The Do’s and Don’ts of Online Portfolios

By taking the time to visit other portfolio websites I was able to compile a list of do’s and don’ts for my own site.  Below are list of the portfolios I visited and the lessons learned from each!

Staci Baird
A media consultant and journalism intructor at San Francisco State Univsersity, Baird has a wide breadth of experience.  However, of the three portfolio sites, I liked hers the least.   Her site gave me more don’ts than do’s.  For example:

  • There’s no need for a full disclosure on a homepage.  I want to pique the interest of the reader, not give them my entire life story!
  • Cover the most recent and/or relevant experience first, just in case people stop reading.
  • The portfolio page must include samples of my work.  Hers was mostly a series of links to companies she’s worked for or seminars she’s participated in.
  • Important information should be displayed prominently or given it’s own page.  I almost overlooked her list of Awards and Recognition.
  • Include dates of employment on the resume page, otherwise it may look like I’m trying to hide something.

Vinh Pham
Pham is a web developer and 2005 graduate of UC Davis.  He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he does manage to give good examples of the work he does on his portfolio page.  Some things I took away from looking at his portfolio site:

  • Your homepage is your chance to make a good first impression.  Unfortunately for Pham, his homepage could easily turn off potential employers the instant they arrive at his site.
  • Don’t be too casual.  He calls himself a F.O.B., spells “hello” as “hellooooo,” and tells us that he plays Omaha poker.  This shows a lack of professionalism.

What Pham does right:

  • The portfolio is well done.  His use use of bullet points improves readability, and the links to his work make it easy to navigate.
  • On his resume page, he includes a downloadable copy of his resume.
  • He only links to his LinkedIn site from his resume page.  Employers don’t necessarily need links to my Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.

Amanda Stevenson
The last portfolio site that I visited belonged to Amanda Stevenson, a communications and marketing specialist from South Carolina.  This portfolio/resume site was my favorite.  Here’s some reasons why:

  • Her homepage is professional, free of grammatical errors, and contains only the most pertinent information.
  • Her resume is clean and easy to read, but is still visually appealing because of font choices and the use of logos. 
  • She includes only those links that are really important, including samples of her work.
  • Her portfolio page, titled Project Management, includes slideshows of work she’s done and examples of materials she’s designed.

Overall, this was a very valuable exercise.  I’m already thinking about how I can make my site better than all three of these!


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