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Showcase Your Work in an Online Career Portfolio

A portfolio is a presentation of your best work and demonstration of your skills. Portfolios can be used when applying for internships and jobs, gaining freelancing clients and applying to graduate schools. You may even have classes in which a portfolio, or e-portfolio, is required. Portfolios vary by majors and careers but they all can help you stand out.


Types of Portfolios

  • Academic Portfolios are reflective assessments in academics, research, service and leadership combined with evidence to support your accomplishments. Academic portfolios are common in Education.
  • Demo Reels, or show reels, are a collection of your best work presented in an audio or video format. In industries like Animation, Film, and TV, and Video Games, demo reels allow employers to assess your skill sets and talents and are submitted to employers for industry internships or jobs.
  • Print Portfolios are physical presentations (e.g.: a book, interactive package or binder) of your best work. Print portfolios contain work such as ad campaigns, designs, illustrations, photographs, or writing samples. Although many artists choose to showcase and share their work digitally, print portfolios are still common in industries such as Advertising, Fine Arts, Illustration, Photography and Graphic Design.
  • Web Portfolios allow you to showcase your work and skills online for an employer, client or class. Creating a professional web portfolio (a.k.a online portfolio, digital portfolio or e-portfolio) with your best work is best a practice for all majors to show off your skills and talents. Creating a web portfolio (and/or demo reel) is essential for success in the creative industries.

Plan it

Before you start building your online portfolio, you need a plan. Ask yourself:

  • What type of portfolio? Easy and free-to-use website building tools make it possible to create and maintain a website with your work.
  • What type of media do you want to include? (e.g., videos, graphics, multimedia, photos, audio, articles, social media, etc.)?
  • Who is your audience? What do you want them to know about you?
  • What is your message? What unique skills or experiences have you had? How can you show it?
  • What type of tool will you use? (Website building tool? Blog site? Print portfolio?)

Answering these questions will help you identify what you need for your site’s content and which tools to use to build it.

Source: cuny.edu, Rosaleen Ortiz


What to include: the basics

While the actual content of your portfolio will vary depending on your major and industry, there are a few essential elements that every portfolio should have:

  1. A Homepage: As the front door to your website, your homepage should be an inviting place. It needs to clearly convey what the site is and entice users to read more. Navigation on this page should be easy to use and easy to find.
  2. Biography or 'about me' section: A professional biography sums up who you are and what you have to offer. Show your personality, but remember to be professional. Your bio can be part of homepage or a separate tab/page.
  3. Up-to-date resume: Include a copy of your resume, with a print or download option. You may remove your home address from your resume, but be sure to include some form of contact information.
  4. Samples with context: Your work samples provide evidence of your skills, knowledge, experience, and uniqueness. “The primary reason anyone will visit your website is to see your work, so give them enough to look at - but not too much - and organize your pieces strategically. Be sure you have permission to post any work that belongs to clients or employers”.1

    Clearly label and describe the samples you post in your portfolio. Be succinct, but give readers insight into what they’re looking at - is it a class project? Did you write or design it yourself?
  5. Contact information:Make it easy for a potential employer to get in touch. Include relevant social media links, such as your LinkedIn profile.

A portfolio isn’t an autobiography. Don’t include your entire life history. Show only your best work and provide relevant examples. Organize your content into separate sections, such as your education, experience, references and contact information. Upload relevant documents or media to each section of the site.

1Source: The Creative Group


Choose the right tool

There are plenty of tools you can use to create your portfolio. Choose a platform that’s right for you and the type of work you intend to show. Focus on simplicity and ease of use both for you and your potential readers. Your portfolio can have some personality, just don’t let it distract or take away from its primary function: highlighting your work.

If possible, opt for your own domain name. It is standard in creative industries to have (www.yourname.com) as your website URL.

Once your portfolio is ready to be viewed by employers, promote it on your email signature, your resume, business cards, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Blogging platforms Other website tools:
Portfolio tools (best suited for creative industries)
For Print Portfolios For Demo Reels
Training for Technology Tools PowerPoint

Industry resources and samples

Advertising, PR, Journalism and Communication

  • Select your best work.
  • Proofread before posting.
  • Think about any work you’ve done that displays relevant skills and can be displayed visually. Did you organize an event? Do have pictures?
Helpful Resources:
General PR/Advertising
Samples:
Dakarai Turner’s portfolio: http://www.wix.com/dakaraiturner/dakaraiturner

Animation

  • Show your best work in the first 30 seconds --employers are looking for you to ‘wow’ them!
  • Tailor your reel for the type of internship/job—don’t send 2d animation for a 3d animation internship (and vice versa).
  • Be prepared to speak about your portfolio in an interview.

    For assistance with your demo reel, attend a Portfolio & Demo Reel Workshop for CDM Students or contact the CDM Career Specialist
Helpful Articles:

Digital Cinema

  • Put your strongest work in the beginning of reel (so they’ll keep watching).
  • Know your audience and tailor your reel to the job.

    For assistance with your demo reel, attend a Portfolio & Demo Reel Workshop for CDM Students or contact the CDM Career Specialist
Helpful Articles:

Education

  • Teacher e-portfolios are comprised of a collection of artifacts, insight, and accomplishments that teachers have experienced inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Emphasis should be to highlight the teacher’s knowledge of content, teaching strategies, and strengths in teaching while also leaving room to identify their own unique contribution and philosophy of teaching.
Helpful Resources:

Computer Game Development

Game Designers:

  • Showcase the best games you finished -- include short write-ups on the website.
  • o Include screen shots of your games and make it easy for the employers to view (e.g.: no downloads /installing games)

Game Programmers:

  • Show highlights from your completed games by embedding videos or screenshots.
  • Provide sample code –be sure it is well-organized and documented.

For assistance with your demo reel, attend a Portfolio & Demo Reel Workshop for CDM Students or contact the CDM Career Specialist

Helpful Resources:

Graphic Design

  • Show a variety of work so employers can see your different skills and talents.
  • Hiring managers are looking for you to ‘wow’ them so show off your best work and ideas!

For assistance with your demo reel, attend a Portfolio & Demo Reel Workshop for CDM Students or contact the CDM Career Specialist

Helpful Articles:

HCI

  • Tell a story with your portfolio – explain the projects, processes and outcomes. For group projects, list your contributions.
  • If you have only student work to show, work on building your portfolio with work from outside of class.

    For assistance with your demo reel, attend a Portfolio & Demo Reel Workshop for CDM Students or contact the CDM Career Specialist
Helpful Articles:

Interactive Media

  • Focus your portfolio on 2-3 creative areas you desire to intern or work--include only your best work!
  • Tell a story with your portfolio--include short write-ups on every creative piece, allowing employers to click through for more information.

    For assistance with your demo reel, attend a Portfolio & Demo Reel Workshop for CDM Students or contact the CDM Career Specialist
Helpful Articles: