It’s something that many freelancers, whether established or not, experience: the necessity of professionally “proving” oneself. Newer freelancers have to get out there and show what they’re made of in order to get those great gigs. More seasoned freelancers, with a network of contacts built up along the way, might not have to search as much for gigs, yet they still must remain current by showing who they are and where they came from whenever they submit their work. Gone are the days when a basic resumé was enough. If you’re a freelancer looking to stand above the competition, here are some ways to create a portfolio that truly showcases your work at its best.
Invite the audience into your space. Let’s assume that you have a (preferably) .com website which is serving as the platform for your portfolio. Sure, you could just do the usual and have a bio, links to/pictures of your most impressive work, that sort of thing – why not make it a bit more interactive, though? It’s an unfortunate truth that people have short attention spans, so get (and keep their attention with questions such as these:
- If you’re a freelance creative writer: “Are you a fiction fiend? Step into my imagination HERE” followed by more links to your stories, etc. Or, should you be great at web design, think about incorporating some sort of entrance/door that corresponds to the overall theme of your work which, when opened, shows PDFs of your work on a rotating scale (readers can then click on what they’d like to read).
- If you’re a freelancer photographer who specializes in travel photography: “Do you seek adventure in the creative? Travel with me HERE,” creating a map and linking to your photography locations above each state, country, etc. in the form of icons.
- If you’re a freelance videographer, platforms such as YouTube already make it fairly straightforward to embed links within videos to keep audience attention. Still, you could pose a question like , “Looking for something to augment your advertising? Check out more examples from my B-roll portfolio HERE.” On your main website, moving graphics (just like the scene selections found in DVD menus, is another thing to consider.
- If you’re a freelance graphic designer: There’s so much you can do with your designing skills, it’s really a matter of narrowing down your focus so that your audience doesn’t get overwhelmed. Organize your portfolio by color scheme, business type, that sort of thing, including questions like, “Are you a florist who prefers your layout to be pretty in pinks or pastels? I just might have the design for you HERE.” You could even go an extra step by creating a character who pops up around your website, highlighting aspects of your portfolio as visitors click through.
Balance content and creativity. No matter how you choose to present your portfolio, it’s important that there’s a balance between text and graphics – particularly the latter, due to mobile device compatibility. After all, you can’t assume that everyone has the latest software! It all goes back to the attention aspect again, too, in that you only have so much time to make important points before readers move on to the next thing. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, basic resumés can’t hold their own in the competitive world of freelancing. To get an idea of what can compete, check out Guru’s “17 Awesome Examples of Creative CV/Resumes.”
Above all, don’t stress about the process of curating your work – go about it gradually and authentically, and you should notice that things will naturally fall into place.
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