Considering Portfolios: 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Freelancer
When it comes to finding the right freelancer for your project, resumes don’t always tell you everything you need to know. With creative work, like a website or copywriting, a freelancer’s style can be far more important than the companies he or she has worked for. Looking through examples of a designer or writer’s work can make choosing between freelancers a much simpler matter, especially if you have a whole stack of responses to a job listing. The review process doesn’t have to be complicated: you can find the right freelancer by focusing on a few key points.
1. Consider the Style
You probably have at least a general idea of the sort of style you want to see on your particular project, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for that style in the portfolios you’re looking through. But you’ll want to go a step further and look at the variety of styles each freelancer works with. You may see designs in half a dozen different styles in one designer’s portfolio, while another designer may stick primarily with the one style you’re looking for throughout all of his pieces. Either freelancer may be able to execute your project equally well.
2. Read Any Descriptions
With most portfolios, it isn’t enough to just look at the projects a freelancer chose to include. You’ll find that many portfolios included descriptions of projects, which may have information on the scope and goals of a project, the role the freelancer played and more that can help you determine just how relevant a particular portfolio piece is to your own project.
3. Look at the Dates
Some freelancers will post a portfolio full of excellent pieces that may not be among their more recent work. It’s worth giving more weight to recent pieces — styles can change significantly in only a few years. If you like what you’re seeing in a particular portfolio, but the work seems to be a little dated, consider asking to see more recent samples.
4. Check for Live Versions
While not all freelancers offer links to their work in the wild, seeing such links in a portfolio can be a good sign. Being able to see a freelancer’s work displayed on one of their client’s websites is confirmation that the freelancer in question is able to complete projects satisfactorily.
5. Choose Based on What You Like
Just because one freelancer has a portfolio full of projects for big name clients doesn’t mean you should choose that freelancer over one whose portfolio of work contains projects you particularly like. Finding the right freelancer isn’t so much about past projects as seeing who can complete your project in the way you want.
6. Follow Up on Questions
You’ll likely have questions after looking over a portfolio — like how long it might take a freelancer to complete your project. Even if you haven’t decided on a particular freelancer yet, it’s good to ask your questions. Not only can an answer be a deciding factor, but it can also help a freelancer decide whether he or she is going to be the best person to complete your project.
Many freelancers maintain online portfolios that you can browse through — these freelancers may simply submit a link if you post a job listing. Others may email their portfolios, especially if their portfolios contain material that they cannot post online for one reason or another. A ghost writer, for instance, may have agreed not to post his work online under his own name. Either way, looking through portfolios can make choosing a freelancer a much simpler process than trying to sort through resumes.