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Cover letters, resumes, and networking are an important part of the job application process. But to really stand out and show off your skills, there’s another tool that every digital marketing professional should add to their job search toolkit: the portfolio.
To help you create a portfolio that will score job interviews, we asked BrainStation Instructor – and Shopify Social Media Producer – Francesca Saraco some common questions about digital marketing portfolios.
Here’s why you need a portfolio and how to create one that will boost your profile in the competitive digital marketing industry.
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Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Portfolio?
Whether you’re looking for a job or you love your job, it’s never a bad idea to have a digital marketing portfolio on the go.
“It’s important to have a showcase of your work because you never know when you’ll be asked for it,” says Saraco. “Showcasing your work helps you be discovered by potential employers. Plus, it’s nice to see how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown and the different trajectories your work has taken.”
Keeping an up-to-date portfolio shows that you’re dedicated and engaged, and could lead to new connections or even job offers.
What Is in a Digital Marketing Portfolio?
It’s easy to guess what kind of work a writer, designer or web developer might showcase in their portfolio. But when it comes to a digital marketing portfolio, the content might be less obvious. That’s because digital marketing often involves teamwork, strategic thinking, and planning that can’t always be captured in a writing sample or image.
“Sometimes people in more strategy-driven roles are more challenged with what they can put in a portfolio because their work is thinking based,” says Saraco.
The solution, says Saraco, is to show a tangible product, credit the team you worked with and then explain what your role was.
For example, you could feature a few photos from an Instagram campaign with a caption that describes your role: Did you develop the strategic plan? Write the copy? Coordinate the digital ad buy? Explain your role and how you contributed to the results.
Sharing analytics information alongside visuals is another way to highlight your skills (especially for search engine marketing or search engine optimization projects), but be sure you can back up what your role was and how you contributed to success.
What Can I Include in My Portfolio If I Don’t Have Work Experience in Digital Marketing?
Students enrolled in any of BrainStation’s marketing courses complete hands-on work that will result in portfolio-worthy content.
“Projects from school are a great portfolio piece to show your thinking process and skills,” says Saraco. For example, XX student-developed XX project as part of BrainStation’s digital marketing course and featured in on their portfolio (linked).
Sharing your personal brand online is another way to highlight your skills and experience.
“You can showcase your own content, whether that’s an email newsletter that you write biweekly, or a strong Twitter presence or Instagram presence. That can be shown off in a portfolio to show potential employers how you think and how you create,” says Saraco.
If you prefer to keep your personal profiles private, consider starting a passion project (like an Instagram or blog dedicated to houseplants or cooking) and featuring it on your portfolio.
Can I Feature Client Work on My Portfolio?
If you do have digital marketing work experience, you might be wondering if it’s okay to feature client work in your portfolio. To avoid any issues, it’s important to ask first.
“Simply emailing and asking for consent goes a long way. This is something you can do as your exiting a job or internship, or when a project is complete,” says Saraco.
When featuring client work Saraco also emphasizes the importance of crediting others who worked on the project.
“Don’t take credit for content that’s not yours, that’s really important. There is no shame in crediting collaborators on a project. It shows that you can work on a team,” says Saraco.
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I’m Ready to Make a Portfolio, Now What?
There are plenty of free or cheap websites that offer ready-made or customizable templates for online portfolios.
When building a portfolio, the portfolio itself becomes an example of your work, so it’s important to choose a platform that you’re comfortable using. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are just a few of the options available.
“Keep it nice and organized, create a nice user experience and show off your personality,” says Saraco.
Once your portfolio is ready to go, make it easy to find by adding a link in your resume, on your LinkedIn page and your social media accounts.
Find out more about BrainStation’s digital marketing courses.