Career success

A Simple Guide To Career Portfolios (And 'About Me' Pages) That Help You Get Work

Career portfolios are common in the creative careers- creative/graphic designers, advertising professionals, copywriters, freelancers etc , where employers want to have a look at the work output of the candidate, when a two-page resume isn't sufficient.


Career portfolios, online or offline, have these sections:

- Letter of introduction (cover letter ins resume language)

- Resume

- Work samples (this is the main part)


Start by summarizing and categorizing all your work by theme/topic or date, and then samples from each project)

- it is a good idea to have a 'recent work' section- put a table of contents or something useful to navigate, in front of the portfolio.


Part 1: Tips for useful online portfolios


- Control what Google says about you: Whether it is a username on Behance or your Facebook page/group, or a Twitter account, or your own website/blog, or any online presence, try to have your full name ('janeadams') or professional name ('gogetyourpenjane') as the main name. Also edit out all the unwanted images and other content you have on any social media website. This is a start.


- Always showcase the type of work you want to do. Show the relevant stuff first.


- Make sure each work sample is accompanied by an interesting, short writeup- a heading that explains the project, followed by a short paragraph about the project (history, purpose, results) and of course a 'hero image' (the best image that presents your work in best light).

Many artists also give details that tell the 'story' of the project- initial concept, early sketches, leading to the final product. But, this is secondary information, coming after the short writeup pattern described earlier.


- Whether you are online portfolio sharing websites such as Behance, or you have your onw website/blog, make it simple and clear and easy to navigate- the focus should be on taking the visitor's eye straight to your work (and not to the useless flashy fiuller stuff).

The best portfolios contain links to all your works, your resume and a simple feedback/contact form - make it easy for clients to find your email address or phone number.


- Use the 'about me' page to tell your story (and to get work)


Often creative people find the traditional resume structure not enough to present their story. Sections in a resume- the career summary and key skills area are not sufficient for them to talk about their unique creative style, how they came to adopt that style, how they...basically creative people want to use their voice to present their style.


Even if your website links to your resume, use the 'about' section to highlight your approach to work:


Write about: Your creative mission statement/manifesto (if any), your origin story (how you found your style, what influenced you, experiences from past, etc.), people and organizations you have worked with in past, and provide some personal trivia (things like, a special hobby or interest, which many visitors may relate to).


If you have received recognition, have an awards/press section on your website/blog.


Note: A common style often found on many 'About' sections:


I’m a ______.

I help ______ {make/build} ______.

When I’m not ______, you can find me ______.

Want to work together? I’d love to hear from you.


- Update the online portfolio as soon as you finish a project.


Part 2: Consider other things


- You can write about your working style: Show people you got the 'soft skills' too- Show them you can meet deadlines and budgets and you are comfortable with meetings and frequent updates about the status of your work.


- Giving people the option to download your online portfolio as a pdf file is a good idea. People can look at your work offline, share it with other people.


- Get testimonials from satisfied clients and show them in 'testimonials' section on your online portfolio. It shows people you can deliver on your promises.


- Promote your work on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Google+), share the best stuff on Behance, Flickr, Dribbble and deviantART. Some artists also like show off their working style and creative approach by filming the process on video and sharing it on YouTube.


It is also a good idea to participate wherever the conversation about your niche is taking place- other blogs, forums, groups (Google, Linkedin, Facebook), sharing sites related to your niche (Slideshare, Behance etc.).


- If you have created work for free (guest articles, logos, etc.) elsewhere online, link to them from your website/blog.


- You can write a blog on your niche, curating the best stuff related to your niche or writing original posts

Write what your know about your niche. Create cheatsheets, how tos, and 2-3 posts on almost all sub topics in your area yourself. This gets people a reason to come see your site regularly, and search engines like sites that update often, thus ranking your content higher and sending more people to your website.


- Include the CTA (Call To Action) link/button- E.g. “get a quote" or “view resume" or “hire me". Some artists who publish really innovative stuff online (art, long article, etc.) also include a 'donate' button (linked to Paypal).


Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life.  Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.