If you expect work to find you, you will be sadly mistaken and probably poor. There are a few things that you need to do as a designer in order to get your work seen by potential employers and clients. I can only share with you some things that I know about and have done myself to get myself seen.
01. Join Design Portfolios Sites and Post Your Work
It is definitely good to join all the ones that you can find, however, there are some that are a little better than others.
This is the best portfolio site that I know of other than making your own site. It costs a little bit of money, but it is well worth it. Not only can you post your work on it, but it is also an incredible design resource.
This is similar to AIGA, but it is pretty much only a design portfolio site and a job board. It is actually what powers the portfolio section of AIGA’s website.
The Behance network is a very good resource to network with other creatives and a good place to post your work. The more you participate the better off you are.
Art Bistro is very similar to the Behance Network. You have to decide for yourself which one is better.
Design Related is another portfolio site. It has a very nice portfolio interface, but if memory serves me correctly you have to be invited to that one.
This is a portfolio site that is worth checking out.
Those are the best ones that I can think of off of the top of my head. There are a few other sites that I should mention that could help, but aren’t portfolio sites per say.
This is one of the best ways to get people to view your website. You post your work to their site, they decide whether it is something they want to post, then if it gets posted you will have an unreal amount of visits to your site.
Linked In is a great site for networking.
This is a very good job search resource. You can also run searches for any organization that has a profile.
This is another good job search engine. You actually can make a portfolio here, but I am not sure how much it is really used.
You should know one more thing about finding these resources. Type one into google and search it. Under the result for whatever you searched for there should be a link called similar. It is right next to the URL to the website. If you click the similar link it will search for all websites that google can find that are similar to the one you searched for.
02. Make a Personalized Portfolio Website
Since about the year 2000 or so it has become almost a necessity to have a portfolio website showcasing your work. Not only is it a good way to get your work on the web, but most employers these days are looking to be referred to a portfolio online. The sites I listed above are good resources, but if you want to be taken seriously you will need something a little more personalized. This doesn’t mean you should ditch your hard copy work. You will still need all of that to take to interviews and what not.
There are many options for having your own website. The best way is to take a web class or have someone show you the basics. To be honest with you I have only been doing web for a little bit longer than a year. You do not have to know a ton to be able to make a suitable portfolio site. My site (www.glazefolio.com)is very simple, but it is clean, and it gets the job done. You do not want your site to be too flashy and cluttered anyway. It will only take away from your work that you are trying to showcase.
You could also buy some server space and use templates. This is a little less creative and most people can see right through that, but it is still more personalized and is a good idea if you do not know web.
Another option yet is to have someone else design your site for you. Whether you pay for it or you get a friend to do it for free, sometimes it is better to have someone do it that really knows their stuff. Your portfolio should be as perfect as possible. You should definitely come up with an idea and sketch it out. If you do not think you can translate that to the web then find someone who can. Do not be limited because you are not experienced with web design.
03.Network Network Network
You should use all of the resources and more that I mentioned above to network. You should also design yourself some business cards and letter head. Make a brand for yourself and then sell that brand. Sell it to whomever you can. Get your name out there. I personally printed off 1000 business cards with all of my information on them. I then give them to people that I meet, and leave them in random public places. You should talk to your friends and family and give them your card. Ask them if they know anyone that you can meet with. You should be looking up people online and connecting with them. Get on Twitter. Do anything and everything you can to get noticed because that is what it takes.
That is enough to think about for this post. I hope you like the information.