How to Build a Freelance Engineering Portfolio

You have chosen to work as a freelance electrical engineer. It’s not that you ‘couldn’t’ get a job in a corporate environment, but rather that you prefer being able to pick and choose the jobs you want to devote your time, talents and expertise on. In today’s culture, there is a growing number of professional freelancers in literally every industry. Unfortunately, sometimes the sheer amount of competition can create an obstacle to overcome. If you want a tip on cornering your market as a freelance engineer, the best advice would be to build a rock-solid portfolio.

Create for a Digital Audience

While you may want a hardcopy of your portfolio, it is imperative that you market to an online audience. There is no secret to the fact that more companies and individuals search online for new businesses or professionals than in any other way. Long gone are the days of “Let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages,” so create at least one form of your portfolio for an online audience.

Focus on Your Area(s) of Specialization

Electronics and electrical engineering have become quite specialized over the years, so make sure to highlight your areas of expertise or specialization. You can do this in several ways, but education is important as are the kinds of jobs you’ve successfully completed. Perhaps you focus on the gaming industry or perhaps consumer electronics. Make these key listings and detail them adequately.

Show Examples of Your Work

Just as an architect might include pictures of buildings or projects they’ve designed, so too should an engineer provide ‘snapshots’ of work they’ve completed. One really great example to highlight would be an Altium netlist, in part or in whole, on a completed project. If the work was proprietary to a corporate client, it would pay to get their permission to publish that portion of the project’s netlist. Even so, if you can’t obtain permissions, perhaps one of your graduate projects would work as well!

Cite Clients You’ve Designed For

Here again, it is vital to get a client’s permission to be listed in your portfolio. You can go generic or specific. Perhaps you designed circuitry for a consumer smart device and the client is reluctant to be included. Instead of naming the client, list the type of circuitry you’ve designed. Obviously the more specific you can be, the better it will look in your portfolio. Plus, there is the added benefit of that client offering their endorsement of your work!

The key object in building a freelance portfolio is to showcase your areas of specialization as well as your crowing achievements in the field. Your portfolio can be all the recommendation you need when canvasing for new jobs and new clients if it is done well. As an electrical engineer, you may not be adept at creating portfolios, but there are marketing teams who are up to the task. Remember, your portfolio is the best advertising you can do, so give it all you’ve got and the rewards will be great.

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