If you are an artist or a content creator who is looking for work, the key to success is your portfolio. Your portfolio is like your calling card; it’s what you will use to show off your skills and put your career highlights front and centre.
However, if your portfolio isn’t up to scratch, it can actually harm you in the long run. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got slick videos with the best free daVinci Resolve templates or a collection of thought-provoking feature articles, if they are not presented in a professional portfolio you will struggle to maximise the benefits of your work. What are the hallmarks of a professional portfolio? Let’s find out.
The first thing you’re going to need to do is find somewhere to host your portfolio. In the past, portfolios were physical objects, usually books filled with examples of an artist’s work. While there’s nothing wrong with making a physical portfolio today, the vast majority of employers are going to expect a digital version as well.
Where and how you host your portfolio is important. For example, if you have examples of your video content scattered all over YouTube, and your idea of a portfolio is to send a Word document filled with different links, this doesn’t exactly convey professionalism.
Instead, you need to find a platform where you can bring your content together for easy access. This way, you’ll be able to send employers a single link where they can quickly browse through your work.
The platform you use to host your portfolio needs to be legitimate and reliable. It should also perform well, without glitches or long loading times. You can build a website to host your portfolio or even use a professional social platform like LinkedIn.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the design of your portfolio. However, it’s important that you get it right. You can choose a basic layout or something more unique, but the design should never detract from the impact of the work itself.
Often, the design of your portfolio will be determined by the platform you use to host it. For example, you will be relatively limited in terms of design if you are using something like LinkedIn. On the other hand, using your own website to host your portfolio gives you far greater creative control.
The design of your portfolio should be intuitive. It should guide viewers from one piece to the next, and the order of your work should follow a natural flow that weaves a narrative.
The way in which you design your portfolio can be an example of your work in and of itself. It can be used to show your creative flair and as an example of how you can think outside of the box, making your portfolio stand out among the competition.
Correct Spelling and Grammar
If you are a visual artist such as a photographer or a videographer, the written word might seem secondary to the visual content in your portfolio. However, while your visual work should certainly take centre stage, the words you use can also have a significant impact.
In your portfolio, you should have short descriptions accompanying each example of your work. These don’t need to be more than a couple of sentences, but their inclusion is vital to give context to your work.
Ensuring that these descriptions are correctly spelled and grammatically sound is critical. It doesn’t matter how incredible your work is, your portfolio will appear unprofessional and amateurish if it is riddled with spelling errors.
Read over all written content in your portfolio thoroughly and, if possible, get someone else to proofread it too. This can help you spot any errors before you start sending it out to employers.
Your Best Work
The last point on our list might seem obvious, but it is nonetheless extremely important. Your portfolio should only ever contain examples of your very best work.
The selection process can be easy or difficult, depending on the volume of work you have produced and the stage you are at in your career. Don’t stuff your portfolio with countless pieces. Instead, choose a small selection that best represents your experience and skill set.
You should also never include half-finished projects, no matter how proud you are of them. Only include finished, polished work that has been delivered. This will demonstrate your work ethic and ability to see projects through until the end.
The creative industry is flourishing, with upwards of 2.3 million jobs in the UK alone. However, if you want to break into a creative field, having a professional portfolio under your belt is essential. Ensure your portfolio is hosted on a reliable platform, is intuitively designed, spelled correctly and contains your very best work to maximise the chances of it landing you your dream job in the creative sector.