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Portfolio tips for freelancer's

5 ways to create a good portfolio

Film-makers, designers, project managers, web developers – many different types of freelancers use portfolios to show off their work. Here are some tips and tricks to improve your portfolio, whatever your industry.

1. Your portfolio should sit on a website, or at least have some way of contacting you online

Once someone’s looked at your portfolio, make it super-simple for them to contact you by having your number/email/contact me button clearly visible. Clients may also share your portfolio, and having it online makes this easy. You might even get some work from people stumbling across your site. If you’re a designer, you might have an online and an offline/print version of your portfolio, and if you’re a film-maker, you might just upload your showreel to YouTube.

2. Change and update your portfolio regularly

It can be hard to set aside time, especially when you’ve got loads of work on. See your portfolio as a living document – add to it regularly and if possible design it so it’s a set of component parts allowing you to tailor it for your audience. For example, if you’re a film-maker, you might want to make mini versions for client types, eg ‘charity’ ‘corporate’. Don’t forget to prune old projects – as a young freelancer, you’ll be improving fast and your old stuff might hold you back.

3. Show you have the skills your industry requires

Making a portfolio can be time-consuming and as a result other important things sometimes get neglected. For example: If you work in any of the digital industries and you have a project portfolio website, then it MUST be good, which means a clean lay out, loads fast, easy to read. If you’re an editor or writer, one typo on your website could spell the end of everything, not to be dramatic. If you’re a film-maker, your show reel should be as engaging and compelling as you can possibly make it, rather than trying to fit in every single great moment of your career. This is because clients will look not just for evidence of your core skills (eg film-making) but other abilities as well (eg understanding your audience.)

4. Make clients feel like they’re getting a service

Clients like to feel they’re in safe hands, not using a one-man band who might disappear off the radar at any second. A portfolio is a good place to show how long a project took, what the challenges were and how you resolved them, and to talk about how you ensure clients get a good service.

5. Use social media to make a ‘living portfolio’

Social networks are a great place to show off your skills. Post about projects, share your work, and network with other people in your industry. Clients are more likely to find your social network before they find your portfolio website, so don’t miss the opportunity to grab their attention.

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