Contributed by Tacy Trowbridge, education programs lead at Adobe.
Students looking to start a creative career today have many advanced tools available at their fingertips, but this does not mean getting started is easy. Success requires more than personal skills and talent. Networking and showcasing your work are critical to being noticed by potential employers.
Take student portfolios for example. In today’s digital world, hard-copy collections no longer suffice; students need online portfolios that showcase their best work for others to discover and explore in real time. How can students create a portfolio that stands out and gets them noticed?
Digital portfolios can be developed in a variety of ways, from free blogging platforms such as WordPress, to software programs and services like Adobe’s Behance. Behance is also integrated with Creative Cloud, where students can access professional-level creative apps to produce work, build a personal portfolio and collaborate. Once a project is completed, students can share directly to Behance from Creative Cloud or within Photoshop or Illustrator simply by adding a title and tags. With more than 140 million page views per month and 87 percent of traffic coming from potential employers, Behance provides a great platform for exposure.
Here are some tips that can be useful to students who are just getting started or for those who are working to refine and finalize their portfolio:
Share your very best work and showcase your skills.
It is great to show versatility and a variety of work, but make sure it is polished and displays unique ideas. Look at it as an opportunity to show off what you are capable of producing. Photographed images stand above comped images.
Curate your portfolio with an editing eye.
Each piece should reinforce a well thought out message that you want to communicate to the creative world about yourself.
Share your work in other places as well.
Almost every student now has accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and/or Twitter. Share work from your portfolio with these online networks. Many portfolio platforms have these capabilities built in and make it easy to share more broadly.
Check out this social media cheat sheet for handy sizes when sharing.
Respond to inquiries and commenters to create engagement.
Whether people are just emailing to ask you about a technique or inquiring with a job opportunity, networking is an important part of portfolio management. Platforms such as Behance also allow other members to comment, follow and leave appreciations on work. Feedback like this can be great for refining work and learning new tips.
Follow and observe other creatives’ work.
The best way to begin building a network is by following the creatives you admire and exploring work in a given field. This will also help you recognize emerging trends by seeing the latest creative work from within your network.
Always update your portfolio.
Digital portfolios maintained over time can also be a great way to observe your own personal growth. It is key to never stop reviewing your own work and discovering your areas for improvement and growth. The combined power of a great portfolio and sharing platforms can enhance students’ opportunities as they begin their careers in creative fields.
Do you have any other tips for building an online portfolio and getting your name out there?