There’s nothing worse than deciding to begin a job hunt and realizing… your online portfolio is wildly out of date. What the heck did you work on for the past few years? Every concrete memory vanishes from your head.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your portfolio was always updated, even if you’re not actively job hunting? Fortunately, it’s totally possible!
Start with an Updated Portfolio
First, you want to go through and make sure your portfolio is updated. Make sure your experience is up-to-date, your pieces are all there, and everything looks solid and professional.
This is probably going to take quite a bit of time up front. I know because I recently did it! But once you’ve got everything updated, it will be much easier to add new examples as you go. Big leap now so you can take small steps later!
If you don’t have an online portfolio to begin with, I recommend hopping over to this post where I lay out all of the instructions on how to create an online portfolio from scratch.
Organize Your Portfolio Files on Your Computer, Too
As you’re building your website, make sure your computer files are organized, too! I have a specific folder on my computer just for my pieces, with a subfolder for each individual project. I’ve labeled them the exact same way they’re labeled on the live site, so I always know where to find them.
You’ll want to keep original files as well as any files you’re uploading to your site. That way, if you need the vector file of a project, you’re not hunting through your documents. It’s not helpful if you only have one or two very specific JPEGs saved in the project’s subfolder!
It’s also helpful if the theme you’re using for your online portfolio requires a certain file type. Mine, for example, needs a featured image with very specific dimensions. Since I have my original files for those header images sorted on my computer, I know exactly where to go when I need to create a new one!
Always Have a Job Hunting Mindset
As you’re going through your day-to-day job, always have a job hunting mindset. Will future employers be interested in hearing more about this? What are you working on that you’re really proud of? What should you brag about in future job applications and interviews?
While it may take a bit to adapt to this mindset (after all, job hunting is daunting and it’s really nice to take a mental break from it), it’s going to be really helpful as you’re identifying pieces to include in your portfolio. After all, how many times do you create an awesome project and then forget about it by the time you’re supposed to update your portfolio? Probably a lot.
Add Pieces One at a Time Once the Project is Over
Once you’ve started identifying new pieces to add to your portfolio, start adding necessary files to a subfolder in your Portfolio folder on your computer. That way you’re not scrambling for files later. Needing to gather files is one of the biggest excuses I used to delay my portfolio site update!
Once the project is done, add it to your website. But try not to add it until the project is actually over! This will enable you to upload all of the pieces at once, and you’ll be able to include achievements and statistics in any write-ups you include in the description.
Having an online portfolio is really important for a lot of creative professionals, but keeping it updated can be overwhelming. Luckily, with a slight mindset shift, it’s not too difficult!
What are you waiting for? Get that portfolio updated!