In the digital age, marketing your work and experience is everything. It can be the “Make or Break” moment when searching for a new role, showcasing your experience to a potential client, or just presenting yourself in a professional manner. But, as a recruiter actively searching for the best and most-talented copywriters on the market, I’ve found there are a few things that distinguish between a website that wow’s and one that underwhelms.
1. URL vs. PDF
- Ease of navigation. To be frank, with how the vast number of free services available to creatives (Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, etc.), navigation and usability should be priority number one. These sites allow for a multitude of customization and opportunity for creative expression, displaying current or previous projects, and creating an easy-to-navigate space for visitors. We even have a breakdown of the best portfolio platforms if you need help choosing.
With that in mind, understand that you should utilize this space effectively. Blocks of text can be overwhelming or draining to visitors and potential clients. Make sure those larger portions of text are broken up with imagery or changes to font style and size. In fact, grab some screenshots/photos of your work directly how it was used in place, if you have them. While certainly a delicate balance, photos or even logos can deter any hindrance text blocks might create.
- Ease of access. Long story short, stop using a PDF. By building a website rather sending around a PDF, you make it so much easier for recruiters or hiring managers to look through your current and previous work. Rather than scrolling through pages, anyone who comes to your portfolio is given the opportunity to pick and choose what they’re looking at and can allocate their time to the best-designated portion of your site.
With many of these services, you’re also given the ability to create private or ‘hidden’ pages that might showcase current work at a later date. Or, as many companies require now, you may have these projects hidden to Non-Disclosure Agreements (or NDA’s). Password-protected pages can give a sense of active work while also maintaining the integrity of your current contract.
2. Do a Vibe Check
- By way of Goldilocks. Finding the amount of content that is “too much” or “too little” can be a delicate balance when creating your site. As a Copywriter, it’s critical that you find your “Goldilocks area” to include. Think about the projects that have wow’d others, received awards, or been seen by more than your internal team or friends. A good way to decide if you should include a project? Ask yourself if you would want to do a similar project again in the future. The work you showcase will determine your furture work.
- Match the design to your style. When creating your portfolio, you want to make sure that the ‘vibe’ you curate is attracting and connecting with the right clients and potential roles. If you’re hunting down a B2B role, clean, crisp styling of the site sends a clear message. Looking to work in the world of animation? Vibrant colors and eye-catching motion graphics are the way to go.
- First impressions are key. Remember the balance we talked about just a moment ago? Well, the other side of that coin is knowing how to blend your professional experience with the personal “you”. A resume can be a great place to succinctly lay out your previous, professional experience. An online portfolio, however, is the landscape where you can paint a picture of who you are as a person, creative, and potential candidate for open roles. Think about including an “About” page or sprinkling in facts about yourself.
- Align your “self” with your goals. That being said, you also have to keep in mind that your “self” should be aligned with your goals. Does the personality and style of your site match the goals you’re trying to accomplish? Evaluate the steps necessary to achieve those goals and allow them to be reflected in the style choices you make.
4. Use Your Best Work
- Quality vs. Quantity. Last, but certainly not least, you must make sure that your best work is showcased before anything else. While I’m certain many would enjoy reading your poetry (I know I would) or short stories (again, I’m your guy), perhaps that’s best left for a deep dive into your site. In the grand scheme of things, keep this in mind; if you aren’t pleased to read through it, chances are recruiters won’t be either.
- “Show, Don’t Tell.” There’s an old idea in writing, “Show, Don’t Tell”. This is exactly the mentality many great copywriters have taken to heart when creating their websites. Rather than laying out epics of who they’ve worked for in the past through correspondence with recruiters, they allow their sites to tell the story for them by showcasing the clients they’ve worked with previously. This is especially important when your experience includes recognized companies or brands!
While all of these may be signs of a great copywriter’s portfolio, this list is certainly not comprehensive. There will always be a niche market or opportunity that may call for website revisions. Trends change, technology evolves, and with it all, we as creatives must adapt to it. The important thing to keep in mind is making sure that your passions and goals are aligned with the journey you intend to take in your professional career. And, as you meet recruiters throughout your professional journey, don’t be afraid to ask what drew them to your portfolio. You may gain insight into something entirely different!
Portfolio ready? Start applying to jobs now.
Caleb Patton is a Recruiter for Artisan Talent where he specializes in placing talent creatives and copy specialists with companies across the country. From music to mycology, coffee to cartoons, there isn't anything Caleb won't talk about passionately. Local to Little Rock, Arkansas and a wizard of words, Caleb has been writing for as long as he can remember. With work featured in Idle Class Magazine and experience working alongside the Ologies podcast with Alie Ward, he's always happy to lend a hand in making any voice and story heard. Reach out to him on LinkedIn!