Portfolio Tips

Here are some tips and links to help you build a simple, non-creative, portfolio web site.


The first step to building a good portfolio site is having something to show on that site. So, save your homework assignments!

In the past, I always recommended saving your assignments (mostly written assignments) to Scribd.com. But, Scribd has changed dramatically, and it doesn't work like it used to. So, I recommend these Scribd substitutes:

Another option is to be very organized with your homework -- save everything in several locations. Include Dropbox.com as one of your locations. Then, when you're ready to build your site, you can import each homework item in an appropriate format. You have to look through many portfolio samples (like the ones listed here) to understand the variety of ways to show different types of files.

Use YouTube or Vimeo to host your video projects, which can easily be embedded into most of the template sites. Use SoundCloud for audio projects. 


You need a web site! Don't even question this, you need it.  Here are some options for you. [Note: if you want to build web sites for a living, do not use any of these suggestions -- build your web site "from scratch."]

This is your best bet, but be prepared for a learning curve. The benefits start with a simple integration of a branded URL for only $17 per year (sign up for this from the beginning, as you are starting your "blog" -- it's more difficult to add this after your site is already built.)  Wordpress also automatically creates a mobile version of your site, and even an iPad version, if you'd like. You'll have dozens of templates to choose from, and options to add a custom header, if you'd like. Be advised: If you are looking for a design job, do not choose a template that already is heavily designed -- choose a plain template (like 2010) and add your own custom header that showcases your design. If you spend several hours playing around in Wordpress, you'll get the gist of things -- it's well worth your time! (Hint: you probably want to start out with a playground site and experiment with "pages" and "posts" until you understand the difference!)

WordPress Examples:
  • BenNuelle.com -- A good example for broadcast students.
  • KelseySchriver.com -- Here's a responsive example.
  • AdInk.org -- This site uses a heavily designed template, which is OK since AdInk isn't looking for a design job! AdInk redirects it's purchased URL to the Wordpress site, so as you go through the site, you'll see Wordpress-hosted pages, the domain name changes. This is a clumsy way to do this -- I don't recommend a redirect like this. It's much better to just purchase a branded domain!
  • ErinFunk.com -- Erin has continued to build out her site after graduation.
  • TimGillissen.com -- Another branded URL; this site has a nice large photo, so if you're a photographer, you can check out Tim's approach to showcasing photos. Note: Tim uses the advanced version of WordPress, WordPress.org, so you may see features here that aren't available on the free version.
  • JacquieLamer.com -- And then there's my WordPress site.
  • Adding audio to Wordpress: See this Soundcheck theme and this Wordpress help page.

Weebly has been consistently offering good web-building tools, and continues to make improvements to its offerings. This is a reasonable source for your portfolio site. Check out some examples and see what you like. Weebly does have a mobile format available, a must!

Weebly Examples:

• Wix.com
Wix has some similar tools as Weebly and WordPress.

Wix Examples:

Not as powerful as Wordpress, but using some of their new templates, you'll have a nice framework for your portfolio site. And, it can be "automatically" formatted for mobile devices. The site you're on now is made using this tool. As you can see, you can add navigation items and a custom header. You can embed documents (see the "Internships" page) and videos (see QR video below). Like Wordpress, you'll have to experiment with "pages" and "posts" -- they are two different methods of posting content, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The site you're on now uses primarily "pages" -- each navigation tab above is created using a "page."

Blogger Examples:

  • Shane Warren's site with radio/audio plug-in.
  • SmittenBlogDesigns.com -- I don't have a lot of Blogger portfolio sites to link to, but this one is neat, because it's not only been custom designed, it is a site about Blogger design options, so you might get some ideas here! This site is made primarily with "posts," but there are some "pages" that are evident in the navigation tabs.
  • NWjobs.blogspot.com -- This site! This site is made primarily using "pages" not "posts."
  • Video 3xamples: Wendy Whelan and Megan Davis

Flavors.me is a very simple template that might work for you for a quick and easy format -- great for social media plug-ins, and great for a video showcase using a YouTube tool. It's really not intended to be a portfolio site, per se -- it will be difficult for you to show your non-video-based work, unless it's hosted with a site like Flickr or Picasa. Mobile option here is "premium" so you have to pay for it.

Flavors.me Examples: 

See About.me, it's just like Flavors.me, but a little better -- more options, and more for free. Just like Flavors.me, it's a personal site more than a portfolio site, but you can still force a porfolio into this format.

About.me Examples

• SquareSpace.com
I don't know anything about this, except that Kari Kolts is using it for her portfolio site and Joe Cox uses it for his site, JoeCox.me.

