Your web design portfolio is your chance to impress your potential employer or client in a visual format. It’s not uncommon for employers to skip your resume and take a look at your portfolio first. In this article, we go over tips for a winning portfolio.
In the context of web design, we’re going to talk about online portfolios specifically. The presentation/layout of your portfolio website can count as much as what’s in it. As a web designer, it’s your job to effectively communicate on behalf of the company and/or its clients. As part of your application, you need to communicate your skills, passion, and talent in a great looking and easy to use portfolio site.
- Let Your Work Shine – Keep your backgrounds and font choices relatively simple and neutral to let your work shine. Avoid distracting textures, photos of people, or graphics
- Easy to Navigate – Chances are you’ll have more than a few items in your portfolio. Make it easy to browse through your multiple portfolio items. There are hundreds of freely available plug-ins you can use to make it easier.
What employers are looking for will vary depending on the nature of their business (industry specific such as dental, automotive, and medical, as opposed to general marketing). A wide variety of work is a safe bet in either case. It shows you can:
- Work with different types of clients from many industries
- Make effective use of a wide variety of techniques
- Respect an existing brand while putting your own spin on it
Put your strongest work at the top. It’s the first project people will see and sets the tone and expectations for everything after. If you’re applying for an industry specific design job, put the relevant projects near the top. If you don’t have a whole lot of projects in your portfolio, it doesn’t hurt to create a mockup for a fictional company, as long as you indicate it’s not an actual project for a client.
Identify whether you did some or all of a project. Specify your involvement with project, such a planning, design, and coding, and what types of technologies (platforms, coding language, plug-ins, etc.) were used with it.
So your potential employer or client loves you work. Now what? Make sure they have a way of getting a hold of you through your portfolio website. At the very least, include an email address or contact form, and a phone number if you feel comfortable. Google Voice is a great way of setting up an alternative number to let you screen calls.