What was the best piece of work you created last year? When was the first time your work was published somewhere outside of your own site? How many times have you written about fashion?
If you can’t answer these questions, read on to find out how to create an online portfolio, and why it’s important to have one.
1. It makes it easier to sell yourself
The next time you need to write a covering letter or prove your expertise, you can direct someone to your online portfolio instead of spending hours googling yourself trying to find that piece of work you did back in 2015.
How to do it: I split my work up month by month, but you can split your work into categories such as photography, written work and radio work for example.
I have a really basic system where I have the month and year as a bold headline, and then write the name of the publication, and the title of the piece with a link.
Make sure that the link to each piece of work opens a new tab, so that the first tab with the whole portfolio stays open and people can refer back to it.
2. It makes you look more professional
“Please see my full portfolio on my website here:” sounds, or reads, so much better than “Here are a series of links to pieces I’ve written for various publications copy and pasted.”
How to do it: Make sure your portfolio URL is super simple, like www.yourname.com/portfolio so it looks neat in an email or covering letter.
Adding in the occasional image to your portfolio page will make it a little more interesting, people will definitely expect this if you’re a photographer or model, but at least one image or Instagram embed on the page will brighten it up.
3. You realise you’ve created more than you thought
I’m always surprised when I look back at my portfolio and see how much I’ve written or produced in any given month.
It’s also a great feeling when you can look back at some of your very early work and relive some of the best pieces, or see how the publication names have become more and more well-known.
How to do it: To make sure my portfolio is always up to date, I’ve set up Google alerts for my name (…seems super Kardashian-esque but it’s actually very useful) so I get an email every time my byline is on something, reminding me to update my portfolio.
4. It keeps all your links in one place
My portfolio is definitely not the most visited page on my website, but it’s so useful to have it there not only to share with potential collaborators, but also for reference in my own work.
If I find a story and I know I’ve written something similar or I want to check the name of someone I interviewed a long time ago for a new piece, or to find out what they’re doing now, or even if I want to find out the last time I wrote about fashion, food or anything else, it’s all there.
How to do it: I’ve added a separate page on my website for my portfolio, and I’ve added it to my main menu so that someone who’s looking for it can select it from a drop down.
All my written (articles), recorded (podcasts and radio shows), filmed (YouTube interviews and features), and produced (Instagram takeovers I’ve facilitated) work can be found in my portfolio.
5. It’s the perfect humble brag
Trust me, you’re not the only one that finds it awkward to promote yourself online.
Having an online portfolio means that you can showcase all your work on your website (if you don’t have a website, you should start one today with an About page which includes your bio and a professional picture, a Portfolio of your work, and Contact page with an email address that you actually check.)
Then you can humbly direct people to it by adding a link to your website on your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles, in your email signature and on any business cards you have.
How to do it: I’ve added a link to my portfolio to my about page, all my social channels, and occasionally tweet that portfolio link with a screen grab of the top few stories or post it on my Facebook page.
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” – Matthew 5:15