• Very easy ways to have an online "portfolio"
For simply the easiest approach to having an online "presence," try these:

  • Scribd.com: With a good account name, you can host all of your document samples, including resume, at a neat/clean web address, such as: Scribd.com/jplamer.  (You need to use a site like this, anyway, to host your documents, so you can just have this be your first/starter portfolio site!)
  • SoundCloud.com: If you're a broadcast major, particularly audio emphasis, you're already familiar with SoundCloud. But have you thought about just using this as your "portfolio" site to showcase your audio work? Here's a good example: SoundCloud.com/BenNuelle
  • YouTube.com: Of course, if you're a broadcast major, you've got a YouTube account with all your work. You can just use your YouTube account as your "portfolio" site, like this.

• Some portfolio sites
CargoCollective and BehanceNetwork are places where designers can showcase their work. They aren't really portfolio-building software-based sites like the ones above, they are more like designer communities. But, they're worth mentioning here because you may find these useful if you are a designer. Some of these services also are plug-in options at Flavors.me and About.me. For broadcast majors, post your credentials at StaffMeUp.com.

Upload a nice photo, create a compelling bio and use one of the templates in No. 1 to host everything you want potential employers to know about you.  Did you know:  AdInk offers a portfolio service as part of Career Services Mock Interview Day!

Add at least one social media link to your portfolio site -- at minimum, this should be LinkedIn. If you don't have a LinkedIn account, get one. If you use Twitter for professional posts, then add a Twitter link to  your site. (If you only use Twitter for personal posts, don't link to Twitter!) Ditto for Pintrest. Don't link to your Facebook account -- but expect the HR manager to find you on Facebook!
Egon Heidendal has a good example of this in his "Contact" area of his web-based porfolio, and you can add these tools easily in several of the template sites.

Check out this elevator pitch that the student hosted on her LinkedIn profile.

Buy "your name dot com" so that the address of your online portfolio is easily found. The simplest way to do this is through WordPress (see above). But, you also can buy relatively cheap domains at GoDaddy.com (secure your domain for at least two years -- five is better!). Once you own the domain, simply forward it to your Blogger, Wix, Google Sites, or other template-built page. For some tips on branding  yourself across your site, your resume, and business cards, see what some AdInk'ers put together for a recent "Brand Yourself" information session: AdInk.org/BrandYourself.

Consider establishing a Google Voice number that will only be used for your job search. It's free, and messages can be transcribed and emailed to you or send via text. This means your personal phone number doesn't have to be published online, but you'll get messages pronto!

Do some research for more ideas on building simple, web-based portfolios. This eHow page is just one example that will help you come up with ideas for building a simple site! See this site for a list of blog-portfolio examples. Here's a slideshow on the same topic.

Here are some examples of good "About Me" pages.

An elevator pitch is a short (60-second) summary of who you are and why you should be hired. Here's an example on YouTube. You can embed YouTube videos into your LinkedIn profile, like this.

And now for some web site inspiration...

Check out what these two students did to apply at Droga5.

Here's how to get attention when you really, really, really want the job! www.dearlisarudgers.com

Here's what your Bearcat competition is doing to apply:

And now for some QR inspiration...  (THIS is how to  use a QR code!)

QR CODE - Content-rich Resume from Victor petit on Vimeo.

Note this: Advertising professionals know how and when to use QR codes -- if you choose to incorporate a QR code onto your resume or business cards, they will scrutinize your decision. Be sure you know how and when to use these. For example, don't use a QR code unless your web site has a mobile version.

Don't use a QR code on a resume unless you're doing something clever with it, like the video above.  Why not? Well consider this: why would you want someone to see your work on a tiny screen when they're likely sitting at their desk when they see your resume? Wouldn't your work look better on a big monitor? So, just put your URL on your resume! Leave the QR code for situations when the person you want to visit your site might not be at a computer -- for example, on a business card.

Some from-scratch Bearcat portfolio sites

Here are some portfolio sites of NW graduates who have built their sites from scratch.
Fede Stura's site: MadocDesign.com
Egon Heidendal's site: egonweb.nl

Lindsay Edward's site: lindsayelizabeth.com
Alex Raymond's site: araymonddesign.com
Chris Riebschlarger's site: www.the816.com

Resume Help
To help you get started with your resume, try these sources:

First stop:
Monster.com's resume center with tips and advice. Use this link to get started on your resume. Check out sample resumes and read through some of the tips, then build your first-draft resume. For more resume examples, see the links below, or conduct a Google search for "resume samples."

Second stop:
Staff members are available to critique your resume and cover letterView PDF. Drop by Career Services in the Administration Building (Room 130) with your draft and make an appointment or visit our office during Walk in Hours on Wednesdays between 2 and 5 p.m.

Additional sources:
Sample resumes and cover letters at Monster.com.
Sample marketing resumes.
Sample before/after resumes by discipline.
Resume and cover letter samples at About.com.