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 (and increasingly, the online portfolio – a great tool to show examples of your work).
To help you create a digital marketing portfolio, we asked BrainStation Instructor and Shopify Social Media Producer Francesca Saraco some questions about how to create a marketing portfolio and marketing portfolio examples.
To being with, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you need to create a marketing portfolio – even if you don’t have work experience – and how to create one that will help you stand out in the job market.
Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Portfolio?
Whether you’re looking for a new Digital Marketer job or if you already have a marketing job, it’s never a bad idea to have a marketing portfolio on the go.
“It’s important to have examples of your work because you never know when you’ll be asked for it,” says Saraco. “Showcasing your marketing 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 marketing portfolio shows that you’re dedicated and engaged, and could lead to new connections or even job offers.
What Is in a 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 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, like a Digital Marketer, 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. This can include any number of digital marketing channels, such as websites, ads, social media posts or campaigns, videos, email marketing, and more.
Once you’ve picked out a few highlights of your past work, make sure you credit the team you worked with (which emphasizes your ability to work with others), and then explain what your role was.
A marketing portfolio can, for example, feature a few posts from a social media campaign with a caption that describes your role and the following:
- What social media platforms did you use?
- Did you develop the strategic plan? Write the copy? Coordinate the digital ad buy?
- Explain your role and how you contributed to the results.
Email marketing is another great avenue to showcase your contribution; did you help create email campaign that drove results? What were the highlights? start with the visuals but then lean into the analytics: What were the open and click rates? Did it help generate leads for the company?
The best marketing portfolios share analytics alongside visuals. This is a way to really highlight your skills (especially for search engine marketing or search engine optimization projects), so be sure you can back up what your role was and how you contributed to success.
What Do I Include in My Portfolio If I Don’t Have Marketing Experience?
If you don’t have any digital marketing work experience, you can still start making a marketing portfolio. Focus first on personal projects and social media profiles, which can be a way to showcase your digital marketing skills and sensibilities.
“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. Digital marketing courses can help in this area, as many will allow you to complete work in a number of areas.
“Projects from school are a great portfolio piece to show your thinking process and skills,” says Saraco.
Can I Feature Client Work on My Marketing Portfolio?
If you do have digital marketing work experience, you might be wondering if it’s okay to feature client work and projects in your digital marketing 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 projects, 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.
How Do I Start Making a Digital Marketing Portfolio?
To start making a digital marketing portfolio, you’ll want to first find a portfolio website to help you organize and showcase your work. There are currently a wide range of free or relatively cost-effective portfolio websites that offer ready-made or customizable templates to create an online portfolio. Squarespace is an example of a portfolio website, but there are others, including Wix and Weebly that can help you build a portfolio that you’re proud of.
Remember that the marketing portfolio itself becomes an example of your work, so it’s important to choose a platform that you’re comfortable using.
“Keep it nice and organized, create a nice user experience and show off your personality,” says Saraco.
Once your marketing 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.
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