Whether you want to work as an editor in house or provide freelance services, a portfolio is important in finding work. A portfolio is a collection of samples that demonstrate your work and skillset to potential employers. For example, you might have a portfolio of writing or editing samples. Even if you still have a few semesters left in college, setting up your portfolio now will save you time and energy later. You can simply update the content as you produce more work. Not to mention, the portfolio might come in handy as you apply for internships!
Portfolios come in many forms—physical papers, digital files, PDF, website, etc.—but we are going to focus on building a portfolio webpage. Webpages allow you organize digital files and images in a way that can easily be accessed by any interested employer. You can also include the website on your business card or other marketing materials you use.
Choose a Platform
There are lots of great websites out there for building a portfolio! I’ve included a list below. Each site has many great features that can be customized to fit your needs and desired look. You’ll need to spend time looking at each option and decide which you like best. Most of the sites listed below have a free option (with paid upgrades of course), some start with a fee. I’ve listed them accordingly by FREE (lots of great free options with choice to pay for upgrades) and FEE (they come with basic free options but are best used if you pay up front).
To find the best fit for you, you’ll want to shop around. Compare tools, prices, and usability reviews. Consider how long you plan to use this portfolio—is it just for college or will you expand it someday? Find portfolios by other people in your profession and look at what websites they used. Here are some examples of how a portfolio might look:
Once you set up a portfolio domain, you’ll want a page for your portfolio. You can upload images that link to samples, or simply create a list of samples. It’s also helpful to include an “About” page, and a “Contact” page. You might also have a résumé tab. Consider putting any content you have on a professional networking site, such as LinkedIn, on your portfolio.
Present Your Edits
Once you have a site set up, the trick is then to present your work digitally.
If your edits were handwritten:
Scan the edits using a scanner or an app. Scanners are available across campus, or apps like Adobe Scan allow you to make a quick scan of any document from home. You simply snap a photo and then the app will convert it into a PDF from your mobile device. From there you can move the file onto your computer and import into your portfolio.
If your edits were made via Word Track Changes:
Save the edits in a PDF file. If you convert a Word document directly into PDF, typically the comments and edits made in track changes will not convert over. Instead, open up the Print window, as if going to print your document. When the print window opens, find the option to save as a PDF. The location will differ between Mac and Windows devices (on a Mac I believe the option is Print to PDF). No matter your device, it should look something like this though:
From there you can save as any normal PDF and then upload to your website.
Style your Portfolio
No one wants a portfolio website to look shabby. Often a clean, white design will impress. One way that you can spice up your website is with pictures. Pictures create a theme and brand for your website. As long as the photos are obtained legally, it doesn’t matter how you get them—whether you design logos and images, take photos, buy photos, or use free Creative Commons Licensed (CCL) photos.
Here are some good websites for finding photos:
- Pexels (CCL)
- Unsplash (CCL)
- Smithsonian Open Access (CCL)
- Old Book Illustrations (CCL)
Honestly, this is where the fun begins! You have a site, you have PDF articles and editing samples, and you have beautiful images. Now you can go wild creating a beautiful portfolio that expresses YOU in the best way possible!
ACTION ITEM: Set up an online portfolio, or update your current one.
Written by Hannah Mortenson.