When was the last time you updated your online portfolio? Maybe it’s been more than a few months, or even a year or two – or maybe you don’t even have an updated portfolio at your fingertips! If that’s the case, then here are a few reasons why freelancers should make giving the professional portfolio a makeover this weekend.
It’s a pain in the neck to do it at the last minute: You’ve spotted a freelancing gig that is the perfect marriage of your skills and interests. The only catch is that you need to share examples of your best work, and you need to do it ASAP. If you already have links to your “greatest hits” put together in a handy webpage (like I did here), then you just need to pick links to one or two pertinent articles or blog posts you’ve written. But if you don’t have access to any of your articles or will need to do some Googling to get those links, then you’re just made the application process a bit harder. This isn’t an insurmountable task, but it is time-consuming.
An updated portfolio shows that you’re still working: I’ve stumbled across many websites and social media pages for organizations that haven’t been updated in years. When I find an outdated website, I always wonder if the place of business is even in business any more. Don’t let that happen with your portfolio. If the most recent article posted on your portfolio was published when “What Does The Fox Say?” was relevant, then you need to show potential clients that yes, you are still writing/programming/designing/underwater basket-weaving. So take a few minutes and post links to your newer stuff.
It will take a while to put your portfolio together: You’re energized and ready to refresh your portfolio. However, there’s just one word of caution: It might take longer than you think to put it all together. If you’ve been freelancing for a while, then there’s a good chance you have quite a bit of work to your name. While you don’t need to include links to everything you’ve ever written, it will likely take more than a few hours for you to remember (and then find) links to your previous projects.
Make a standing appointment: You don’t need to update your online portfolio every time your article or blog post is published. However, you don’t want to slide back into the routine of not updating it, either. Depending on the volume of work you do, you can make a standing appointment to update everything every three months or so. For me, that’s the perfect length of time, as I won’t forget the projects I’ve completed in the interim.
Don’t forget the paper version: Your website is looking good and has links to your projects. What about the paper version that you use to wow potential clients? Plan to print at least one or two new works every quarter, then place in your portfolio. (I’m partial to grouping my article examples by category, but some freelancers place their work in chronological order.)