Anyone who works as an IT freelancer or IT consultant is not only doing their main job, but they're also a marketing manager and sales representative in one! Regardless of recommendations from satisfied customers, self-employed people should always pay attention to their external brand image and have consistent marketing for themselves.

But what makes an an IT professional's portfolio stand out? With our tips, lay the foundation for more reach with your perfect IT contractor portfolio. 

What is an IT professional contractor portfolio?

There is no uniform definition for the IT professional portfolio. This can be seen as great news, or daunting news because that means every independent IT freelancer, basically, has to find their own way. In contrast to the standard W2 employee who submits their résumé and lists off their references, the IT contractor needs to present both their own work and their freelance business' personality. The portfolio itself can be used as a great way to open many IT project opportunities.

1) Brevity is key

When presenting professional and project experience, it is often difficult for IT contractors to find the right number and types of portfolio projects to display. Finding a succinct way to describe your successful IT projects is key.

Always remember that time is usually a scarce commodity for hiring managers and it is best to keep the project descriptions as short as possible and only use as much text as is really necessary so that the other person gets an impression of it. The focus is always on your role and how your actions lead to a successful outcome. Often, concise key points in a bullet point list, in combination with images or links, say more than long paragraphs.

Think of the first page of your portfolio as the 'skim' section. Use this area to highlight your work and then use thumbnails or short descriptions to catch your potential client's eye and provide links to the extra details about the project with a "read more" link to a subpage of your website. This way, people can still dive into the details, but not be bombarded on their initial visit to your portfolio page.

2) Modest design

It is understandable that freelancers also want to make their portfolio visually impressive. However, in the portfolio it is not about being as conspicuous as possible. Rather, curate your own projects and your skills in order to present them in the best possible way. 

If you pay attention to the design, it should highlight your assets and focus on your unique selling proposition (USP). Too many design elements would only distract the eye and could possibly even put hiring managers off.

3) Avoid "name dropping" and listing a bunch of references and certificates

Working for a well-known company inspires many freelancers. After all, this seems to testify to a special quality of the freelancer. In practice, simply listing well-known companies in the portfolio can quickly be seen as a show-off. After all, your work at a famous company says nothing about what you have really achieved and therefore does not represent any proof of your qualities.

In the portfolio, instead of focusing on people you know and certificates you hold, focus more on the content of the respective projects and how the associated skills could help a future project owner. In other words, put yourself in their shoes. How could someone use the things you did in your previous projects for their own company growth?

4) Simply the best

Every decision maker will be aware that you have already completed a number of projects during your professional IT career. Therefore, you should refrain from listing all your projects in one portfolio. This is your highlight reel. You only want to include the very best projects. Proceed in a structured manner and describe a maximum of a handful of projects that have worked really well. Also make sure that the projects are the most recent as possible.

5) Focus on your strengths with prospects and defer to mentors for weaknesses

Every IT freelancer is certainly proud of what they have achieved with their experience and the knowledge that goes with it. However, some go a little too far when specifying strengths. The important thing here is that you are very honest with potential employers. What are you really good at? This is your 'wheel house,' or the skills that you can access at 100 percent and future employers can benefit from utilizing. 

Of course, you can also communicate weaknesses. However, the best thing to do when discussing your weaknesses is to refer to your network, and work with trustworthy partners to improve outside of work. 

Keep your portfolio up-to-date

Your online portfolio is your first impression as an IT contractor and you should ensure that all information contained on it is up-to-date. By regularly updating your online portfolio, updating references and adjusting the design, you'll keep your site exciting for both search bots and site visitors alike to experience.

Have you updated your portfolio and are you looking for your next IT project? We'll gladly assist you! Computer Futures has been one of the leading personnel consultancies in the IT and technology industry for over 30+ years. Our specialist personnel consultants will be happy to assist you and find you exciting new IT projects to work on. Contact us here

Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled talent, the team at Computer Futures are here for you. By combining our local expertise and specialist market knowledge, we can provide expert recruitment and employment solutions across a range of IT markets.