You have an online portfolio, but you aren’t sure if it’s working for you. Because a good online portfolio is an asset in a job search, it’s important to know how to get it in front of the right people.
“There is no one, magic resource that will market your work and who you are as a professional,” says Marc Scoleri, director of career services at The Art Institute of New York City.
To develop a targeted plan, conduct research to determine where your audience is looking for the skills you offer. Here are some suggestions on how to market your online portfolio from Scoleri and Juliane Pelfrey, director of career services from The Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati, a branch of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.
Industry and other portfolio sites
Whether you’re a budding professional or a skilled expert, content is important to sites that host portfolios because content generates traffic and attracts employers. Pick sites that have higher traffic, are more visible than others and best fit your skill sets. In addition to your official portfolio site, look for other portfolio sites or industry-related sites like FilterFoundry.com, Behance.com or Art Director’s Club adcglobal.com.
LinkedIn and social media
Scoleri recommends LinkedIn as the best use of professional online networking. You can create a company profile from within your personal LinkedIn profile. Connect with other professionals and ask for recommendations. While other social media sites can assist in your marketing efforts, it’s not necessary, Scoleri says. If you plan on using Facebook, Twitter or blogs, use them so that they link to your official portfolio site.
Search engine optimization
Include keywords on your site that employers are using to search for talent. Include these keywords in your online portfolio, blog, LinkedIn page, etc. If you are looking for freelance or contract work, you may want to look into paying for Google AdWords.
Go mobile and keep up with technology
There’s nothing worse than a missed opportunity. A portfolio site should easily load on a mobile device. Take your site to networking events via an iPhone or iPad. Show up in person when networking at industry events. Pull out your iPhone and show your work when appropriate. Get others to view your site quickly by placing a quick response code on your business cards that links directly to your portfolio .
Marketing promotional slicks
A marketing slick or a promotional slick is like a teaser ad, says Pelfrey. “The slick is a self-promotional document, perhaps in PDF format, that includes your top two, and no more than four pieces of work with short descriptions and a link to your online portfolio site should they want to see more,” she says.
Pelfrey recommends that you keep the slick to the standard 8.5-by-11-inch size to facilitate viewing and printing. Send the promotional slick with your resume.
Is your site marketable?
“The online portfolio lacks human interaction,” Pelfrey says. “You have to convey who you are and what you can do through pictures.”
Before you market your online portfolio, make sure it is:
1. Updated. An online portfolio site is similar to a resume. Make sure your links, contact information, biography, list of accomplishments, etc., are current and active.
2. Tailored. Show your potential employers that you can do the type of work that they are looking for and need. Employers need to be able to directly relate to your work.
3. Professional. Be selective when featuring work that portrays extreme religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political stance, ethnic background or violence. If you do include images that elicit a strong, emotional response be sure it serves the purpose of your ultimate goal.
4. Your best. Only include your best work. Ask a colleague, an instructor or a friend. They can give you their best recommendations.
Brand yourself and consider yourself a company. Try to keep your look and feel consistent. Use color, font or a logo to create a common thread between your portfolio site, business card, blog, etc.