Before, I told you how to make sure your portfolio is top notch. Now I’m going to discuss how to set up that portfolio while you are still in college. When you graduate, it can be a bit easier building up a portfolio since by then you hopefully have experience and a degree to boot. However, while you are still pursuing that degree, it can be a bit tricky.
Sometimes, you will have to put together a portfolio for school. This is not it. This is if you freelance during college and need a portfolio to showcase your work.
If you’re just starting out in freelancing and really have no professional work to show off in a portfolio, recycle old school projects instead. More than likely, you poured your heart and soul into these projects to earn a very high grade and move on with your life. Just remember to be honest in your portfolio and say it was for a class and not a high profile client.
Do free work, but sparingly.
As a rule of thumb, freelancers need to be wary of “free” work that promises to help you gain more attention in the field. It can be a double-edged sword, or even worse, backfire on the freelancer. On the flipside, free work can help you learn the ropes and gain some pieces for your portfolio. Request free work sparingly and do not make it a habit.
Utilize your campus.
Ask around and see if people need any help with what you are skilled at, whether it is design, photography, writing or so forth. Put up fliers, get the word out among your circle of friends and even ask your professors. Get the word out there! People will be more willing to help out someone on campus, then a random person online.
However, never rule out going online.
Always use the tools around you to the fullest. While getting the word out at your campus and locally, also get your name out there online. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, message boards, forums and anything else you can imagine that has a strong focus on social networking. Ask for work, seek out work.
All in all, the only way to truly start building a portfolio from nothing is starting and working. Simple as that! Try seeking out work from all areas of your networking circles; friends, classmates, teachers, family members, neighbors, family friends and so forth. You might just be surprised in what you find.
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