How to Create Your Online Portfolio in 5 Easy Steps

Building a great online portfolio is the first step to your next big career move. We'll show you how! With a few tweaks here and there, you can really wow recruiters and make a solid first impression.

Gabriela Ross

Online is where the world is going, and having a compelling portfolio has become a requirement for your career if you want to survive in the digital world. However, deciding on what type of portfolio to create and setting it up can be daunting, but not today!

You don't have to feel overwhelmed by the decisions sitting in front of you. Just set a clear and simple plan for getting your ideas in order. That way, you can get started faster and confidently while creating an effective portfolio. It should highlight your skills and achievements, and It'll help you tell a story.

Let's discover how you can start promoting your career ASAP. It's your time to shine!

homepage image of the Portfolio by Vijay Verma.
Portfolio by Vijay Verma.

Take your skills to another level

Learning never stops, does it? You can always push yourself to become even better than you are now.

Having a solid portfolio is the key to landing a new position or promotion. It's no secret that recruiters and hiring managers search for possible candidates based on skills demonstrated by their portfolios. Check out these tips we wrapped up to help you stand out from the crowd!

1. Create your personal brand

To create a personal brand means building an identity or image around yourself. The truth is, this isn't hard; it just takes a little commitment and the right mindset for it to work! Your portfolio doesn't have to be flashy; it is an opportunity for business development, so keep it professional and neat. It should really communicate who YOU are and what you do, so make sure these fit together.

When you create your personal brand, think of your interests, skills, what you're passionate about, your experience, and what you can bring to a new team or industry. Think of the path you want to set for yourself and build your personal brand around it.

2. Share your work

What do you want others to see? That's the first question to answer when you're about to add your previous projects to your portfolio. Remember to leave a section apart to showcase your work. People can check that directly to get a glance at your background. And as we like to say, keep it simple! Some of us love to share the process from start to finish, but sometimes it's better to share the outcome and briefly include other details such as challenges, learnings, etc.

It's always better to include examples and proof of your work. But for those cases where you cannot share precisely the content, for example, if you had a non-disclosure agreement. You can still describe what the project was about. For example: "worked on the marketing strategy for a major B2C app with a 60% higher engagement [...]."

Get creative! There are many ways to showcase your work to be more appealing. Remember to prioritize, choose quality over quantity, and present your best and most recent projects.

Before we jump to the next step, don't forget to define your career direction. For example, if you're trying to land more UX opportunities, don't include projects that might seem unrelated.

3. Choose the right platform

*Drums intro* Choose the right platform! It is very, very, very important. By this point, you know you need to have a plan that will move you along. Be sure of why you want to have a portfolio and then show it in the best possible way. So, depending on the industry you're in, the platform will serve as a booster.

If you're into copywriting, you will want to include samples of your written work. And if you're into design, you'll need a platform that allows you to showcase more images, an interactive mockup, or even tag the people who worked with you on that project.

Here are three examples of online platforms that are often used for portfolios.

  • Behance: It's one of the most popular websites for design portfolios. It's also like social media for design inspiration and to see other creative projects. Check out this example of Deivid Saenz, an artist from Spain that collaborates with Blush. You can see that on his profile, he also linked his professional website.
Homepage image of the Behance profile from Deivid Saenz
Illustrations by Deivid Saenz on Behance.
  • Dribbble: Some people call Dribble the "show and tell" for designers and creatives. Dribbble is a platform that allows you to tell your story online and connect with recruiters, job opportunities, and more. It's a great place to look for inspiration as well.
  • Webflow: This is a no-code tool to build your website. Just like WordPress or WIX, Webflow has templates you can choose to get started faster, or you can create your online portfolio from scratch. You can add different sections, such as one about yourself, the other about your work, a contact section, and maybe a gallery to include images or videos.

4. Focus on your clients

Are you talking to recruiters or clients? Define your target audience for your online portfolio so you can give them a reason to see your work and reach out.

Get feedback from the right people so you can include those recommendations and some varied testimonials in your portfolio. It'll be easier for viewers to get a better picture of you and your skills.

Kind reminder: Have a clear objective before you start working on your design.

5. Make sure people can find you!

Have you tried to contact somebody, and their social accounts or email are not active anymore? Not cool, huh?

