Put your best footer forward
You’ve done the hard work of building the skills you need to land a role as a junior technologist, now you just need someone to discover you – and pay you. By creating a website that shows off your skills and past work you can help lure employers to your digital door.
Here we’ll look at some tips and tricks for putting together a great portfolio site.
Domain names are like email addresses. While yourfirstnamelastname.com might already be taken, make sure you’re not parked at the domain name equivalent of twizdedAngelsXOXO@emailthing.com.
A professional sounding free WordPress domain and site might be a good start for the cash-strapped, but investing in a creative, professional domain name is a great move.
Know what you want from people visiting your site and give them clear routes to give you what you want. Most junior technologists will be building sites to solicit job offers or contract gigs. Make sure your site features your availability, your skills and how people can get in touch to hire you. Your site can have multiple goals, but be careful about addressing more than two or three on your portfolio site. Showcasing your value as an employee and contractor at the same time makes sense but also adding your music editing and art commissions to the mix risks distracting visitors with too much choice.
People are easily distracted, make sure you’re giving them the important points first. As a general rule, try to give visitors the information you want them to have on the main landing page of your site, at the top. Potential employers may only spend moments on your site. Make sure that visitors to your site can find out…
…as soon as they land on your site, with as little clicking or scrolling as possible.
Include something about yourself that encourages a connection between yourself and a potential employer. A great format for your first sentence on your portfolio site is to introduce yourself and what you do.
You need to do a bit more than explain what you do and why visitors should be rushing to hire you. Make sure to show off examples of your past work and testimonials wherever possible. Include designs you’ve worked on, code you’ve written and links to live projects whenever possible.
Folks looking to hire you may not be technical enough to want to view your code on GitHub, so be sure that there are also visual examples and links to love projects wherever possible.
Your site doesn’t need to be perfect, just presentable. It needs to show off the skills you’re marketing. If you’re a junior designer or front end developer, investing some extra time in making sure your portfolio site demonstrates the standard of your work is worthwhile.
If you have a great idea, ignore all the other advice in this article. Let your vision guide you. This example from Vadia breaks all the rules set out in this article. But this site is great. If you’ve got genius and vision, don’t worry about someone else’s guidelines, just put yourself out there.