How To Optimize Your Digital Portfolio

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

Having a digital portfolio is essential if you’re seeking a job in creative fields or if you’re trying to demonstrate your skills and success as a freelancer or remote worker. Nowadays, since so much hiring is done online (especially in the gig economy), it’s even more important to have a digital portfolio than a hard copy.

Thankfully, creating a digital display of your work is easier than you might think, and doesn’t require you to be a tech wizard.

If you already have a digital portfolio but haven’t given it as much time and attention as you should, consider optimizing it to attract the attention of potential employers and clients. By focusing on building a strong portfolio, you’ll stand out from the crowd and find greater success in your remote endeavors.

Why Is a Digital Portfolio Important?

Remote jobs aren’t anything new. They’ve been slowly rising in popularity over the last few years. However, remote work saw a huge uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it began out of necessity, many people have decided to keep working from home, enjoying benefits like flexibility, less stress, and even better mental health thanks to fewer in-office pressures and a lack of stress from a daily commute. As of 2022, 26% of U.S. employees worked remotely, and while there are some potential challenges to remote work, it’s a number that will undoubtedly grow as more people recognize the lasting benefits.

If you’re working from home as a freelancer or you’re trying to get hired by a specific type of company, a digital portfolio should be your top priority. You might never have the opportunity to meet your employer(s) face-to-face, so you’ll have to make an impression through your work. If your portfolio is disorganized or hard to access, it’s the same as giving a bad first impression. Because there are so many remote workers out there vying for jobs, if your portfolio isn’t up to par, a potential employer will move on quickly.

If you’re searching for a job online and end up sending an employer your portfolio, you have one chance to impress them. So, make sure you’re using some of the best practices to optimize your portfolio and grab their attention quickly. Let’s cover a few ways to do that.

Show Your Best Work

Less is more when it comes to optimizing your digital portfolio. While you should provide plenty of samples for potential employers to see, don’t go overboard assuming that you should include your entire body of work.

Instead, filter through the work you’ve done and select 7-10 of your best samples. If you’re not sure which ones to choose, keep the following tips in mind as you’re sorting through them:

● Pick pieces that reflect your strengths and range;
● Make sure your top piece is the one viewers will see first;
● Choose relevant work that’s less than five years old.

If you’re sending your portfolio to several different companies, take the time to “customize” it so it appeals to the type of company culture you’re interested in. If you have an idea of what they’re looking for, that’s how your work should be formatted and displayed.

As a good rule of thumb, you should give your portfolio a test run before sending it anywhere or allowing it to go “live” online.

Let Your Personality Shine

Employers aren’t just looking for great work. No matter the type of job you’re looking for, chances are there are a thousand other candidates competing for it. One of the best ways to stand out, aside from showing your best work, is to show off your personality. Many people who use digital portfolios are interested in creative careers, like graphic design, marketing, photography, or the performing arts.

For example, if you’re a performer trying to get hired by a dance company, you can show your creativity by showcasing videos of yourself, rather than just still shots. If you’re an artist or designer, include captions for your work and talk a bit about the process that went behind each piece.

Hiring managers want to get a basic idea of who you are and what you’ll bring to their company. Consider yourself to be your personal brand. How do you want to be viewed? What makes you special and different from your competitors?

Your personality can come through in everything from the overall design of your portfolio to the way you introduce yourself after showcasing your work. While you should remain professional throughout your portfolio, it’s okay to let an employer know the type of personality they can expect from you.

The popularity of remote work will undoubtedly continue to grow as technology advances. That means more competition every day. Make sure you stand out and land the job(s) you want. Keep these tips in mind to optimize your digital portfolio and grab the attention of the right people.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at

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