Job seekers know that in order to be considered for an open position, they need to have a résumé and cover letter ready to go. Unfortunately, that coveted position is only going to be given to one applicant, so what more can you do to set yourself apart from everyone else?
If you really want to stand out, you should consider building an online portfolio. Once only utilized by job seekers in more creative professions, these digital collections are becoming much more prevalent in all professions due to the increased level of online research conducted by hiring managers. An online presence is more important than ever, and building an online portfolio is easier than you may think.
Where to Build Your Portfolio
For the more technologically-savvy individuals, you may want to consider building your portfolio from scratch. While this is probably the most time consuming route, it gives you the freedom to create something more unique and personal.
Now, for the rest of us who aren’t using html as a second language, there are plenty of options when it comes to building your portfolio. Carbonmade is probably the most popular resource when making your digital collection and is a great option for job seekers who aren’t in creative professions, since it is not solely image-based. Not only are online portfolio sites extremely user-friendly, but many of them are also free to individuals, so there is really no excuse not to utilize them.
What Should You Include?
Your online portfolio should be based on your profession or career field. For job seekers, a great way to do this is by looking at job descriptions you’re interested in. For instance, let’s say you are a drug counselor looking to build positive relationships with patients. You should be looking at drug and alcohol recovery center openings to see what they are looking for in a candidate. Once you find out this information, it’s much easier to tailor your portfolio and begin the process of building.
While portfolios should be reflective of your career field, they should have the following items:
While this may seem pretty obvious, your name needs to stand out on your portfolio. You want a hiring manager to be able to identify you right away — pick a font larger than any of the others on the site. Also, if your portfolio is multiple pages, your name needs to be on every page and should be formatted the same way on each of the pages.
Again, the hiring manager should be able to easily find this information. Your phone number and e-mail address are sufficient, as this is how interested companies will be reaching you. Your contact information should be close to your name, and it should also appear on every page of your portfolio so viewers don’t have to search for it. Having a separate page for contact information may also be a good idea, since you can elaborate on information such as the best time of day to reach you and so on.
You should have a short excerpt of what your goals and objectives are as far as your career is concerned. This section is much more personalized than your résumé and will give hiring managers a closer look into your personality in order to find a candidate that is best suited for their environment.
Your résumé is the most important part of your online portfolio, so take the time to make it shine. You can easily transfer the information you already have on your résumé to a page or section of your portfolio, so it becomes visually-appealing and easy to read. Once you have this information on your online portfolio, it’s also a good idea to have a link to a Microsoft Word version of your résumé. This will allow hiring managers to easily download and save your résumé into their files.
This is a great place to take your skill set and apply it to the type of job/industry you will be applying to. Be sure to include skills that are relevant, as well as transferable skills you have picked up over the years. Also, if you have any special certifications and you didn’t mention them in the résumé section, you should add them here.
This section is really dependent on the field that you work in or the specific job you’re applying to. Highlight your career accomplishments in a way that is factual, so you don’t come across as self-righteous. You want a hiring manager to see that you are capable of meeting goals or expectations, instead of viewing you as self-centered.
This section is really only suited for individuals in more creative professions. Showcase your photography, designs and videos in a gallery that is easily viewable. If you have a lot of visual work, don’t include every single piece; select your best, and go from there.
Having links to your various social media accounts is a great way for a hiring manager to find out more about you. Again, this section is dependent on your career field, but it is a good idea to put it in your portfolio. In this day and age, if a company is interested in you, they’re going to search for you online. Clean up those social media accounts and link directly to them to make is easier on the recruiter.
Who Should Make an Online Portfolio?
Hands down, everyone should have an online portfolio. Because of the accessibility of the Internet, a company is going to do research on individuals they are interested in, so use a portfolio to make it easier for them to find out what they want to know.
Not only will it showcase you as a potential employee, but it will help you stand out from the hundreds and thousands of résumés they’ll be digging through. It will show you put an effort into your career, and with the numerous (free) options available, there is no excuse not to have one.