While once only common among creatives, portfolios are no longer only relevant in certain fields. The importance of having a strong, professional online presence is greater than ever, and having a professional portfolio website is a huge step in the right direction. The traditional resume and cover letter are still important, but having an online portfolio helps set you apart from others working in your field and provides you with an opportunity to showcase your talents and qualifications rather than just talking about them.
Whether you work as a photographer or writer or you are in a completely different field like digital printing, teaching, or just about any other industry, there are several benefits of having a professional portfolio website. Here are a few of them.
Shares Your Professional Story In A Compelling Way
A well-designed professional portfolio allows you to share your professional narrative in a unique, compelling manner. You can showcase your accomplishments, certifications, and qualifications while detailing your future goals and aspirations. You can also use your professional website to express your strengths, core values, and unique talents and help prospective employers or clients determine whether you would be a good fit for their needs.
Increases Online Visibility
In the modern world, marketing yourself is a huge part of the job search. You need to get your name out there and become known in your industry. Tools like your resume and cover letter help with this, but having an online portfolio takes your networking and marketing efforts to the next level. Creating a professional website makes it easy for hiring managers to locate information about you, your skills, and your qualifications. It helps you build a strong online presence, and it allows you to ensure that the most professional, accurate, and current information about you is available online.
Anyone can say that they are great at copywriting, painting murals, or designing graphics, but not everyone can show it. Building a professional portfolio that showcases your past work makes it easy for others to view your work and discover your strengths and what you are capable of. It backs up the claims you make on your resume and in your cover letter and improves your credibility. Taking the time to build a website also shows that you are motivated to further your career and take steps to set yourself apart from others in your field.
Organizes Your Professional Materials
Having a website and keeping it up to date offers personal benefits, too. It provides a convenient location to store professional documents and information and ensures that you will have quick access to it the next time you need it. If someone asks to see a sample of your work, you can direct them to your website. Is a prospective employer asking to see your resume? Give them a link to your site. Did you lose your original files in a computer crash? Your website serves as an online repository where you can recover and print them if needed. A website keeps copies of your professional materials all organized in one place for easy access. This will also keep costs down on toner and inkjet cartridges.
Improves Your Chance Of Gaining New Clients
If you work as a freelancer or own your own business, getting new clients can be a challenge. Having an online portfolio provides prospective clients with an overview of your work, who you are, and what you do. Your website allows them to quickly learn the basics about you and determine whether you would be a good fit for their needs.
Clients are becoming increasingly concerned with saving time, and having a well-designed online portfolio allows them to learn what they want to know about you without needing to take time to exchange emails or make a phone call. When clients are able to learn what they need to know from your website, they are more likely to hire you for their project.
Serves As A Tool For Self-Reflection
No matter what industry you are in, you should always be striving to improve. When working to expand your knowledge and improve your skills, an online portfolio containing samples of your past work provides a place where you can look back at your activities and see what you have accomplished. It also allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and home in on areas that you need to work on. As you update your professional website, you will see how you are improving over time. As a bonus, of course, prospective employers and clients will also see how you’ve improved over time.
What To Include On Your Professional Portfolio Website
Your professional portfolio website should serve as an addition to your resume and cover letter. Include up-to-date contact information, links to your professional social media accounts, your blog, etc. Write up a bio that showcases who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Keep it relevant and professional, but add enough detail to create a really clear picture for your readers.
When it comes to work samples, share anything that you are proud of. If you are a writer, you may want to share samples of blog posts or advertising copy that you’ve written. If you work in a technical field, you might want to share a case study for a project that you worked on. If you are a teacher, you could share information about a teaching tool you’ve created or statistics regarding the performance of students you have taught.
If you have anything that you are proud of that is in any way related to your career, share it. Your website is your own, and it should be a place where you can feel confident sharing anything that may help you advance your career.
A professional portfolio website provides a place to share your accomplishments and qualifications while building your online presence and connecting with prospective clients and employers. No matter what industry you are in, having your own website sets you apart from others who are looking for work in your field, and it improves your credibility.