A portfolio is your foot in the door when you are a freelancer. It shows any potential client your prowess with whatever you provide, be it graphic design, writing, public relations or something completely different. So, keeping your portfolio up-to-date and exciting is very key in succeeding. Always exercise these following things to ensure your portfolio is diversified and catches the client’s eye.
Deciding what is perfect and what is mediocre
None of us like to hear it, but not all of our work is our best. Sometimes we have off days, so, it is very important to differentiate between which content for your portfolio is utter perfection or lackluster at best. Only the best of the best can be showcased in that portfolio, so be very critical in choosing what to keep.
If needed, get some outside input as well. Ask friends and family what their favorite pieces are, what really catches their eye and what would make them hire you. Since, ultimately, that is what you are trying to do: get hired!
Keep it short and sweet
A rule of thumb for portfolios is that most of them should at least have ten different pieces that showcase your work as a whole. The maximum should be fifteen. You do not want to bore your client with pages upon pages of work, but rather you want to tease and entice them.
Make them wanting to see more, make them curious of what else you have done and can provide.
Simplicity is key
Some of us want to show off a very avant garde portfolio or make it super innovative if it is online, and while it may look gorgeous sometimes simplicity conquers all. Before you go crazy on the Flash, do remember that everyone needs to be able to view your portfolio. Apple computers are not compatible with Flash, which means you could lose a lot of potential clients. Flash can also severely lag older computers that are even running a non-Mac operating system, like Windows.
If you have a physical portfolio, avoid an overly complicated binder. You want the client to focus on your work, not all the time spent on making a snazzy binder or online portfolio.
Digital and physical copies
While you might have better luck finding clients online with a website portfolio, always keep a physical version of your portfolio at hand too. Doing some legwork and hitting the pavement with a physical version doesn’t hurt your chances of getting work, either. Or, you could attend conventions and meetings where that next high-paying client is waiting for someone like you (hey, it could happen!).
If your work is completely done in a digital program, still make a physical copy. Print out nice colored and glossy prints of your work.
Compliment your resume
When you list off the skills you have earned from working, keep those in mind when putting together your portfolio. The resume and portfolio should match one another and compliment one another; show off these alleged skills you have and always be ready to impress!
Cater to your clients needs
Are you trying to hone into a niche market with your portfolio? Then construct it as such. If you want to get clients who need a Flash website, then you better have some Flash-created websites in your portfolio! Or, if you are looking to write press releases, make sure to have some work that could relate to someone in search of a press release writer.
Update, update, update
Always keep your portfolio updated. Refresh the content at least bi-monthly to ensure that people remain interested and you keep up with the times and current trends. Replace certain pieces with better ones, but always keep a few pieces in order to keep things balanced out with your timeline of work (i.e., keep your very, very best in your portfolio).
Updating also shows activity on your end, rather than a dead-end for an employer.
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