A global pandemic and ongoing lockdown restrictions worldwide have stressed the importance of social media for interaction, connection and, most importantly, discovery. With 40% of people spending more time on social media networks since March, according to Statista, it only makes sense that apps such as Instagram are ripe for young talent, graduating into an overcrowded and recession economy, to showcase their work through an Instagram portfolio.
So what do you feature on your Instagram account? Do you need separate personal/portfolio accounts? Do you even need an Instagram portfolio when you already have a website? Don’t worry! I’m going to walk you through creating a fire social portfolio and why it’ll increase your chances of getting hired.
Instagram is built for discovery
Think about it. Your home feed page refreshes every time you open the app to deliver you new content from accounts you care about the most, while the explore page suggests similar pages to you that you aren’t yet following. With more people spending time on the app, more prospective clients and recruiters have the opportunity to stumble across your account.
Nana Agyemang, The Cut’s social editor and founder of Every Stylish Girl, got her current role at The Cut after they saw the work she was doing for Every Stylish Girl and asked her to transfer that knowledge and skills to their own social page.
Emily McLeister, Fashion Communication & Promotion graduate, created an online platform ‘Inform’ for her final major project. By linking the @inform Instagram page in the bio of her personal account, potential employers see the type of work she creates. Equally, linking back to your own personal page or adding a clear link to your online website is a way to ensure that people can quickly get in touch with you.
Be personable – but not personal.
Trying to strike a balance between showing personality and keeping things professional can be tricky in a world where as creatives, our work and lives are often deeply intertwined. However, such a balance can be struck!
Stating the somewhat obvious, the blurry pictures of your nights out during University should be archived or kept on a separate private Instagram account for friends only. UCA fashion textiles and print graduate Hally has managed to find the sweet spot, showcasing her work with lengthy, personable captions on what she’s up to. Her colourful and loud feed reflects the type of work that she produces, so her brand aesthetic is instantly understood. Ultimately, people want to hire someone they feel a connection with, so make you let yourself shine through your work.
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Big love and thanks to @officialgfw & @tiktok_uk for the amazing opportunity to design and make merchandise ❤👜💙(and to @henryholland for choosing my design!!! 😭) aaaand giving us what felt like the uni hand in day and celebration we didn't get 💖 legends 🌟 it's been such a fab fun filled week and after making 20 something bags I'm never going to say I can't sew again !!! Such an invaluable and one of a kind experience! It's been so encouraging hearing how much everyone loved my print and design style!!! 😭💖😭 this week has given me so much more confidence!!! 🥰 soooo amazing to see one of my favourite graduate prints on fabric and not on the screen!!! My work and concept is really important and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to share it with everyone ✊♀️ Everyone was so lovely and I'm so ready to DRAW SEW DESIGN & MAKE MORE FUNKY PRINTS !!! 💖💖💖💖 shoutout to @joycampbell_e17 for being the supportive mum to us all this week ❤ (UM, ALSO THE UBER DRIVER ASKED ME IF I WAS DRESSED LIKE THIS FOR SOMETHING???? 😭😭😭😭 Me: nooo this is just how I dress.. Him: OH. It's called fashun Barry, look it up x) #tiktokxgff #gfw20 #wearegraduatefashion #totebags #printdesign #textilesdesign #tote #weareuca
What to post?
Most people overthink their social profiles, so don’t let your ego get in the way of you not posting for weeks on end. Think of your profile like a digital scrapbook and give people an insight into your creative processes and thoughts – it doesn’t have to be the final, finished product. A behind-the-scenes look into new ideas you’re exploring is engaging for your followers and lets them connect with you.
It doesn’t always have to be your own work either, the popularity of mood board accounts shows how much people love to see a curated page of inspiration and images – with many of these pages creators going on to become brand consultants for having showcased their ability to curate a point of view.
I love how Fashion Features Assistant at The Telegraph Hikamt Mohammed posts a mix of his published work, images that inspire him and lifestyle shots on his Instagram page.
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It has been 13 months and one day since I met @anniehertikova 🥳 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU 🥳 A few fun facts about Annie: 1) She loves broccoli 2) Every time I’ve tried a new exercise class, it has been because Annie was there. 3) She’s a massive raver and wellness guru (odd? Yes) 4) she’s not that much taller than me, but she is wearing heels 👠 ♉️ 🥦 🏖 🧘🏻♀️💃🏻🍷 📷: AKS
– Make sure your account is public! It’s improbable that people will request to follow your account and if they do, they will be even more unlikely to come back for a second look.
– Put your email address in your bio but regularly check your DM’s for messages.
– Switch to a Creators account. This will give you insights into your followers and access to more features and new releases.
– Use highlight reels to showcase different work.
Even if you graduated from University years ago, it’s essential to keep re-evaluating your social brand and image to ensure it still reflects your career goals. Whether we like it or not, we all have a personal brand if our name appears on a Google search. But the best part is that YOU can control that narrative and how you want to be seen by the world.
I know that I already feel inspired by writing this article to refresh my socials and make sure my personal brand is well-reflected. If you want to follow along with my journey, then give me a follow @heatheribberson!
Words by Heather Ibberson