Get Discovered With a Knockout Portfolio | Sarah Rapp | Skillshare

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Get Discovered With a Knockout Portfolio

teacher avatar Sarah Rapp, Head of Community Management, Behance (Adobe)

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why Portfolios?


    • 3.

      Making Successful Portfolios


    • 4.

      Showing Your Work


    • 5.

      Showing Yourself


    • 6.

      Connecting with Creatives


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About This Class

Over the last couple of years, having an online portfolio has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for any creative professional — and Behance is leading the charge to make it possible. In this class, we’ll walk through their list of best practices on how to make a good portfolio great and how to get you and your work discovered in the creative communities you care about. You'll leave this short class with a list of tips on getting an online footprint that shows off who you are, tells the world what you can do, and gets you found.

Behance is a resource for artists to display their work and network for creative jobs.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Rapp

Head of Community Management, Behance (Adobe)


As Head of Community Management, Sarah Rapp's mission at Behance is to empower members to create their best work. She keeps her finger on the pulse of Behance's immense network of million of creatives that stretches around the world, and constantly experiments with new ways to engage with them. What traditional companies call Marketing, Communications, Social Media, Customer Service, and Evangelism all come together in Community Management at Behance.

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1. Introduction: I'm Sarah Rapp, and I'm the head of community management Behance. Behance is the world's largest platform to showcase undiscovered creative work. Millions of people use Behance to display their online portfolio, and as a head of community, it's my job to help them be successful in whatever field they're in. So, this ranges from photography, to graphic design, to UI UX. We've 38 greater fields on Behance. So, whatever your creative field is, there's a place for you. Over the years, we've honed in on what you can do to make sure your online portfolio gets notice, and then you get connected to the opportunities that will advance your career. In this class, we'll walk through how to make a good portfolio great, and how to get yourself and your work discovered in the creative communities that you belong to. Whether you're just starting out, or you're looking to revamp your existing portfolio, you should leave this class with an online footprint that shows off who you are, what you can do, and most importantly what gets you found. At Behance, we believe that the creative world should devote their energy to creating work, not maintaining or promoting it. We bake the sense that you can spend your time doing what you love to do. Your class project today will be to create your own online portfolio and share it, or share someone else's that you admire in the project gallery. By the end of this class, you should have the tools you need to create an online portfolio, whether it's on Behance or with any other platform, or website building service, that'll help kick start your career. 2. Why Portfolios?: Having an online portfolio has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have in the last couple of years. So as a creative professional, your online portfolio is your personal brand identity. So your website is a vehicle for people to find your work. In the past, creatives used to apply for jobs they were interested in with resumes or even sometimes with a print version of your portfolio. Today, the game is completely different. Creatives are getting discovered and approached with opportunities constantly. All from their online portfolios. Putting your work out there and demonstrating that type of work you'd like to be doing is the first step to getting more exposure, doing more and getting connected with the types of opportunities that you're aiming for. Your online portfolio gives a comprehensive view of what you are great at, your style, and your personality in a way that a paper copy never could. This is what will help you land your dream job. Different creative professionals might interpret their portfolios in different ways. But just having one is a really great idea for everyone, not just graphic designers. So let's take a look at some great, creative portfolios and all sorts of different fields. Photography, graphic design, web design, industrial design, illustration, costume and apparel design. On Behance, we have 38 different creative fields. So, any of these fields would be a great fit for a creative portfolio. 3. Making Successful Portfolios: Before getting started with your portfolio, it's important to think through what a successful portfolio should accomplish. So first off, it should give a sense of your skills. A potential employer should come away from your portfolio knowing what type of work you've done, and also what you're capable of doing. So, they should really be able to imagine where you'd fit in their creative team. Whether you're looking for a full-time job or freelance job. It should also give a sense of your personality and your working philosophy. Why would they want to work with you? What makes you different from others? Also, how do your skills experience or maybe your approach to your work make you unique and special to work with? This should all come across in your portfolio. Most importantly, it's a means for people to get in touch. Make sure it's easy to contact you and that you're inviting people to message you on your portfolio. So, here's an example of a really good contact page. You can see that it's inviting and it's super simple for anyone to get in touch. 