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4 Reasons Why You Need an Online Portfolio

Career Advice |

If there is one aspect of online presence that job seekers should create and develop, it’s the online portfolio.

According to a recent Forbes article, 56 percent of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s online portfolio than any other personal branding tool. However, only 7 percent of job seekers have created an online portfolio.

Here are four reasons why every job seeker should have their own online portfolio:

1. Increased visibility

Your job search is all about marketing yourself, getting your name out there, and becoming known. The resume, cover letter, networking, and online portfolio are all tools that allow a job seeker to accomplish this task. In this competitive job market, every tool and potential advantage should be utilized.

It should be as easy as possible for hiring managers to find information about you, and creating a online portfolio increases your visibility and accessibility. Another benefit of having a strong online presence is that you can ensure the most current, professional, and accurate information about you is available online. Maybe the right question to ask is: why wouldn’t you create a portfolio?

2. Added value to job applications

An online portfolio can act as an extension of your other job application materials by allowing you to market yourself beyond your resume or cover letter. It provides a platform to put forth other materials that your resume and cover letter don’t feature in order to show evidence of skills and qualifications that you possess.

There is also greater freedom and flexibility allowed when creating a portfolio. You can include photos, video, and links to your work, recommendations, writing samples, presentation slides, and website designs.

3. Organization

It’s convenient to have all your professional documents and information organized in a single place. The next time someone asks for a copy of your latest resume, all the professional materials and information you may need will be accessible online and from any computer. It can also serve as a backup for these materials in case something happens to the originals.

4. Reflection

A portfolio can also be used as a tool to assess your own skills and professional growth. Having all these professional documents and activities gathered in one space allows you to see what you’ve accomplished, strengths, weaknesses, and identify what might need improvement. It can also serve as a confidence booster when needed.

As is the case with any part of an online presence, just creating a portfolio is not enough. It should be tweaked and updated as time goes on. The purpose of creating the online portfolio is so others could see it. Promoting your website is therefore equally important. Make sure to include a link to your portfolio on resumes, cover letters, business cards, social media profiles, e-mail signature, article biographies, and presentations.

Alexandra Janvey, the author of this post, is a librarian and avid writer. You can find her on Twitter at @Alliebrwneyez.

 

Ask Levo Mentor Chelsea Burcz, freelance writer, how she keeps her work visible online!

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29 Comments

Great article and touches on extremely important points. People shouldn't be "scared" of building a website these days. There's lots of awesome tools out there to help you get it done. I recently built my personal website (resume, portfolio, blog) at https://twowayresume.com. Took me about half an hour to setup and was really affordable. I think around $40 for the year including a free domain name.

7mo

My favorite online portfolio creator is Portfolium. It's a great tool especially for college students to supplement their resumes. It's applicable to all kinds of careers, too! https://portfolium.com

1y

Love this article! Do you have any examples of strong portfolios for non visual professionals (e.g. not graphic designers)?

2y

I absolutely loved this article! It inspired me to start my own blog "Young Professional: Living the College Life" (http://kaylasok.wordpress.com/) I was wondering if you had a few favorite blogs that inspired you? I am trying to find some strong blog examples from women in the workplace.

3y

I love that this article positions online portfolios as a beneficial personal branding tool that all professionals can leverage, versus just a visual element of self-promotional marketing designed solely for creatives. There are a lot of different ways to utilize that space, from creating a longer, more detailed professional bio, including samples of work, testimonials & recommendations, or summaries of important projects or career highlights.

3y

I'm also curious what "Professional Documents" could be added to an online portfolio for those that aren't in the creative industries.

3y

It really can differ depending on your field but some ideas are writing samples, resume, any web design work, volunteering, recommendations, and anything other projects that show evidence of your skills or accomplishments.

