While job seekers will always need a good résumé and cover letter, increasing numbers of job applicants are creating digital portfolios to showcase their experience and skills. Digital portfolios allow you to collect the work and projects you’re most proud of, and showcase them in an easily accessible and visually compelling way that can make hiring managers take note.
Additionally, considering that a prospective employer is likely to Google you before making a hiring decision, a digital portfolio can make sure that they see relevant, work-appropriate information early in their search.
Here are five steps to consider when creating your digital portfolio, based on a framework by electronic portfolio expert Dr. Helen Barrett.
Start by considering what you’re trying to accomplish with your digital portfolio. What are you hoping the portfolio will help you do (e.g. get hired, get a promotion, get a raise, etc)? If you’re aiming to get hired, your portfolio would showcase your previous work and education experience, along with other samples and pieces of information that demonstrate your ability to meet the expectations of the position.
Once you’ve determined your purpose and guidelines for selection, begin assembling your digital materials. These could include your work and education history, writing samples, descriptions of past projects you’ve worked on, recommendation letters from your references and more. Collect everything in a folder on your computer, or bookmark it in your Internet browser if you plan to link to web pages or social networks.
Now that you’ve collected everything in one spot, take some time to compare what you’ve gathered with the initial objectives you set for yourself in the first phase.
For instance, if you’re applying for a job as a graphic designer, have you included photos and descriptions of past design work and testimonials from clients or supervisors who’ve worked with you? If you’re requesting a promotion, have you showcased projects or initiatives where you’ve stepped up and played a leadership role? Reflect on whether your materials collectively paint you in a good light, or if there are places where you need to add / replace portfolio elements.
Your digital portfolio can also address your long-term career vision. As cliché as this sounds, where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Including your goals and aspirations in your portfolio conveys to readers that you’re not just interested in a paycheck, but that you’re committed to staying and growing in your career field.
Hosting your portfolio on the web is one way of connecting with prospective employers, but also think of this last step in terms of connecting your online dots. Include your email address, along with any social network links that are work appropriate. Including your LinkedIn profile is always a good start, as is Twitter (as long as you’re tweeting about topics relevant to your career field and not sharing cat meme photos).
Need technical assistance on how to set up a digital portfolio? Consider this list of five platforms you can use to get started.
- Google Sites—see this tutorial for help getting started
- Weebly—a favorite for career portfolios because the free platform is easy to use
- Tumblr—it’s a blogging platform, but you can post all kinds of media in addition to text and photos, and it’s easy to customize
- Pathbrite, Dunked—portfolio platforms for creative professionals