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5 Tips for a Better Online Portfolio

September 28, 2010

Written by Mandy Boyle

If you’re trying to land a position in communications, you need to have a portfolio; it’s just that simple. In my previous interviews with Deirdre Breakenridge and Gini Dietrich, these PR pros gave their insights on what makes or breaks a great portfolio. Taking their advice into account as well as the advice of other communications professionals, here are 10 tips for making your online portfolio stand out from the crowd.

1.)    Keep things simple. When putting together a portfolio, it can be easy to get carried away with putting in samples of work. Sometimes, you just want to include everything. However, you need to make sure that include only your best work. Choose 10-15 samples or show several campaigns. The key is to choose work that fully demonstrates your expertise.

2.)    Have a clear idea goal. Do you want to obtain a position in a particular agency or area of communications? If so, what pieces would a potential employer look for? Have a clear idea of where the portfolio is going and how it’s targeted. Play to strengths that can fit in well with the position you’re applying for and put together a portfolio with your goal in mind.

3.)    Make your portfolio accessible. Everyone agrees that digital portfolios can be much easier to find and navigate and if you want your talent to be found, and be prepared to share the portfolio in as many places as possible. Upload it to Scribd and display it on your website. Include links on your Facebook or Twitter pages. Add a link to your email signature. Just make sure that it’s easy to find and navigate. Can’t put it online? At least make it a PDF, which can be read by just about any computer.

4.)    Demonstrate your unique talents. Have experience making videos? Love audio editing? Passionate about graphic design? Find a way to show that in your portfolio by making it engaging to the senses. If your portfolio is digital, feel free to link to some of your best designs, videos or clips. If it’s not digital, include information on where to find some of your more sensory samples and be sure to make everything look neat. Show your personality but do it professionally.

5.)    Turn your portfolio into a website. This is a great way to ensure that all of your talents are showcased while making your portfolio as interactive as possible. Show off your web design skills with a sick layout. Then, upload your work samples into a cool gallery. Show off your writing chops with a built-in blog and About Me page, then finish everything up with a strong call to action and a copy of your resume. Display your knowledge of new communication technologies by syncing up your social media profiles with your site, adding a few podcasts, or even embedding video. Just make sure your contact information is correct and easy to find. Interested in giving this a try? Check out this post on Smashing Magazine for online portfolio tips and tools.

Do you have any other tips for young professionals and their online portfolios? Feel free to share them with us!

Mandy Boyle is a graduate student and freshly-minted communications professional. As a Search Engine Optimization Specialist for Solid Cactus and published freelance writer, Mandy is no stranger to compelling storytelling. When she’s not at her laptop or in the classroom, you can usually find her in the kitchen. Cupcakes are her specialty. Follow Mandy on Twitter at @mandyboyle or visit her website (

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