Keeping your portfolio updated is critical! It's better to leave more than one medium for people to contact you. You can add your Instagram, Twitter, website, email, Behance, Dribble, Patreon, etc. Whatever you choose—make sure it's still active.

If you want to unify your portfolio with your whole online presence, we listed some more tips for designing dope social media content.

Image with social media posts to share your portfolio and work
Image featuring Blush illustrations.

Leave an impression with illustrations

A portfolio is not exclusively about your work. As we've mentioned before, it's about showing your personality too. You can always add some illustrations to complement the information. Illustrations add a personal touch, provide a sense of interactivity and humor, and help draw attention to specific pieces of content.

You can choose different styles and purposes for using illustrations. For example, you can exemplify objects, processes, timelines, or characters representing a team or even yourself with an avatar!

Find high-resolution doodles for your portfolio in Blush. Artists from around the world collaborate with us to create incredible packs.

Bonus: Take a look at our Artists section and check out some of their portfolios and styles.

Porftolio homepage by Ivan Mesaros
Portfolio by Ivan Mesaros.

Extra tips from a visual designer

Elina Cecilia Giglio is a UX, UI Designer originally from Mendoza, Argentina, now living in inspiring Barcelona. Elina created "Big Shoes" for Blush, a super pack of friendly characters. She has worked at some of the most recognizable brands like Mercado Libre, Eventbrite, and Typeform.

Here's her advice for creating an authentic portfolio.

1. What's a platform you recommend, Elina?

I prefer Squarespace for the platform because it is intuitive and pretty straightforward. There are options, but not many, but it's very easy to create a portfolio. If you have more time and knowledge, for sure try Webflow, where you have more freedom to develop, and it can be completely custom. And as 3rd option, if you are on a budget, WordPress!

2. What do you think is a nice-to-have that can boost your portfolio?

Everything is in the process. It is nice to see why you make the decisions. Also, making it clean and easy to navigate is essential.

3. What social accounts do you use to share some of your work?

I use Instagram, and I'm trying to dedicate more time to Twitter.

Take a look at Elina's portfolio to see how she nailed a neat and minimalist style.

Portfolio by Elina C. Giglio. homepage image
Portfolio by Elina C. Giglio.

What to avoid including in your portfolio

We all want our portfolios to be successful, but we need to know what not to include in them. These are simple mistakes we all make sometimes, and how to fix them.

1. Share your whole biography

Alright, we said you needed to show some personality and describe yourself slightly. But people don't need to know about that year when you were the boy/girl scouts team leader. Talk about yourself, but be brief and make it appealing. It's good to add an anecdote, of course, but be clear about why it is related to your current position or professional interests.

2. Present low-quality content

At the beginning of this article, we said this on point number two, and we'll repeat it because it is that important! Low-quality content is more damaging than you think. When seeing this type of content, especially when everything is online, people tend to pass it over or ignore it, whether an image, video, animation, etc. Remember: When you're creating your portfolio, you're presenting your best work.

image featuring two illustrations to compare blurry images vs high quality images
Image featuring Open Doodles by Pablo Stanley.

3. Ignore the typoz:

Yeap, you got it; we mean typos! Your writing is critical; even if that's not your job, you must have it all covered in your online portfolio. It's normal to have some typos around or write a wordy phrase. We all make that type of mistake sometimes. A helpful thing to do is to use a grammar/spelling checker or share your portfolio with someone else to get a second pair of eyes before sending it to clients or recruiters.

4. Use confusing layouts:

The ugly truth is that not everyone has much time to see all the work you put up with your portfolio. Some people will be less than willing to admire your design or coding skills. Most of the time, too many animations, unclear navigation, or a complex layout can be misleading. It's better to keep it clear and straightforward. Don't overdo it.

You may find that the most valuable thing you can do is put your best work out into the world and then learn from the response.

Share your wisdom with the world!

Ready to create your new portfolio? Or if you already have one, you can constantly improve it! Help others find you and your skills! Creating the perfect portfolio is impossible, and it's a matter of preferences, styles, and the work itself. You can always make modifications after your first attempt. The important thing is to create something you feel proud of and confident enough to share and promote.

We know you can do it just right! Drop us a line at @blushdesignapp and tell us if any of these tips helped create or improve your online portfolio.

image of call to action with space illustrations to try blush for free