see the benefits of having an online portfolio when looking for a job, including:

  • Professionalism
  • Higher visibility
  • Display of actual examples
  • Easy sharing

And thanks to today’s technology, creating a customized portfolio isn’t difficult. You just need the right steps.

1) Choose a Website Builder

Before you do anything, make sure you have a great website builder that’s easy to use and will function as the best possible for displaying your work. Here are several popular platforms you could try:

  • WordPress
  • Weebly
  • MoonFruit
  • Wix
  • DoYouBuzz
  • IMCreator
  • Brand-Yourself
  • Folio24
  • Webs

The basic makeup of each of these web tools is essentially the same, but there are a few differences worth considering. To begin with, decide if you should purchase the domain for your portfolio. If you’re a freelancer who is always collecting odd jobs, it’s worth it to have your own domain so that people can contact you often.

If you’re looking for a long-term, in-house position, paying for a domain would probably be a waste of money, since you hopefully won’t need to use the portfolio for several years.

Next, assess the navigation capabilities. Navigation is one of the most important parts of a website, and if the navigation doesn’t help you meet your goal or is confusing, your online portfolio won’t impress one bit.

2. Design a Logo and Draft a Tagline

Now, it’s time to define your brand. If you want to stand out against the other applicants who have similar or better qualifications, you need something that the employer will remember, and a great logo and tagline is just the thing.

Generally, for job applicant purposes, your logo should be some design of your name, so that the employer has a visual picture in mind when it’s time to flip through the stack of applications.

Also, be sure your logo links back to your homepage for the sake of convenience, and that it’s placed in the top left corner of every page so that it’s the first thing the reader sees upon entering your website.

A tagline is also a great way to snag attention. In essence, a tagline is a brief, catchy summary of what you do. For some great examples of effective taglines, use this article as a reference.

3. Fill in Information Tabs

When you’re absolutely certain that your logo and tagline will make you stand out in a good way, move on to filling out the information tabs of your website. The subject of each navigational tab is primarily up to you, but employers have come to expect the following pages:

  • About Me: This is where you let the employer know who you really are. It’s not about simply describing your background. It’s about showing your personality through specifics, including what makes you interested in what you do, any awards and recognition you’ve received, and a quick glimpse of your personality through writing tone. Don’t forget to add a picture of yourself so the employer has a face to put to the name.
  • Portfolio/Examples: What’s an online portfolio without a section for examples of your best work? Comb carefully through your samples and pick out a selection of the highest quality pieces to upload to this tab. Remember that images should be high quality, and you should always check to make sure all links work properly. Include a brief description with every piece you display and organize them into easy-access folders. In addition, if you have previous client testimonials, this is a great place to include them.
  • Services/Specialties: Though you may have experience in every aspect of the field, everyone has specific services or specialties worth mentioning. Using specifics, showcase those particular talents in this section. Don’t sell yourself short on any of your talents, but avoid coming off arrogant.
  • Contact: Make sure employers know how to get ahold of you when they’re so impressed with your portfolio that they want to offer you a job. This is the most important section of your portfolio, so make sure it’s visible with its own tab.

4. Use a Call to Action

When a potential employer has looked through your portfolio, remind them why they are there with a direct call to action or phrase that tells them what to do next. On each page, place a strategic call to action that will direct a viewer to contact you.

For example, consider this video editor who uses this call to action at the bottom of her pages: “I love to edit video. That’s right! I love to put together totally awesome videos. I’m technically proficient, easy to work with and I won’t stop till it’s perfect. So what are you waiting for?” It then links to her contact page, which is an enticing way to remind potential employers that she’s worth hiring.

5. Link to Social Media

Finally, make sure your employer can see who you are through your social media presence with links to various platforms. Be sure that the interactions on your pages are professional and show who you are. Employers like to see what you’re like outside of the interview, and online portfolios make it easy to link to social media.

Author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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