Creating your portfolio is the first step to becoming a web developer.
But, it can be intimidating.
It will be your first impression for employers or clients, so you want it to be perfect.
But what should it look like? And, what should you include?
In this article, I’ll talk about some things you should include in your portfolio.
Your portfolio is more than a resume or CV. It is an ongoing example that allows you to showcase your skills and set you apart from the competition, whether you are looking for freelance clients or looking to land a job with an employer.
If it is well designed, has personality, and showcases your skills in the right way, you’ll make an impression that sticks.
So, how do you do that?
There are at least 7 essential elements go into creating a development portfolio that catches someone’s attention and helps you stand out from everyone else trying to land a client or get a job.
And, no matter what your specialty is, whether it’s UX design, database management, HTML, or IoT related sites, you should follow these principles when building your web development portfolio.
There are a million different types of websites and specializations within the web development industry. Define what kind of work you want to do before you begin developing your portfolio. Then make it clear that you are specifically looking for that particular type of work on your portfolio. Anyone who visits your portfolio should know what type of work you specialize in almost instantly.
Many developers, in an effort to get work, try to become “generalists” willing to do almost anything. You’ll learn quickly that without some sort of specialization that sets you apart, it’s hard to stand out from other people competing with you to get work. Finding and promoting your specialization not only helps you stand out from the crowd, it helps you find better paying jobs too!
Once you know what type of work you want to do, it’s easy to figure out what type of examples to provide. Some people fill their portfolios with projects and examples that highlight things that are irrelevant to the type of work they want to do. Highlighting work that has little to do with your specialization dilutes your portfolio and can cost you work.
So, what should you do instead? Prepare a couple of very high-quality examples of the specific type of work you want to showcase. A couple of curated examples of what you can do demonstrates your value far better than a bunch of examples that have nothing to do with your specialization.
Potential employers and clients want to know about YOU as well as the work you do. Whether you are showing this to a potential employer or client, they want to know what type of person they’ll be working with.
While you can go overboard with personal information, make sure your website showcases a bit of personality. They don’t need to know what football team you root for or the name of your favorite childhood pet. But, you want to give them a sense of who you are and what it will be like to work with you. What qualities does your work embody? How do clients describe working with you? What core values do you embody? Give people a sense of what they’ll experience when working with you.
Did you find a particularly creative solution to a client’s problem? Did you solve an issue in a new or surprising way? Are you proud of what you did on a website? Does a particular website make you particularly proud when you look at it? Consider interesting and creative ways to draw their attention to these things. Maybe you can record a quick video, have someone create a clever infographic, or highlight your work through a clever button on your site.
Make sure to highlight things that stand out about your work. Employers and clients don’t always know the technical details of what you’ve done, and many need a little help to understand why some of the things you’ve done are so important. This is where you can shine and prove that you are a great communicator.
If you are developing a web development portfolio, it had better be on a website that looks good, functions intuitively, and impresses potential clients or employers. Don’t slap some generic website together. Take the time and put a little effort into making the website you create showcase your work and have some extra sizzle and spark. Your portfolio is often the first example someone will see of your work. Make sure they are impressed with it. Putting in extra effort on the front end will make hiring on the back end easier.
I can’t stress this enough. If you claim to be a great web developer, but you are sending clients and employers to a broken website, you’ll have trouble.
It is surprisingly easy to overlook simple things like checking links, incorrectly linking buttons, and having obvious typos in the design. Whenever possible, have someone else proofread and review your website for any issues.
Social proof is essential, and the more real testimonials you can showcase, the more someone will be likely to hire you. When a past client or customer gives you a glowing testimonial, make sure potential customers can see it.
And, make sure you sprinkle testimonials throughout your site. Get feedback from clients and match that feedback with the projects you display on your portfolio. Draw their attention to your testimonials by adding them in graphics, including them in bold print, and other things proven to draw the reader’s eyes.
If you’ve done work that people appreciate and praise you for, make sure visitors to your portfolio see it!
There is no such thing as one perfect portfolio website.
Like just about any other website you’ll ever work on, your website will always be a “work in progress.”
There is always something that can be tweaked, updated, improved, or changed.
The point isn’t to create a perfect website. It’s to create something that catches the right person’s attention and helps you stand out from the crowd.
Keep your website up to date with your latest and best projects, newest skills, and most important information!
If you need inspiration to build your portfolio checkout these great web front-end portfolio ideas.
Thanks for reading!