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3 Things to Avoid when Building Your Online Portfolio


In the age of millennials, Facebook and social media, and a time when most services are promoted digitally, having an online portfolio is less of a choice, and more of an imperative. This statement rings true whether you’re a journalist, photographer, fashion designer or any other creative person. It’s also applicable to freelancers who would like to display the fruits of their past labors and careers in an efficient and well-laid out way. However, there are a number of mistakes that people make time and again when designing an online portfolio that may well cost them a job. From not refining your current resume to using poor images, the number of pitfalls are numerous. Below we will discuss a list of common but easily avoidable faux pas that professionals make when creating and presenting an online portfolio.

Using a substandard platform

This is a mistake people make from the outset. It’s usually the result of a lack of research before starting out or being coaxed by a free CMS platform such as Blogger or Wix. And while these free websites do have their uses, they’re also limiting. For starters, the site displaying your work will could be hindered by a suffix dedicated to your hosting site such as .blogger or .wix that looks amateur and unprofessional. It’s worth paying a small annual fee for your own site with its own domain name. While this might sound daunting, there are website building companies, such as 1&1, that provide the tools needed to build a professional-looking website. Once you have these basics down, you can start the process of creating your online presence. The benefits of this include your own personalized email address as well as full creative and editorial control over what your online portfolio will look like and contain.

Thinking all work samples are equal

Taking pride in the work you do is never a bad thing, but you have to understand that not every piece will make the cut, no matter how much work went into it. It’s not so much “kill your darlings” as “favor certain darlings.” When creating an online portfolio, only the best work should be included, that’s also relevant to the job you’re applying for. This means that even if you write a technically brilliant essay on microbiology, including it in a portfolio that will be used as a sample for a satire website won’t do you any favors. If you’re applying to a number of jobs, then include a variety of different work and categorize it accordingly, but always cater your work samples to reflect the experience and knowledge you’ve garnered in previous jobs and projects.

Overcomplicating the website

The website hosting your portfolio should be straightforward. The emphasis should always be on the content rather than a design that is going to draw attention away from that, so always try to only include the essentials. Avoid flashy websites that will distract rather than focus and instead opt for a simple, practical design that is easy to navigate. Have few website sections and stick with a uniform font that is used consistently throughout the website.

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