How to Build a Web Developer Portfolio that Helps You Land the Job
Congratulations! You’ve just finished an immersive, highly challenging (but rewarding) coding bootcamp that has advanced your skills, increased your experience levels, and elevated your overall programming capabilities. Now what?
If you’re like many coding bootcamp graduates, your next goal is to put your newfound skills, talents, and abilities to good use by launching your job hunt. As you begin the search for new opportunities, it’s important to utilize as many available tools as possible. Not only will this strategy help attract the best hiring managers, but it will also give you a competitive edge from other potential candidates swimming alongside you in the talent pool.
For many recent grads, employment success often boils to one critical resource: a robust and relevant web developer portfolio.
Web Developer Portfolio 101: Understand the Basics Of This Powerful Hiring Tool
First things first – a web developer portfolio is not the same as a resume. Your online portfolio is essentially a website that outlines vital details about your work, training, and skill levels. Where a resume tells potential employers about your talents, a developer portfolio shows them with just a few simple clicks.
Beyond providing you with a chance to “wow” industry experts with your coding aptitude, your portfolio also helps you develop your professional brand. Why is this important? Your brand goes beyond your primary skill set, highlighting your unique differentiators and further demonstrating to future employers why you are the best candidate for the position.
Key Components To Include In Your Web Developer Portfolio
Every web developer portfolio will have its own unique look, style, and flare. However, there are a few essential components you should include to ensure you have everything potential hiring executives might be looking for. When creating your portfolio, you should always have the following pages:
#1 About Me Section
We want to know more about you. Many web developers are reluctant to talk about themselves in their portfolio. However, the About Me section is a great way to establish what sets you apart from other candidates as well as outline the strengths you can bring to certain projects. When developing your About Me page, go beyond who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and where you’re going.
Instead, consider other characteristics such as your professional narrative, what makes you unique compared to other developers in your field, how you’ve managed (or rescued) projects, and how you’ve personally fostered success in every initiative. In short, don’t miss an opportunity to self-promote yourself.
#2 Current And Completed Projects
This section can quickly begin to feel like a resume as it should list both ongoing and completed assignments. Unlike your resume, a portfolio website allows you to really dig deep and showcase certain project details. Display live web links whenever possible so readers can get an instant visual on your work with a simple click. Additionally, include graphics, GIFS, and even video demonstrations of your professional experience to generate excitement and interest with online viewers.
#3 Contact Page With All Relevant Details
Finally, don’t forget to let viewers know how to reach you. Much like a company website page, you’ll want to include as many contact options as possible. If you have a professional phone number, use it. However, if you feel uncomfortable posting your cell phone number online, you can easily replace this with your email address, LinkedIn page, or any other links to professional social media profiles you’ve established.
#4 Optimize User Experience (UX) With Your Portfolio
Of course, determining the content you’ll include in your portfolio is only one ingredient you’ll need to fuel your online success. As a web developer, you’re probably aware that the user experience is, well, pretty much everything with viewers. Here are a few tips to improve your website’s UX and ensure readers keep browsing your site:
Customize Your Web URL
What’s in a name? When it comes to your developer portfolio, a lot. Don’t settle for bland and boring. Your URL should represent your professional brand as well as convey who you are and what you do. Not sure how to choose a customized URL? Do some research online for tips on developing a domain name that optimizes search results.
A lackluster visual design will instantly repel users. Likewise, an overly complicated layout with unnecessary bells and whistles can also quickly turn off potential employers. Keep your look simple, but compelling to persuade users to continue navigating your site. Worried you don’t have the design skills needed to launch a visually appealing layout? No problem. There are countless free templates that, with just a few tweaks and customizations, can make you look like a stand-out web developer.
Don’t risk losing on-the-go viewers who want to access your portfolio on their smartphones. Create a mobile-friendly portfolio that hiring managers can easily find and view your site, no matter where they are.