5 good reasons to keep your online portfolio fresh
Ah, procrastination. That old friend who isn’t really a friend, just an unsavoury acquaintance that pops up every time you need to make an appointment or get an oil change or replace that dang porch light that’s been out since Christmas.
And while putting off household chores may be fairly innocuous (what bad could come from leaving a dish in the sink for later?), when it comes to your professional life, procrastination can have real consequences.
Take your portfolio. Whether you’re a writer, designer, freelancer, or you work for an agency, your portfolio is your introduction to the people who want to work with you. It’s the first impression you give, and it can play a major role in clients’ decisions to hire you. Put simply, it’s important!
And yet, preparing and maintaining a professional portfolio is a task a lot of us let slide. You’re an artist, after all. Why spend your day painstakingly updating your portfolio when you could be creating?
If you’re stumped for an answer, you’re in luck, because we’ve got five of ‘em. Here are five good reasons why you should update your portfolio—today.
1. It shows prospective clients you’re active
Competition in the creative community is fierce. Ain’t nobody got time for a designer or photographer who by all appearances hasn’t done anything in the past three years. By weeding out old, obsolete projects and replacing them with shiny new ones, you’ll show prospective clients you’re active and engaged in your field.
2. It establishes trust with clients
Clients want to hire people who are well-respected and well-liked. By sharing examples of previous work and highlighting just how satisfied your clients were, you’ll be able to paint a picture of yourself as a trustworthy professional and an authority in your field.
3. It helps increase your visibility
Even if you’re not looking for work right now, the creative industry is all about getting your work out there. Networking aside (because eugh, networking), a current and dynamic portfolio is arguably the best way of making a name for yourself. Google loves fresh, original content, and you never know who might stumble upon your portfolio on a random Tuesday.
4. It will save you time
You don’t keep your tax forms and receipts in random drawers and closets all around your house, so why would you keep your professional documents scattered around your hard drive? Keeping everything in one spot saves time. The next time someone asks to see what awesome work you did on that high-profile project, you’ll have it at your fingertips. Plus, there’s something about being organized that just feels good.
5. It charts your professional development
You might not think of yourself as a sentimental or nostalgic person, but it’s important to steal some time away from your busy schedule every now and then to reflect on your professional growth. Having a retrospective of past work and activities allows you to see what you’ve accomplished in the past few years, as well as identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps in your skill set. And since you should only be including your finest work in your portfolio, it can give you a real confidence boost when needed.
As with so many things in the digital age, just having a portfolio isn’t enough. You need to tend to it and tweak it as time goes on. If your most recent portfolio entry is more than a year old, it’s time to clear the cobwebs and inject some life into it. There’s no time like the present.