Artists and designers use portfolios to show examples of their work to potential clients and employers. Portfolios are not only for artists, however. No matter what your business, a portfolio can show off your skills and accomplishments and help you to gain customers.
Artist portfolios are typically displayed in oversized cases or binders. You may use a traditional artist’s portfolio, a three-ring binder, a scrapbook, or any method that shows off your portfolio contents. Craft stores carry a full line of special papers and other materials to dress up your portfolio.
You can put your portfolio online at your Web site. Your online portfolio should not just be a copy of the hardcopy version. Use the capabilities of the Web to include audio, video and interactivity.
What should you put in a portfolio? That depends on the nature of your business, but it might include
Examples of successful projects, such as photos, drawings, documents, product samples and other documentation.
Photos of you in action—doing your job, making a speech, and working with your staff. Or photos of your office, your facility, your equipment and your products.
Letters of commendation or client testimonials. Include audio or video testimonials in your online portfolio.
Press clippingsarticles you’ve written, articles about you, reviews, quotes from you in the press, etc. Or publicity that your clients got because of you or your work. For your Web site, include PDFs of the stories, or link to the online versions.
Don’t forget broadcast media appearances. Include a list of television and radio shows on which you have been a guest, perhaps with a photo of you from a television appearance. Include audio and video clips from some of the shows on your Web site.
Professional certificationsdiplomas, licenses, certificates, and other credentials. These all help to establish your credibility.
Awards you have won. Include a list of awards, certificates received, photos of trophies or you accepting an award, etc.
Color print outs of one or more pages from your Web site.
Covers of the books, booklets and audio programs you have published.
Photos of you with famous clients or associates, especially if the person is a leader in your field.
Examples of your involvement in the community. Photos of your participation in a charity event, thank you letters and certificates from organizations, and photos of the local sporting teams you sponsor demonstrate your commitment to the community.
Now, how do you use your portfolio? Leave it out on a table in your office (open, of course!) for visitors to view. Show it to potential clients. Frame duplicates of some items to hang on your office walls. Include portions of the portfolio in proposals.