Today’s job market is competitive. With millions of people searching for a job, it’s important to distinguish yourself from dozens of other applicants. One way to do this is to create an online portfolio. No matter which career field or industry you are pursuing, online portfolios are a great way to share and showcase your work to future employers. Since you have taken time to gain relevant experience in your chosen field, allow your online portfolio to be your marketing tool.
According to Levo League, an online community dedicated to helping young professionals succeed in the first phase of their career journey, four reasons why you need an online portfolio include: (1) having an online portfolio increases your visibility, (2) it adds value to your job application, (3) it is a great organizational method for your professional documents, and (4) it can also be used as a reflection tool to help you access your skill set and professional growth. In addition, the best thing about having an online portfolio is that it allows you to become easily accessible to hiring managers beyond the standard cover letter and resume.
However, just having an online portfolio is not enough. You need to create an outstanding portfolio that not only showcases your abilities, but also displays your professional personality. Some things to include in your portfolio include an “about me” page or a biography, samples of your best work, recommendations, references, testimonials, a “contact me” page, a resume, presentations, and even your thought process behind certain projects. Basically, you need to include anything that can display the professional quality of your work.
In order to do this, you need to think carefully about what to include and how to organize your online portfolio. Then, you need to make sure to link your online portfolio to your other professional websites and social media accounts so that you can broaden your audience base.
Websites that are best for creating professional portfolios are:
WordPress is probably the most commonly used platform to create an online portfolio. It is relatively simple and it is free. However, if you want to be able to personalize your own domain name, then its best to set aside a little bit of money every year so that you are able to host your own website without having “wordpress.com” in your domain name (Editor’s note: Most sites will charge you a flat fee each year, some monthly, to use your own domain name which you can purchase through sites such as NameCheap and GoDaddy). With WordPress, there are endless themes – both free and paid, design options, widgets, and plugins to choose from to make your portfolio stand out.
The Behance network is also a great place to host your online portfolio. As an added bonus, it is also a social network where you can follow and connect with other creative professionals and employers. Additionally, it allows clients to post jobs on the right on the site.
For beginners looking to make a fast and easy professional looking online portfolio, Wix is great to try out because they offer over 280 professional looking templates. You can also create your own custom design. However, the downside to Wix is that once you commit to a template, you cannot change templates. Other than that, Wix is very easy to use and it allows you to drag and drop images, slideshows, text, etc. wherever you want without any restrictions.
Specifically designed for writers, clippings.me allows writers and journalists to easily upload PDFs of their print writing samples and connect links to their online work. There is even space for a brief biography as well as links to your social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
While these are some great starting points to create an online free portfolio, it’s best if you research the types of websites that would be best for you to host the kinds of work and ideas that you would want to display. Be sure to highlight your best work and include an email address or phone number – no one can hire you if they can’t contact you!
Where do you host your online portfolio? Any venues or tips you prefer that aren’t listed here? Share with us in the comments below