It goes without saying, that your portfolio should showcase the best of what you can do. After all, you want to impress potential employers and clients.
That’s fine! – But don’t let the content of your portfolio do all the talking, let the portfolio itself also be a testament to what you are capable of doing.
But be careful, don’t fall into that trap of over thinking it. Forever, poking holes at your own work, thinking “Yeah, I can improve that” or “Yeah I can add that”. If you do, you will find it more draining and de-moralising than actually doing it. Just get something out there, then you can begin to improve or refine what you have.
I have fallen in to this trap, and it’s not nice. My portfolio took me 8 months to complete. Yeah 8 months, you’re probably looking at it thinking “Well why?, it’s nothing special” and you’re probably right (no…. your not, this site is boss) but that’s because I kept adding stuff, that I would eventually think “well, is that really going to benefit my portfolio”.
I spent a few days working on the below book/magazine style page flip animation. I even made it responsive, and integrated it within my WordPress theme, but then I thought – “What value does this add?, will users even notice it?, and won’t it just repeat the content I have on the about page?”
It was then I decided it had to go, and I became annoyed with myself. It felt like I was wasting my own time, working on something that I eventually scrapped. It was at this point something dawned on me.
With your portfolio, you are, your own client. Which depending on how you look at it, can be really bad, or really good. You have the freedom to do what you want with it, there isn’t a brief for this one and there isn’t (usual) a deadline either. This can be difficult at first, because with a client, you’re working towards their ideas and vision, and working to their deadlines.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ask yourself the same questions, you would normal ask a client “what websites do i like?”, “what style of site do I want? – Quirky, professional?”. You can also choose to work to a deadline, and that’s the beauty…it’s your choice. Everything is your choice as far as your portfolio is concerned.
I decided not to work to a deadline in the end. I felt this is a rare opportunity I had, where I can work on a project, without any deadlines or pressure. I enjoyed working on my portfolio, so why should I cap that?, or try and limit it. I felt myself wanting to work on it more, not because I had too, but because I wanted too.
Enjoy working on your portfolio, after all its about you, and your abilities. Don’t let it become this daunting lingering project, that you never get around to finishing, or starting. Take your time, and just built upon it step by step. I’m still not 100% happy with my portfolio, but its out there now, and I can keep working on it, and enjoying it.