4. Showing Your Work: Building a portfolio isn't as simple as firing up a webpage and dumping all the work you've ever done on the landing page. Here are some tips to keep your portfolio as professional and effective as possible. First, keep it simple. Your content should be the focal point. Don't let your design get too complicated so that it detracts from your work. We always say, "Create a visual environment to showcase your work." Simplicity in the interface and visual design will push your work to the surface where it should be. But for logistics, at the very minimum, you should have a gallery of work and a contact page. Then when you're thinking about customizing your site, which is the fun part, choose one font, choose a color for each link state, and then keep this consistent and simple across the site. So, to look at one example, this site has a lot of fantastic work on it, but it would be too busy if they had a really complicated design. Next up, curate. So, this is all about knowing how and what to edit. So, when thinking about what you want to display, you should look at all your work and carefully choose the right pieces. So, a great place to start is to only show the pieces that you're proudest of. So, people are really tempted to show all their work, but a good rule of thumb is to always showcase the type of work you want to be doing in the future. So, you'll want to choose at least five projects that demonstrate the breadth of your work. You should remember that it really is better to have a portfolio of a few great projects than dozens of just okay projects. Always think that the quality of your portfolio is only as good as the weakest project. Then, within the projects, use the right images. So, now that you know which projects you're going to be showcasing, let's get into the nitty-gritty of how to best display that work. So, within a project, you'll want to be presenting the story behind your finished work. So, you might want to start with the finished product, and then beyond that, showcase the process. So, in terms of order, you might want to present the finished piece first, and then follow that with detailed shots in how you got there. So, in this illustration example, we can see how they presented the finished product and a little context to get people intrigued and know what the project's about. Then they break down into the initial sketches and first illustrations to show how it all came together. So, in your project, up top, you might want to contextualize with a short paragraph, a title and a hint about what the project is about. How many pieces of content should you have in your project? We suggest having more than five and less than 20, although that can definitely vary, that's a good rule of thumb. So, you should also think about, how does your project fit within your portfolio as a whole? So, your project might have a cover image. If you're using a site that has cover images, like Behance does, you want to think carefully about that choice. So, it should give an idea of what the project is about, but it should also be unified visually and work well with your other project covers. So, when you're thinking about your title project covers and project text, you definitely can't go wrong with being straightforward and clear. So, you don't have to worry necessarily about being too clever or ornamental with your text. The title, the short paragraph and your first image, these three things together should be engaging enough to help people in and give a sense of what type of project you're displaying. Update regularly. The best portfolios are never static. This is a common thing that we see that people will create a portfolio and then leave it be for a while. But you should really think of your portfolio as a living, breathing document and make a conscious effort to update it several times a year. This is how your work will be discovered by keeping it fresh. So, think about, do the projects you have demonstrate the skills you'd want to be hired for? So, like we talked about with curation earlier, once you've chosen and put together your projects, take a step back and make sure, are the skills demonstrated here the ones I'd like to be hired for? Does this get across the impression I'm hoping to give to potential employers? You might want to get feedback from your friends and family. Have them visit your portfolio and maybe jot down what stands out about you or your work when they're viewing your portfolio to see if it achieved your goals with that. 5. Showing Yourself: Equally important to showing your work, is making sure that people who find your portfolio feel like they can get to know you personally, too. If your goal is to get hired, this is really important. People want to work with people that they like. So, here are some ways that you can help people get to know you through your online portfolio. It's really important to have an About page. So, your About page is not your resume necessarily. So, this should be used to tell your story, not just list your past jobs. On your About page, you should think about sharing a point of view. So, what's your creative focus or mission statement. When you think about a mission statement, have something memorable and impactful. So, here's an example of the way someone does this on their personal portfolio. Create an origin story. How did you end up being passionate about your craft? Maybe