Online portfolios can be used to differentiate yourself from other candidates, by providing samples of your work product.
I’ve seen candidates completely turn around interviews just based on their work product – their personal portfolio. Used by creative and graphics professionals for years, portfolios can provide an advantage to job seekers in most functions today.
Why Do Portfolios Work?
Portfolios can bring a number of advantages to the job seeker willing to invest a little extra time into their marketing materials. Some of these advantages include:
- Reduces perception of ageism
- Increases perception of being tech-savvy
- Demonstrates organization
- Demonstrates communications skills
- Demonstrates expertise, rather than just claiming expertise
- Gives hiring manager a product sample of you
- Focuses attention on work product, instead of longevity, industry, age, function, or other limiting factors
- Few of your competitors use one (outside of design/media fields) allowing you to stand out
- Demonstrates experience in new or non-work related skills for career changers
- Increases exposure and “findability” on Google
How To Build An Online Portfolio:
There are countless ways to build a portfolio. I’ll list a few basic ways to give readers a starting point and some ideas about how to build portfolios and what to include in them.
- What to include?
- Accounting/Finance: Include spreadsheets, dashboard reports, variance analysis, written reports, reports you’ve designed, presentations, PowerPoints, special projects, ROI proposals, cost saving proposals. Black out words selectively if current employer privacy is a concern.
- IT: Programs, applications, code, flow charts, diagrams. Make sure to leave enough information to not violate propriety concerns of current employer.
- Engineering:Plans, designs, pictures of completed projects, reports, proposals, marketing brochures, specs. Again, take care not to include proprietary details or trade secrets.
- Production: Production/inventory reports, dashboards, charts demonstrating cost savings, analysis, project proposals.
- Marketing: Graphics, marketing sheets, websites, advertisements, video, photos, online marketing, reports, project proposals, charts demonstrating sales/margin gains, design.
- Media/Design: Video, logos, artwork, photos, drawings, work samples, websites.
- What platform?
- Website: There are a number of good free options available, with templates website builders designed to make the process easy for non-web designers. Weebly (http://weebly.com) and Wix (http://wix.com) are two of the best free choices. There are a huge number of options for paid sites with the option of a customized URL – one of the most popular is GoDaddy (http://godaddy.com). A Website will allow you total customization, but may take a little more technical knowledge to build.
- Facebook: Set up a Facebook business page to post your portfolio. It’s free and easy to use, but has limitations on the layout an look/feel of how your portfolio will look.
- Linkedin: Linkedin now has the ability to integrate pictures, video, audio, Word docs, Excel files, PPT presentations, as well as web links into profiles make it a natural for portfolios.
- Blogs: Blogs can also be free (recommended http:/blogger.com or http://wordpress.com), straightforward to set up (a basic blog), and can easily integrate all types of content. Blogs have the ability to customize more flexible design, but you’ll need technical knowledge or a designer if you want to get fancy.
- Paper: Paper portfolios can be helpful to bring into an interview. You can print out the pages of your online portfolio, so you can discuss with your interviewer. Or, bring a laptop with a wireless connection and point them to your site (tip: bring paper as a backup, in case you can’t get a wireless signal).
- What else to include?
- Video resume or related videos
- Articles or mentions
- Facebook stream
- Linkedin profile
- Blog posts and comments
- Links to other profiles of you on the web
Whether you are an artist, accountant, lawyer, teacher, or librarian, online portfolios can help you show your employer why they should pick you, bringing the words on your resume to life. What projects or content could you use to highlight your candidacy using an online portfolio?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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