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Crafting an Online Portfolio

An online portfolio is an excellent way to showcase your work and stand out in the crowded job market. A portfolio isn’t just for design or art students—almost any major can benefit.

An online portfolio should include anything that would be of interest to a potential employer and would help demonstrate your abilities and experience—important school projects, business competitions you participated in, newspaper clips you wrote or were written about you, awards, recommendations, school papers and design work. Be creative when crafting your portfolio. And don’t forget your resume!

Your portfolio should have a clean design and be easy to navigate. Don’t include SO much information that people get lost browsing through it. Showcase your best work first. It’s your portfolio, so you can choose which pieces to highlight and which ones not to include.  Tell stories about your work to put them in context for your viewers.

You also need an effective “About Me” page that answers the questions:

* Who are you?
* What is your major?
* What is the purpose of your portfolio? Are you freelancing, job searching, full-time student, soon to be graduated?
* What can you offer employers?
* Where else do you hang out online? Link to other online profiles.
* What are some of your hobbies?
* Where do you live? At least include your state, and city if you feel comfortable.
* What is the best way to contact you? Phone? Email? A social network profile?

Resources

Here are a few portfolio building sites:

* DeviantArt: A huge online art community.
Shown’d: Free portfolio site that offers customizable layouts and allows you to import photos from your Flickr account.
Corflot: Coroflot does not allow for portfolio layout or style options, but it is free with no restrictions on upload amounts.
Carbonmade: Supports images, flash and video. The free version gives you 5 projects and 35 images. For $12.00 per month, the premium account allows for 50 projects, 500 high-res images and 10 videos.
Krop: The free version of Krop allows up to 10 images. The premium version costs $9.99 a month and opens up all features.
Flickr: Free photo sharing site. Great for photographers, illustrators or designers.
* WordPress:  This popular blogging software provides an ideal platform for a journalism or English portfolio. WordPress comes in two forms: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com hosts your blog/portfolio for free, and allows you to quickly and easily choose a theme and begin creating content. There isn’t as much flexibility as WordPress.org, but it is a great place for beginner bloggers. WordPress.org, on the other hand, provides software to create your blog/portfolio, but doesn’t HOST it for you—meaning you have to pay a hosting service for a domain name. WordPress.org offers much more flexibility, but requires more technical knowledge than WordPress.com.

Author:

Cassie is a May 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison Ag Journalism graduate. She recently unfolded her passion for public relations during her short stint as a PR consultant for a Madison, Wis. area non-profit and is looking to dive into the field professionally. Find Cassie on TwitterBrazenCareerist, and LinkedIn.

Related posts:

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  2. Personal Branding Basics: It’s All About Managing Your Online Reputation
  3. What Everybody Ought to Know About Online Applications

5 Responses to “Crafting an Online Portfolio”

  1. As someone who has interviewed potential interns and job seekers, I would add be especially careful using WordPress as a portfolio. The format seems to encourage people to load up their sites with work. I work in advertising and creative directors encourage people to limit themselves to 10-12 samples of their best and I think that translates well to other fields. Also, I think investing in your own domain and site to post your work is the best investment. The site adds to your personal brand. When people visit, they are seeking more information about you. Posting on community sites like deviantART and Flickr invites potential employers to view the work of others on those sites and those individuals are benefiting from your efforts. It’s like a private seller trying to sell his/her car on a dealership lot.

    • Thanks for your insights Clifton. I haven’t used all these tools, but I see your point about displaying your work on sites beside by other individuals. Perhaps these would work better as supplements to crafting your own personal site.

      I think students should heed your advice about limiting the amount of samples they include, however, I’m still a bit confused as to why you don’t think WordPress is an acceptable platform? I have seen many great sites, blogs and portfolios created using WordPress.

  2. This past year, I’ve reviewed numerous portfolios to help staff up my own department. I’ve also reviewed portfolios when people have contacted me through my blog. I’ve criticized all of the WordPress users of having far too much content.

    By no means am I saying that WordPress is a bad format, but if any format allows you to create a site with a lot of filler, be careful not to be enticed to actually fill it up. It goes against your important points to “have a clean design” and “be easy to navigate.” The WordPress users I’ve encountered filled their portfolios with blogs and other content and the work was easily lost. I’d suggest creating links to the additional content.

    Applicants should remember that desision-makers review a lot of submissions daily. Make it easy for us to find exactly what we want first. If we like what we see, we’ll always look for more information about you.

  3. I highly recommend Carbonmade. It is really easy to use and has great features that really highlight your work!

  4. avatar Mariah says:

    Great article!!! Thanks for the advice, I’m always looking for new ways to keeping my portfolio relevant.

    Mariah
    Twitter: @MariahHaberman

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