3y

Hi all,
Not trying to spam here but I'm an instructor at startup skillcrush.com and we actually teach an HTML/CSS class and teach you to build your own portfolio in 3 weeks from scratch with no prior coding or tech experience. My experience in my career has been that not only do employers want to see a portfolio, but those who hand-code it themselves stand out from the rest. If you're interested in taking an online class to learn to build your own please check out our class. You can learn more here: http://skillcrush.com/classes/skillcrush-101-create-your-own-website/

Our students tend to be full timers who want to expand their skills after work and we provide 1:1 access to instructors to help you with your portfolios. It's not just videos and a forum you have to scramble through when you need help.

I got involved with the start-up and its awesome founder Adda once I realized that the whole Skillcrush brand was about teaching strong foundations and leaving the class with something you could use to further your career right away. So yeah, drank the koolaid, now selling it. :) Would be happy to answer any questions if you have em.

And thanks for the article. It's a helpful reminder to even seasoned portfolio builders that just having a portfolio isn't enough...you've got to keep updating it!

All the best, Dee.

3y

Carbonmade (http://carbonmade.com/) is a useful (and free!) platform for creating an online portfolio. You just upload images and organize them into projects – it's pretty straightforward and painless!

3y

Great point about not only creating an online portfolio, but also keeping it updated! I use WordPress and haven't had any problems. http://www.lesleysiu.com

3y

Keep the examples coming! Would love to see more examples of great online portfolios. It's something I'm in the process of doing- and would love to see what people include!

3y

Online portfolios seem like a great idea. Any suggestions on how to start one?

3y

Suggestions for where/how to create an online portfolio would be very helpful.
I'd especially love to see what other people have done for examples.

3y

My amazing new hire @helenalor knocked my socks off with her #OnlinePortfolio ... It make such an impact ladies!

3y

Maxie and Helena, thanks for directing us toward Vizify- I'm enjoying exploring the unique formatting and hope that it will provide an edge in the future!

3y

Max! You are so sweet! I encourage everyone to create a Vizify, especially if you are looking for a creative position. (Plus, it's easy because Vizify populates the information itself from your social media platforms - all you have to do is log-in and personalize!) Check mine out and create your own - https://www.vizify.com/helena-hounsel

3y

Wix.com is a great option for building sites and portfolios quickly and cheaply. Be sure to opt for one of their HTML5 models over anything Flash based though (making it accessible on mobile devices) and go ahead and take the plunge to purchase a real domain name.

3y
Margaret Godowns

I know a few people have asked this but could you provide me with a good example of an online portfolio as well as a few good host sites?

3y

Could you point me to a good example of an online portfolio or recommend any platforms? Thanks!

3y

my portfolio is located at www.alliejanvey.com. I used weebly to make mine but some other platforms are wordpress, google sites, and pbworks.com. These are all free and require no html knowledge.

3y

Fantastic article, and I agree that having an online portfolio is really important!

3y

Great article! Does anyone have recommendations for a free hosting site?

3y

I have created mine through Tumblr. Works really well and also can post achievements etc as they happen chronologically.

3y

I never realized how much an online portfolio can help in making an impression on prospective employers. Always great to learn new ways to help you stand out!

3y

Do you have any recommendations for a platform to use? I set up graphic design samples on Krop, but it's not ideal for mixed uses (writing, etc.). It seems like every platform has a specific use, but I have graphic design, writing samples, and media clips. Any thoughts?

3y

For writing I use Wordpress as is it an easy and amazing way to integrate your writing and and other samples. If you are a writer I would also recommend clippings.me for your writing samples and media clips. Tumblr can also be a great way to set up a portfolio and include your graphic design work.

3y

Wow. I had no idea that online portfolios were so effective, but this made it abundantly clear that I should make one! I think that a lot of people only focus on their cover letters and resumes, but an online portfolio seems like a key part of the modern job application. Thanks for the tips!

3y

Online portfolios are such a great thing to have! I created my own a few months ago and it's such a smart tool, for all of these reasons. Showcasing what you can't show on a resume really could help you.

3y

I always considered creating an online portfolio, however I never realized the large difference it could make. This seems like a great way to further differentiate yourself and offer employers more insight into your talents and personality. Thanks for the tips!

3y
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