The Best Portfolio Ever: How to Create a Winning Portfolio

By Chelsea Babin

Portfolios aren’t just for designers; they’re helpful for any IT professional who works with front-end technologies. Do you fall into that category? If you’re a Jr. Developer, it may be time to start putting your portfolio together. Here are a few tips to help you through the process of creating a portfolio from scratch or updating your existing portfolio so that it’s more appealing to employers:

> It’s impossible to start your portfolio without any work to put in it. If you’re looking to establish your portfolio and don’t have enough projects, try doing websites for free for your friends and family. If you can do them in a range of styles, you’ll quickly build enough of a backlog of work that you can be selective in your portfolio choices. Plus, this will help you develop your skills even faster!

> Include a variety of work, with as many varying samples as you can. This will help display your range and your full realm of skills. Think about it, if you were a marketer at Apple you wouldn’t just show the iPhone to your customers, you’d make sure they saw the Apple Watch and the iPad and everything else under the Apple umbrella. That approach is perfect for a portfolio.

> That being said, you’re going for a curated look. If there are multiple examples of extremely similar projects, you may want to edit down to the best of the best. That’s only if your portfolio begins to get bulky though, until it seems overly stuffed keep adding examples because you never know which will appeal to potential employers and they like to see the full realm of what you can accomplish.

>  Don’t forget to put together a Github account! This will help highlight your code and exponentially strengthen your portfolio in the eyes of hiring managers.

> Double and triple check the links to every website you’re including links to in your portfolio. One sure fire way to make an unprofessional impression is to apply for positions and send out portfolios with links that are broken. Sometimes, hiring managers will let you know and have you resend them working links. Other times, they won’t even bother. It’s worth checking every time before you send your portfolio out!

> Be selective and try to order your portfolio in a logical way. If you have too many clashing designs one after the other, it could be inadvertently losing opportunities for you because the jarring changes don’t appeal to the eye. Looking at each piece and assessing its individual value, but so is examining your portfolio as a whole.

> Another way to look unprofessional is having a portfolio that’s rife with misspellings. Get a friend to double and triple check that there are no grammar or spelling mistakes before you send it out. Similarly, if you used Lorem Ipsum to fill your web page in, make sure you change it to actual text before sending out your portfolio.

> If you’re looking to impress, it’s important that you make your portfolio responsive. If there’s any side scrolling, overlapping text, or other design flaws your portfolio might do more harm than good, making you look like you lack the attention to detail needed in a professional developer. Test your entire portfolio on multiple devices, in multiple browser sizes to make sure everything works out well in all scenarios. You don’t really have control over how an employer will see your portfolio so make sure what they see is error free in every format.

> Last and certainly not least, put your resume on there! Sure, you can send a resume separately along with your portfolio, but putting your resume in your portfolio puts it all in the same place, making it that much easier for employers to evaluate you on the whole.


Are you excited about getting to work on your portfolio? You should be! These are essentially visual ads, showing employers everywhere what you’ve done in the past and what you’re capable of. Very few professionals get the luxury of having a story-telling device this good to accompany their resumes and interviews. Make sure you take full advantage and use these tips to make your portfolio a showstopper!