by Diana La Femina, Head Editor, INALJ South Carolina
What to Include in Your Online Portfolio
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been true to my word. Due to some interesting developments in my professional life it hasn’t been easy, but I’ve successfully gotten my online portfolio in order. I’ll be constantly updating it, of course, but at least I now feel comfortable making it public. Now that this is out in the open I’m aiming to be more involved in social media and truly make use of my online presence.
I used WordPress for my portfolio, but you can use whatever platform you wish. The free version of WordPress doesn’t give you much choice over formatting details (less than they used to, in fact), but it was all I needed for my purposes. I put a lot of thought into the contents, and below I’ll explain to you what I’ve included and why I’ve included it (as well as any tips I’ve garnered). I did a lot of reading to prepare, figuring out how I wanted to present myself to others. An online portfolio is a reflection of your professional self, and one you have complete control over. As such, it’s a great opportunity to put your best foot forward and get yourself out there.
This is where I put narrative information about myself. I started with my elevator pitch and then went on to fill it out, explaining how I got from Point A to Point G. I tried to keep it brief, explaining how I went from one (relevant) experience to another rather than explaining those experiences themselves. I also used this as an opportunity to let my strange unique personality show.
By contrast, take a look at my LinkedIn page, where I used my shorter elevator-pitch About Me. You can see that the base is the same (this is who I am, this is where I’m aiming to get) but I explain the journey in my portfolio.
I call this my resume section, but it’s more of my C.V. It’s far more comprehensive than my resume (which is linked at the top in PDF form) because I’m not constrained by one or two pages. I also figure that someone who is reading this section on my portfolio wants to read my resume, and won’t just take 15 seconds to scan my suitability to a position. I also have a link to my visual resume, which is a lot of fun to create.
Guess what? I’ve written things that have been published! Published online, but published nonetheless. I’ve linked to all of them on this page: the reviews I do for the Rare Books Newsletter through CILIP, my INALJ blog posts (linking directly back to the original post on INALJ), and a link to a blog I’m going to resurrect.
What good is an online portfolio is people can’t get in touch with you? Here I list my email address and have links to my LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Pinterest, and ALA Connect. Multiple ways for people to find and follow me, and hopefully see my the online activity I’m consciously participating in.
Here I’m linking any pages I feel are relevant, such as ALA and INALJ. Try to make these links professional, but also use this to show off your interests and personality. A member of a roundtable on ALA? Put it here. Volunteer someplace? Link to it here. You’re showing off YOUR interests and YOUR involvement, so it’s whatever you choose.
I intend to use this section for facts and such that I want to include in my professional image but don’t fit anywhere else. For instance, I ran a half-marathon in 2012 and I love to travel. Anything I can think of that doesn’t belong elsewhere will go here. This is definitely a section that could get TMI very quickly, so I’m going to try to keep it sparse and just use it to show my outside interests and hobbies. By all means, don’t include this section on your portfolio.
Don’t feel like you have to be tied to just these sections. Include an area for your course projects, to link to the webpage you maintain or created, whatever you like. This is your image you’re curating, so the final say is up to you. (Just don’t lie, because people will find out.) One thing I would suggest, though, is to keep it clean (as in “not cluttered”, though you should also keep it safe for work). There are a lot of widgets you can include on WordPress pages, as well as other platforms. You want the focus to be drawn to the content of the pages, which is what’s showcasing you.
That’s it. Link to your portfolios below!