there's an anecdote, or a story from childhood, or your early career that got you excited about creating. The more specific and colorful you are, the better. You also want to be approachable, so render out your story with some personal trivia. This is the type of thing that will make you memorable and stand out from the crowd. Maybe you should mention your hobbies or something that interests you or you're obsessed about. Revealing some guilty pleasures will keep your bio approachable and relatable. Here's an example of some interesting facts and trivia that this site has right on the main landing page. You should also show your accomplishments. So, to supplement your About page, think about any distinctive elements that give you an edge. You should ground your experience in details like notable clients, press, or maybe some publications you've been in. This will add another interesting dimension on top of just the simple jobs I've had list. You should keep personalizing yourself and your work. Include your blog if you feel that it represents where you are at professionally. You can also think about including your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, but only do this if you think it adds to your professional picture. So, as always, be wary of the line between presenting your personality and oversharing. 6. Connecting with Creatives: Probably the most impactful thing that you can do to get discovered is to join a creative network like Behance. A creative network will help you be successful in any number of ways. First, you're automatically connected to a network of millions of creatives who are all there to showcase their work and get discovered also. So, it's a no-brainer that you should also be in this repository. It also acts as a hub for your online presence. So, on a network like Behance your website automatically won't exist in isolation. Being in isolation is the worst thing to do, because no one will discover your work on their own. Your portfolio on a platform like Behance will act as a hub, making it really easy to keep up-to-date. It automatically connects with your personal website and your social profiles. The viral effect. As you get more involved in the community by doing things like following others, getting followers, appreciating work you like, you'll build up a following of people who will be notified every time you create a new project or update an existing one. This does wonders for your discoverability. Every time you publish new work, you'll get a surge of activity on your work, and it will hopefully take on a viral effect. Get discovered and hired. So, most importantly, millions of creative teams and recruiters are using platforms like Behance as their number one place to find and hire talent. With sophisticated discovery tools and filtering, things like location, fields, keyword, tools, you'll pop up in tons of searches that recruiters are performing every day. Here are some tips on how to be successful on a platform like Behance. Take advantage of the key features that are there to help increase your discoverability, and get matched with great opportunities. So, we'll go through a few basics on the low hanging fruit, and then a few extra tips that we've noticed some of our most successful users doing. First, complete your profile and upload a curated set of your projects. So, on your profile even simple things like your location actually are really important. So, this can make all the difference since recruiters get really granular when searching. So, make sure you fill out your entire profile, because every little feature is there for a reason. So, for projects, if you're starting from scratch, we recommend uploading at least three off the bat and then building from there over time. Also make sure that your work has all the right metadata to get it discovered and shared. So, on Behance, for data we prompt you to fill out information like a project description, tags, tools that you're used to create it. Each one of these will define what searches your work shows up in, so the more specific and descriptive you are, the more often your work will get discovered. Also, don't forget to connect. So, follow others to get followed and build your network. The biggest way to guarantee your portfolio success is to make sure you're not isolated. So, just being on a platform is the most important step you can take, but to amplify this you should follow and interact with other creatives. Some suggestions on Behance would be to visit the suggested creatives to follow tab. There you can find leaders in your field, browse featured work, people in your area, maybe you even want to do a search for your specific camera to find other people that are creating projects with that. Once you have a base of people you are following, your followers will build up. Then your work will start showing up in more activity feeds, project published notifications and more. So, this will guarantee that when you publish new work, it'll be seen by as many people as possible, and most importantly update regularly. So, don't be one of those people who sets up their portfolio then disappears. If your platform that you're on isn't something you naturally come to to browse creative work and update your own, be more deliberate about it, and set yourself a reminder to update at least a few times a year. Your online portfolio is essential if you want your work to get noticed, until any type of opportunities that you deserve. Whether you're starting from scratch or you're already deep in the creative world, positioning yourself well and following a few tried and true tips from successful creatives can make all the difference.