It’s sad but true: these days computer-bound professionals have extremely minimal attention spans. Picture someone busily working their way through a mound of applicants and resumes. They’ll type in the URL of the candidates who pique their interest, but there’s a very small window to maintain that interest. No pressure, but don’t mess it up. Here are the three most important things to keep top of mind when you’re putting your portfolio web sites together:

1) Make sure the best work is the easiest to find.

The Three Most Important Rules of Building Portfolio Web Sites

Separate yourself from all the personal associations you have with your work and make an effort to evaluate your samples objectively. Look at them for what they are, and then determine which examples stand out as particularly strong. Great portfolio web sites give those pieces the prime real estate.

2) Create sections by work type.

The 3 Most Important Rules of Building Portfolio Web Sites

If your portfolio contains work that falls into different categories—ad work versus editorial, for instance—separate it into sections. This way, a prospective client or employer can immediately sort out the experience that most appropriately matches up to their needs. (And don’t forget to keep rule #1 in mind within each category, too.)

3) Simple navigation rules portfolio web sites.

The 3 Most Important Rules of Building Portfolio Web Sites

Providing a direct link that’s relevant to a particular client need is great as long as it’s clean (, not, but anticipate what will happen if someone winds up by accident on any page of the site. Will they be able to easily get back on track and find what they are looking for? If you can’t confidently say yes from any entry point, rethink how your navigation functions.

The good news is that an excellent body of work will get recognized one way or the other (it doesn’t all come down to how your portfolio web sites look), but time is money. Put the work in up-front to carefully consider the experience of navigating your portfolio; it could save you days, weeks, and months of time waiting to be discovered.

Marjorie is a former Creative Circle candidate based in Portland who recently accepted a full-time offer for her dream job. She is a writer/editor and stylist/producer with an emphasis in the design world. If you are interested in working with someone like Marjorie, please contact your nearest Creative Circle office.