Some Dos and Don'ts

by Joe Gillespie — Jul 1, 2002

Here is a short list of tips, some obvious and some not so. Try to keep them in mind when you present your work.

Do's

Try to control the situation and browsing environment. Finding out that your site doesn't work properly in the client's browser is too late - you've blown your chance!

Remember, looking at your portfolio is an imposition on someone and they will almost certainly be seeing other people too. Keep your presentation short, sweet and to the point.

Demonstrate the breadth of your skills. Don't be afraid to acknowledge your weaknesses, nobody can do everything.

Three or four good examples are better than a dozen indifferent ones. Quality, not quantity.

Watch the finer details. It's very embarrassing when a potential client or employer points-out typos on your page.

Be prepared to say what a site you are showing cost to produce. In business, the bottom line is very important. If your price is too dear (or too cheap), you won't be considered.

Be honest. Making wild exaggerations about your abilities, if not spotted at the outset, will return to haunt you later. Fooling the client is one thing but kidding yourself usually ends in disaster.

Don'ts

Waste people's time. There are so many ways to do this and I think I've covered most of them already. Just consider that you will probably also end up wasting your own.

Make excuses. A catalog of excuses about why a page doesn't work, visually or functionally, is another way of wasting people's time and a big turn-off.

Spam potential customer or employers with your details. People hate spam and the people who send it. If you must send unsolicited email, make sure that it is worded appropriately and sent to the correct person. The subject should say exactly what it is you are sending, using spammer's tricks to fool people into opening your email won't go down too well at all.

Don't tell them how good (you think) you are. They will decide that by their standards and on their terms.

Put other people (or their sites) down. If you can think of a better way of doing something, say so but just trashing other people's work just for the sake of it is unprofessional and reflects more badly on you than them.

And finally, More valuable than your portfolio, or your resume, or any advertising or promotion you might contemplate, is a personal recommendation from someone your client/employer respects. An extension of this is your reputation – that's how everybody views you and your work. Protect it like a baby!

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