Your quick and easy guide to building a professional personal portfolio site.
Your portfolio site should be the largest single representation of what it is you do. If you are a Web developer, then it should highlight your skill and experience first and foremost. Likewise, photographers for hire would benefit greatly from having their best work displayed front and center throughout their site.
Perhaps the most important step to building a professional personal portfolio is to make sure the site reflects your personality and unique style without distracting from what it is you want visitors to see. If you prefer to position your personal branding in a way that targets potential employers that share your mindset for self-expression, then you should inject your style in every component of your site from stem to stern.
Many professionals work in fields where individual style is not as appreciated as professional appeal. These portfolios are best designed with clean, intuitive interfaces. You should always target your site's design to the type of person you want to work for. Your site will speak volumes about you in the first five seconds. Make those seconds paint you in the best light possible.
Proper grammar is essential to any CV or resume. Your personal portfolio is basically an extended version of one, and as such should be given every bit as much care as you would a printed CV you submit to an employer.
Few things are more disconcerting to some employers than considering a Web developer for a job only to find out that their attention to detail does not extend to their own site. This does not mean that developers should be masters of their primary language, either. Find someone that does a lot of writing in their daily work and ask them to give your site a once-over. The vast majority of bad grammar or spelling can be caught and corrected with a second look.
A lot of people love to put social network badges on their personal portfolio in order to encourage people to follow them on their Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ account. This can be a double-edged sword when it comes to attracting potential employers.
On one hand, your social media pages can help you build a reputation of professionalism that extends well beyond the initial impression provided by your site. This works as long as you consider every public post you make prior to submitting it. Political statements, photos of yourself at parties, and complaints about previous employers can leave a bad taste in any employer's mouth.
You can use your social media pages to build a reputation as an expert and influencer in your field. As such, they should serve as an extension of your site (which is itself an extension of your CV).
This rule of thumb goes for any other link you might share on your portfolio. Previous clients, work examples, and other information should be checked regularly for 404 errors and potentially vetted to make sure the individuals involved with these links are not going to work against you.
Before you give out a previous client's name, make sure you have talked to them after the job was done and asked if they would mind if you added their brand to your portfolio. Some more detailed contracts involve reaching out to previous clients and asking them what their experience was like with you. This simple precaution will avoid any issues in this area.
it is easy to bury your contact information under a mountain of useful info and exceptional examples of your work.
Remember: Your site should make it easy for people to not only determine if you are worth considering, but to contact you in the event that they want to take the next step.
This means not only listing your email address and/or providing a contact form for visitors, but a phone number. You can get a free phone number and voicemail box from Skype which can be forwarded to your phone, or checked periodically through your browser.
Personal portfolios can be a powerful tool to attract new clients and potentially even a full-time employer. The time you spend building it and making it just right can certainly pay off for you down the road. Just remember, the devil is in the details.