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12 Things To Remember If You Want To Create A Stunning Online Portfolio

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12 Things To Remember If You Want To Create A Stunning Online Portfolio

Online portfolios are becoming more and more necessary for professionals, even ones in non-artistic fields. There are a lot of them out there, so it’s important that yours stands out from all the rest. Here are a few things to remember if you want to have a truly stunning online portfolio.

1. Keep it simple.

An attractive portfolio is almost always a simple one. One of the most important things I can tell you is to not fill your online portfolio with unnecessary clutter. Google beats Yahoo by avoiding ads and clickbait on their home page. Employ the same strategy to have an effective online portfolio.

2. Have an appropriate portfolio layout.

One of the earliest decisions you have to make with your online portfolio is what layout you’re going to use. Consider the various templates that the service you’re using offers and decide carefully which one will best display the product or service that you’re selling to potential clients. It might also help to ask for feedback from friends and colleagues so you can decide on the best layout possible.

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3. Focus on the work.

Remember why people are browsing your online portfolio in the first place. If you’re a photographer, focus on your photos. If you’re an artist, focus on your works of art. You want to promote yourself, yes, but before boring guests with your experience and life history, give them what they initially came to your online portfolio for.

4. Don’t treat your portfolio like a dump.

The point of a portfolio is to showcase you at your best. If you upload everything you’ve ever done to your online portfolio, you’re letting yourself be judged by your worst work. Viewers will appreciate ten high-quality samples more than a hundred average ones every time.

5. Write a killer bio.

The second most visited part of most websites is the ‘About’ page, so make sure the copy on yours sings. Write a relatively short bio that introduces you and explains clearly what you can do for your clients. Don’t treat the bio like a brief history of you so much as a succinct compilation of reasons why you would be a great hire.

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6. Include testimonials.

Even if it feels like bragging, make sure you have a spot for testimonials on your online portfolio. You demonstrate your skills with the samples, but you need quotes from clients and employers on your online portfolio to prove your professionalism.

7. Have a ‘Hire Me’ tab.

The ultimate goal of your online portfolio is presumably to get hired, so make it extremely easy for people to hire you! Any time someone’s looking at a great sample of yours, it should only take one click to convert them from a fan into a client.

8. Look good on mobile.

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mobile

    The internet is being browsed on phones and tablets more and more frequently, so make sure your online portfolio looks as appealing on mobile as it does on desktop. SquareSpace is one service that automatically formats the content of your website so that it looks great on any device, so I would encourage you to start there.

    9. Connect with social media.

    Social media is paramount when it comes to marketing yourself, so make sure you intertwine it with your online portfolio. Have links to your portfolio from every one of your social networks, and links to all your social networks on your portfolio.

    10. Keep updating.

    Most portfolios tend to stay stagnant, so you’ll separate yourself from the rest of the pack by keeping yours fresh and up-to-date. Show guests of your website that you continue to produce stellar work instead of expecting them to trust your abilities based on what you produced years ago. Regular updates will also aid search engine optimization (SEO), getting your online portfolio higher in the Google rankings.

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    11. Consider keeping a blog.

    Regularly writing about your career demonstrates to your clients that you really care about your work. Even if you only do it once a week or even twice a month, posting on a portfolio blog will help you gain credibility and also improves SEO.

    12. Distinguish yourself.

    The truth is that a lot of people, especially in artistic fields, already have online portfolios. What you need to do is find a way to make yours unique enough that it will be both noticed and remembered. Study other professionals’ portfolio and think about what could be done to take them to the next level. Look at all the features offered by online portfolio services and figure out which ones aren’t being taken advantage of. Most importantly, find a way to express yourself as only you can. Those are some of the keys to creating a stunning online portfolio.

    Featured photo credit: Young man working on street. A young black college student is sitting outside, working on a laptop computer, looking down, thinking. Wall Street sign in the background. via shutterstock.com

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    Matt OKeefe

    Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on August 25, 2021

    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

    As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

    Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

    According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

    “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

    A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

    What Is Your Personal Brand?

    “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

    Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

    Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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    I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

    A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

    Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

    Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

    Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

    In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

    According to Castrillon,[2]

    “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

    The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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    As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

    In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

    “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

    When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

    The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

    Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

    The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

    5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

    These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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    1. Set Your Personal Goals

    What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

    2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

    Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

    1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
    2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
    3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
    4. What makes you different from others like you?

    The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

    3. Write Your Professional Story

    Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

    4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

    Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

    5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

    A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

    The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

    Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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    As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

    Other People’s Stories

    Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

    Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

    Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

    “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

    So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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