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Ask a robot: How do I make my online portfolio stand out?

In case you missed it, we’ve enlisted the help of an AI robot to scour the internet for the most common career- (or for good reason, anti-career) related questions and advice.

For this article, we wanted to focus on our many side hustlers in the Polywork community who’ve been asking: How do I make my online portfolio stand out? Hats off to the robot (assuming they would understand this phrase as a compliment), who’s provided us with six helpful tips to get us started.

Editor’s note: Don’t fret, we’ll also give our take and liberally remove any answers we find to be unhelpful, unclear, or insufficient.

6 tips to make your online portfolio stand out

1. Focus on your niche

What the robot says: Identify your area of expertise and create a portfolio that showcases your best work in that area. This will help you stand out as a specialist in your field.

Our take: Whether you’re doing full-time gigs, freelance, or thinking about a side project, finding your unique angle on what you do best is critical. People, whether its employers or your audience, respond to your brand arguably as much as the value your outputs.

For instance, you’ve likely heard of Banksy, but what about (the non-deer) Bambi? There’s a solid argument that the London-based artists’s works are quite similar to Banksy’s. However, Banksy’s penchant for outsized attention (like this one below) through every piece, message, or antic is covered globally. Theater or not, in this case (and so many others), standing out in a crowded field matters.

2. Use high-quality visuals across your portfolio

What the robot says: Use high-quality images, videos, and graphics to showcase your work. Make sure that the visuals are easy to view and navigate.

Our take: According to a 2004 study, 65% of people identify as visual learners. There’s something to be said for a picture being worth a thousand words, and design is one significant way to gain the attention of your audience across several mediums, whether it be your online portfolio or social media.

3. Keep your website simple

What the robot says: A simple, clean design can help your work stand out. Avoid cluttering your portfolio with too much information or design elements that detract from your work.

Our take: When you remove the rudeness of K.I.S.S, the mnemonic device for “keep it simple, stupid”, what you get is a straightforward message – we all have a tendency to overthink things, with our online portfolio being no exception.

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful,” renowned Designer John Maeda once said, and we wholeheartedly agree, especially when it comes to your digital portfolio.

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4. Include testimonials

What the robot says: Positive feedback from previous clients or employers can help build trust and credibility in your work.

Our take: If your online portfolio is for your growing business or side hustle, then testimonials can be a game-changing way to give yourself an edge over others in your field of interest.

As we mentioned in our previous article on how to ask for a testimonial, as you set up your online presence, whether it’s on your own personal site, a portfolio page, or on social media, having reviews for yourself can be an extra vote of confidence to others who want to work with you or even just know more about your experience.

How to ask for a testimonial | Polywork Blog
A testimonial is a review about you to supplement your online resume. Here are 4 helpful tips as you start to gather these reviews about yourself.

5. Update your web portfolio regularly

What the robot says: Keep your portfolio up-to-date with your latest work and accomplishments. This shows that you are active in your field and committed to your work.

Our take: We’re a bit biased, considering how important we think it is to highlight your accomplishments. That said, the robot may be on to something. Our online identities have become more important than ever. In absence of in-person networking or other places where you can share all the things you do, having places where you can comfortably keep everyone informed on both your work and passions is critical to standing out.

6. Make it easy to contact you

What the robot says: Include clear contact information on your portfolio, so potential clients or employers can easily get in touch with you.

Our take: In the truest sense of the portfolio to job route, yes this is absolutely imperative to finding opportunities to grow your portfolio beyond what you’re showing off online. If you’d like to keep your online life separate from your personal life, setting up a portfolio-specific email might be the best path to keeping things organized and, in the case of opportunities, responsive.

Want to start crafting an online portfolio that stands out? Give Polywork a try.