To claim experience is one thing, to show it is another. A portfolio can go a long way in landing a job - showing proof of your experience as well as giving a potential employer some idea about the way you do things.
This tutorial focuses on:
- Offline portfolio
- Online portfolio
- Online or offline? Which is better?
- What if I don't have anything to put in my portfolio?
You can have a portfolio attached to your resume that contains a list of the websites you worked on. This way every potential employer you send your resume to also sees examples of your work. Make sure that the resume comes first and the portfolio second.
On your portfolio make sure to list the websites where some of your best work can be found. Include the URL of each website and below it a good, detailed (but not to long) description.
An online portfolio is on a website as opposed to an offline portfolio which is just some text on a page. An online portfolio allows you to get creative and show this aspect of yourself to a potential employer.
Online portfolios are often used by full-time freelancers because that is basically their resume but you can have one to, even if you are not a full-time freelancer. If you're going to have an online portfolio you should definitely have it at a website with your own domain name and make it's appearance stress what kind of skills you have.
An online portfolio can make a huge impression on a potential employer - what you have worked on as well as the appearance of your online portfolio itself will tell a potential employer things about your skill level, attention to detail, work ethic, creativity, and more.
Some things that will make an online portfolio more effective:
What makes one portfolio site different from another? You want your portfolio site to be easily recognizable. To do this you need to build identity and recognition. A logo is perfect for this task.
- About me page
People want to know who they are dealing with as opposed to some random person on the internet. Knowing who you are builds an element of trust between you and your potential employers/clients. Adding a picture of yourself is even better.
- Really good usability
Make things easy to find, easy to use. Make sure link text is obvious in regards to where links point to. Have a good contrast, a color scheme that is easy on the eyes. People hate going to websites that are not user-friendly. One thing you really don't want is potential employers/clients not being able to easily find their way around your portfolio website. This is very bad for your professional image.
Online or offline? Which is better?
Definitely online portfolio. Consider the nature of web development/design in relation to an online portfolio. An online portfolio is a website and if you're in the field of building websites then a website that acts as your portfolio says alot about your skills and competence.
You should design and develop your online portfolio yourself. When a potential employer takes a look at it they will get a feel for your style, skill level, and attention to detail. The old saying "actions speak louder than words" applies here as an online portfolio for a web developer/designer shows their actions as opposed to a resume which just speaks words. Also, an online portfolio says as much (or maybe even more) about your skills as the websites in your portfolio.
What if I don't have anything to put in my portfolio?
If you don't have anything to put in your portfolio then do something that shows your skills and will give you experience.
A few suggestions:
- Do some free work for someone..yes, free. As bad as that sounds, it will be worth it when you are able to actually put something in your portfolio. If you have even one thing in your portfolio as opposed to nothing, it makes a big difference.
- Create a wordpress theme
- Contribute a few of your designs to a free designs site like www.oswd.org and brand them with your identity, have them link back to your portfolio site. Show this work on your portfolio site as well.
Read our Web development jobs experience page for some ideas on getting web development/design experience.