Portfolio websites! How else will you display the fruits of your long hours of school work, studying and education?
You might be thinking, why would I create a portfolio website when I’ve got a LinkedIn?
Well, it’s certainly true that one of LinkedIn’s nifty features is the ability to add media. But on a portfolio website you can dedicate a page to your projects, format how they’re displayed and include a more detailed resumé.
This student guide to creating a portfolio website will inform you about each step!
First, pick a platform where you will build your website. Some popular choices include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy and more. Many platforms have an option to build a free website as well as offer tutorials, templates and ways to customize your site.
A portfolio website doesn’t have to cost money, often platforms allow you to build a free site—but they include their own name at the end of your URL. Not a bad trade off.
However, if you’d like a custom domain name (the URL of your site), you can buy a domain with a professional name.
Here’s a tip for selecting a domain. Pick something that’s easy to remember and type. When searching for a domain, try saying the URL out loud and consider how the URL will look when there’s no spaces between the words.
You can also consider making it similar to your custom LinkedIn URL, so they’ll match.
Think about how fast you’ve skipped sections of a YouTube video or moved onto the next post on Instagram.
Website visitors want to find what they’re looking for quickly.
Create a site plan that maps out all the pages you want. Use your site map to help guide you in selecting a template. Pages you might want to include are an about me, resumé, projects and contact information.
Make sure users can find these pages easily within one click.
The landing page is the website’s home page, so it’s important to make a good first impression!
Design your landing page with a call to action in mind, since it’ll be the first thing they see. Your call to action is what you want visitors to do on your site.
Some examples are:
“Connect with me on LinkedIn.”
“Download my resumé.”
Incorporate these by having the call to action text stand out, have your LinkedIn connected to your social icons or utilize a site button that users can click to view your resumé.
Usually we have to cut down and tailor our resumé content for applications, but on your portfolio site you can include a more detailed resumé.
Major courses you took in post-secondary? Check.
Every club you’ve ever been in? Check.
You’ll find some stylish resumé templates on Canva that are easy to edit and customize. There’s a variety of professional, infographic and creative templates for whatever your personal brand is.
Provide visitors and recruiters with evidence of your most relevant work, projects and assignments.
Have your work tell a story, add a description of the assignment’s objective, slides from the powerpoint presentation and paragraph about the final results or what the project achieved.
It’s time to put your course work to use!
Get the word out
Promote your online portfolio on the appropriate social media site like your LinkedIn profile or Facebook and Instagram business accounts. You never know who might take an interest!
Need a way to stay involved in your industry and promote your portfolio? Add a blog to your portfolio where you can share your thoughts, achievements and professional news.
And inform your network about your portfolio page!
Accessibility is a big factor in making websites easier to navigate. To increase accessibility, implement alt-text for photos on your site and make sure your font and font size are readable. Additionally, use contrasting colours to easily distinguish the font from the background.
For any text on your site, make sure it can be highlighted so it can be read by a screen reader. Utilize headings and subheadings for easy navigation and give your URLs and links descriptive and useful names. There are many ways to increase website accessibility.
There are lots of great examples for inspiration!
Now go out there and make some awesome portfolio websites to help land your dream job!
Looking to learn new skills? Here’s some basic design skills students in any program should know.