As times change, leather-bound portfolios are less of the norm, and online portfolios are rapidly gaining popularity. Although it is always good to have printed samples of your work at an interview, an online portfolio showcases your work in a different way, proving your online skills and forward thinking. Read on for six simple steps to getting yours started.

Take a step back, and curate your best work.
Carefully look through your work and choose your best piece. From there, choose at least four other showcase pieces that represent your style or personal brand. Be sure to display only the projects that you are most proud of, can talk to and use the respective media in the best way possible. It’s better to have a portfolio of a few exceptional projects than a portfolio full of dozens of mediocre projects. A portfolio is only as strong as it’s weakest project.

Source: My personal online portfolio

Use beautiful imagery and provide a backstory.
Now that you have beautiful pieces to showcase, show the process and the initial steps that got you there. A good rule of thumb is to present the whole piece first, followed by detailed shots. This will allow the viewer to see it up-close, but also for you to talk to the process you went through to develop the final piece. Stylized photography of your work is good, but don’t let it distract the viewer from your work.

Let your work take center stage by keeping your website clean and simple.
When creating your website, make sure it is straightforward. Be sure your work is the focal point accented by simple navigation. Also, stick with one typeface and to have a simple color scheme for links and or captions.

Create a unique bio that expresses who you are.
Make your “About” page stand out by having it tell your story and not just listing your previous experience. Here are some things to consider when developing your “About” page.

  • Point of view. As a designer (or a marketing professional), you have a creative perspective on your industry and the creative world. Create a bio that includes your own focus or a mission statement.
  • Backstory. Be sure to share what values or events have made you who you are.
  • Connections. Provide insight that demonstrates your connections in the professional world. Be sure to mention clients and the different forms of publications with which you’ve worked. Also, if you have any testimonials or positive feedback about your work, feel free to display them on your website.
  • Relate. Only if you feel it’s necessary, share what you do in your free time. Hobbies or interests are a great place to start– but be sure to keep them professional.

Include awards and broadcast your work.

  • Awards. Include any or all of the awards you have received that make you stand out.
  • Social media. Include buttons that connect to your social media pages. But in doing so, be sure your social media pages look professional and are up to date with your branding.
  • Blog. To position yourself as a thought leader and create a constant stream of traffic to your website, keep an up-to-date blog. Be sure to blog about current topics and events that make you who you are. Be genuine and candid, yet professional.

 Keep your portfolio fresh.

Your portfolio is never finished; always update it when you have finished new and exciting pieces. Be sure the additions showcase your latest projects, but with careful curation.

Here are a few online portfolios that I feel stand out from the crowd.

  1. French designer Nicolas Beaufils
  2. Print and Web designer Zac Bettendorf
  3. Graphic designer and illustrator Steven Bonner

Follow these tips to create a well-rounded online portfolio that will impress future employers. Remember to have the link on your business card or on your resume for easy access.

Do you have an online portfolio? What tips do you have to keep it professional and fresh?