No digital marketing experience? No problem. You can still create a strong portfolio that attracts prospective employers while showcasing your true talent.
Build a portfolio with no experience using these five simple steps.
- Create opportunities for paid work.
Short-term freelance work doesn’t provide the benefits of a full-time position, but it can be an effective tactic to help you create a high-quality portfolio, whether you’re a recent college grad or making a mid-career shyft into digital marketing.
It’s not just an opportunity for writers, developers, or designers, either. Freelance projects are available in virtually any facet of the field, including marketing management, market research, consulting, and social media ad campaign management.
Online job sites are a solid starting point. The pay isn’t always top-end, but you may be able to find projects otherwise ideal for showcasing to potential employers. You can also source portfolio-worthy work when you invest time to make professional connections at networking groups and coworking spaces.
- Offer free services to a local nonprofit.
Not-for-profit organizations are often short of marketing resources to spread the word about their initiatives. Locate a nonprofit in your area that needs a hand with marketing—even better if it serves a cause that’s important to you.
Just be sure not to over-commit because you’ll want to focus most of your energy on your job search, so stick to smaller projects. For example, if you’re a content writer, you might offer to write two free blog posts rather than rewrite the group’s 20-page website.
- Use college assignments if you’re a recent grad.
If you completed marketing courses at college, it’s fine to incorporate your best academic pieces into a portfolio. Choose high quality work that’s relevant for the type of position you’re seeking (i.e., don’t include photography assignments if you’re seeking work as a content writer).
Before you add college pieces to the portfolio, take them to the next level by asking a mentor, professor, or marketing professional to provide additional feedback on the project. Tweak the work as necessary until it becomes “hire me” quality.
- Give yourself assignments.
Don’t hesitate to create your own portfolio pieces to showcase, especially if you’re in a creative field like writing or graphic design. For example, a content writer interested in the tech sector might write a tech-related article for an imaginary client. Likewise, a designer can create a logo, brochure, or other marketing collateral based on the needs of an imagined company.
- Choose a professional platform to share your portfolio.
In addition to developing high quality pieces, you’ll also want to put your best foot forward by displaying them on a professional platform. Several services, including Crevado, Portfoliobox, and Clippings.me, provide free online portfolio accounts. Depending on the platform, you may need to upgrade to a paid subscription to access advanced features, such as privacy control or customized layouts.
If you’re a website designer, another option to build a portfolio with no experience is to create your own dedicated portfolio site. Build your own website from scratch or take advantage of portfolio templates using a tool like WordPress.
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