Creative Portfolio Websites to Get You the Job You Want

This week at SXSW Interactive, Roxanne Schwartz, the Community Manager at Behance, gave a talk about building a creative portfolio that will stand out and how to get it noticed. She spoke about Behance and how to use it to your advantage, but also gave tips that would be applicable for any kind of portfolio site, whether it uses Behance or not. "Behance is the leading platform to showcase and discover creative work," Schwartz said. Behance has over 6 million members, 200 million page views, and 10,0000 new projects uploaded daily. Members of Behance have a great opportunity to get noticed because of the mass exposure that platform offers. You can share your projects on your Portfolio Page on Behance. And cnce you click on one of the projects from that page you'll be directed to the "Project Page" where you can elaborate on that particular project with more images and text. According to Schwartz, the most successful projects on Behance contain eight to ten images. Behance also has a something called ProSite that can be used to create a custom portfolio site with a custom domain name. ProSite can be synced with Behance projects and is included with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. The integration with Adobe CC makes it really easy to create, share, and customize a website, especially since so many of Behance's users are already using Adobe software, Schwartz said.

Screenshot from Tobias Hall’s ProSite, mentioned in Schwartz’s talk.



Building Your Creative Shop Window

Your online portfolio is always working to show who you are and what you can do. If you think your portfolio is under-performing, the best time to fix it is now. Leaving up a bad portfolio is doing yourself a great disservice.

If people are constantly praising the design of your site but not the work you’re showcasing, then you’ve probably designed your site poorly. Images should be the center of attention since that’s what you’re showing off. Also, make your site easy to navigate since the people who are looking at it to hire you will only look at it for a few seconds.

Simplicity and organization in the design of your site will push the work you’ve done forward.

“Take a step back and curate your best work,” Schwartz said. “You’re only as good as your last project and your portfolio is only as good as your worst image. Remember, this is your portfolio site, not your external hard drive, so you want to make sure that really only the best of the best goes up.”

Showing older work is only really great if you’ve worked for a well-known brand. It’s important to give time to work that you’re doing right now and to showcase the type of work that you want to do in the future. If you’ve done 3D animation for the last five years but you’d rather be a modeler, then make sure that your modeling is easily accessible and highlighted.

Few great images are better than a bunch of images that are just okay. The images within each project should be chosen carefully.

Make a point to share the back story of your creations. People want to know how you created your work. Provide a story, show the process. “Even the most beautiful images without context are really not as shareable as ones with a story.” Schwartz said. Tell the viewer why you made the decisions that you did and elaborate on it.

Don’t be afraid to share any awards or press coverage that you may have gotten on your site. If you have a blog include it if you update it frequently and it’s relevant to your work. It’s a great way for future employers to get to know you better.

Keep your portfolio fresh and give it constant attention. Try scheduling a time at least once a month to reevaluate your site and add new work and take down older less relevant work.

Contact information should be easy to find and you should even consider adding your contact information on every page. It’s helpful to link your portfolio with your social accounts to help give clients more ways to contact you.

Include an About page that tells a story about you. An About page is where you can share how you’ve got to where you are today. It’s also a place for you to let your personality show through.

Always give credit where credit’s due by talking about the teams that you worked with to produce your pieces. By listing the people you work with it shows your ability to work with a team and a confidence that you’re comfortable sharing credit.

Something that can help you is to show personal work alongside your professional work. It’ll show your passion and that what you’re working on is really something you believe in. It’s also a great way for you to showcase what you can do even if someone hasn’t paid you to do it…yet.

Make updating your portfolio part of your creative process. For every delivery day grab a snapshot to add to your portfolio. If you start to make beefing up your portfolio a part of your every day work then when it’s time to update it, it won’t seem so overwhelming.


Now, do some of your own PR

If you want people to see your portfolio you have to get it out there. One option is to connect your social accounts so that people can find you. It’s also helpful to automate the process of connecting them. Sites like Behance makes it possible for you to link your social accounts and publish what you post in more than one place.

Make sharing your work easy by adding social buttons alongside your work. The key is to share your work, not brag about it. The more you share the more you’ll drive traffic to your portfolio, and the more you put into your portfolio, the more you’ll get out of it.

It’s crucial that you maintain an active presence on your portfolio and work to make it a page that people want to come back to see what you’re working on currently. Don’t let it get stale and stagnant.

Make contacts within your networks to build a foundation for your creative network. Get out there and attend local events where you can network with people who have similar interests.

Strategically add your portfolio website to different places people can see it, like in your email signature, business cards, and within your social profiles.

“Unless you start shouting about yourself nobody will necessarily know where that website is,” Schwartz said.