Here’s Why an Online Portfolio is Critical for a Website Designer
The world of website design is extremely competitive. Everywhere you look, you will find website designers offering their services at knock-down prices. Talented freelancers are competing against low-skilled individuals who know how to use Photoshop or Dream Weaver, but not much else. With a website an essential accessory these days, you can still make a living, but to secure the best paying jobs, you need to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do this – other than by working hard to secure word-of-mouth recommendations – is by creating a stand-out online portfolio.
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A 2014 survey by an online portfolio company found that 56% of hiring managers were impressed by an online website or portfolio. Back then, personal branding websites/portfolios were less common, but they have become increasingly important, especially if you work in the digital realm. These days, almost anyone looking to hire a website designer will look for their online portfolio – and if it doesn’t exist, they will move swiftly on.
Let it Shine
A beautiful portfolio is your chance to shine. They say one picture paints a thousand words, and in the case of web development work, no amount of purple prose can do a website design project justice. You can wax lyrical in your resume and attempt to describe some of the projects you have worked on, but it is far easier to direct potential employers to an online portfolio website.
What to Include in a Portfolio
There is no place for mediocrity, so be selective about what you include in your online portfolio. It stands to reason that a potential employer wants to see the best work you can do. Select from your most recent projects and highlight any awards you have won. Try to focus on different skills with each project in your portfolio. Since different clients will be looking for different solutions to their problems, it is best to include plenty of variety.
Add a short explanation for each project, to add context. You don’t need to include the client’s full brief, but it is sensible to include a summary of what the client was looking for, so viewers can decide for themselves whether your work fulfilled the brief.
How to Handle a Lack of Relevant Experience
It’s OK to show off work you produced as a student web designer if you’re newly qualified, but do ensure your work is top-quality. Showcase projects you have completed as part of your course. It’s also a good idea to work on dummy projects if you lack experience. Produce work for a pretend client and aim to solve some interesting problems. The more work you have, the better.
You are a creative person, so show off a little. Talk a bit about your work and give viewers some insights into your creative process. It offers employers a more well-rounded view of who you are, so they can make a “connection”.
It is also a good idea to provide a link to your resume, just in case they want to keep your details on file for future projects.