A portfolio serves as a comprehensive visual representation of your skills, growth, and artistic identity. It enables you to showcase your work, attract opportunities, and build a strong foundation for artistic careers. Having a portfolio is crucial for students in Emersonian industries for several reasons:
- Showcasing Skills and Talent: A portfolio allows you, students and professionals, to demonstrate your artistic skills, creativity, and technical abilities to potential employers, clients, or partners. It serves as tangible proof of your capabilities and provides a visual representation of your work.
- Establishing Professional Identity: A portfolio helps Emersonians establish your professional identity and personal brand. It allows you to curate your best work and present it in a cohesive and professional manner, reflecting your unique style and artistic vision.
- Demonstrating Growth and Progression: A portfolio provides a platform for you to document your professional journey and showcase your growth and progression over time. It can include a range of projects, from early works to current pieces, highlighting the development of your skills, experimentation, and exploration of different techniques.
- Increasing Visibility and Opportunities: A well-curated portfolio can enhance the visibility in your industry. It can be shared with potential employers, agencies, publishers, or clients to attract new opportunities, collaborations, exhibitions, or commissions. A strong portfolio can act as a powerful marketing tool and open doors to various career prospects.
- Networking and Building Professional Relationships: A portfolio provides a tangible representation of your skills and abilities, making it easier for you to connect with industry professionals, peers, and potential mentors. It serves as a conversation starter and can help initiate meaningful discussions, collaborations, or mentorship opportunities.
Questions to Consider When Building Your Portfolio
Where: Which platform are you using? Often a website, blog, or social media account is ideal. Research industry-specific portfolios. Consider the type of engagement you’d like from your portfolio (reading articles you write, watching your film trailers, commenting on images, sharing your reels, etc). Identify the top 3–5 sites you want to use as a model.
How: What’s the purpose of your portfolio? What outcome are you hoping to achieve? Is it to get a job, sell a product or service, describe your experience, and/or showcase examples of your work? On a document, draft out the pages, sections or types of content you want to provide. What does your industry want? What is required or beneficial in your field? Tip: Make an appointment with your career counselor for advice and get feedback from peers and faculty.
For Whom: Who is your target audience? Be specific. What message do you want to convey to your audience? How can your design support the message? What do you need to include in your portfolio? What story do you want them to take away after they leave your site? What do you want them to know about you? Tip: Gather feedback from professional peers, professors, managers, friends and family, but most importantly, your target audience.
Sections of a Website
Below is a basic outline of what should be included in a portfolio website. Research what your industry and potential employers are looking for in a portfolio. Tip: Find a few portfolios of someone you admire professionally and identify what makes their website great. Use their portfolio for inspiration to make your own.
About Me Section
- 1–2 paragraph bio about yourself
- A professional photo of you
- Contact information including professional social media channels and LinkedIn
What You Do Section(s)
- This is your opportunity to showcase your best work. Link published articles, trailers to films you’ve directed, images of you public speaking, links to podcasts you’ve been on, etc. Yes, you can and should include projects and work from your time at Emerson! However, make sure all of your work is clear, understandable, and straightforward.
- For Freelance Workers: Add a section on how clients can work with you, explanations of the products or services you provide.
- Provide your social media handles.
- Some people put their email, but for privacy reasons, others don’t.
- Call To Action (CTA): Recommended for each page of your website, you should include a CTA in at least your Contact section. A CTA is a request or an ask, to get people to learn more about you. Examples include: watching a film you produced, reading an article you made, following you on Instagram, or emailing you to schedule a time to connect.
Additional and Optional Information in Your Portfolio
- Testimonials: What is it like to work with you?
- Nonprofessional work (large projects for hobbies)
- A blog discussing your expertise, thoughts, on events in your industry, unpublished work, etc.
For guidance and more personalized questions, contact your career advisor.