by Alexandra Janvey, Head Editor, INALJ Iowa
Tips for Creating Your Online Portfolio
An online portfolio is a great branding tool that every job seeker should have. It is a great way for candidates to differentiate themselves, offer insight into their personalities and showcase their talents. Here are three tips for creating a great online portfolio.
The first thing you need to decide on when creating your portfolio is what platform to use. There is an abundance of options available and no single best choice. This is because much of what makes up a portfolio is based on preference and subjective experiences. It depends on which tool will best suit your needs and factors such as the type of materials that will go on the website. Many of the platforms today do not require the user to possess coding knowledge and are very user friendly. A few of the top platforms to choose from include WordPress, Weebly, Google sites, Pbworks, and Wix. I recommend browsing through the portfolios that those in your field have created. This is a great way to get an idea of what a portfolio should look like and to get ideas for your own website.
When it comes to the design of a website, simpler is often better. You want it to be easy to navigate a website. There is nothing more frustrating than getting lost or unable to find the information you’re seeking. You could have the best skills and most impressive work samples, but if people get frustrated with difficult navigation and leave before seeing anything, it’s a moot point. Planning the layout of your portfolio before beginning to build the site is very helpful. Draw a chart that includes title and content of each page with a pencil and paper. Having a preliminary outline of your website is a good starting point, will save time, and allow you to be more productive. Your design may change during the creation of your portfolio and that is fine. Some details are worked out better during the creation process.
Although including visual elements on your website is a great idea, don’t be afraid to leave white space on your site either. One of the benefits of having a portfolio is that you can add photos, videos, screenshots and other similar elements related to your work that aren’t appropriate for other materials such as a resume or cover letter. A website should be visually appealing and easy on the eyes. White space can actually help give a professional feel to a portfolio. The higher amount of visual elements there are, the more difficult it is to maintain that professional feel. Not everything has to go in a portfolio, but rather the most important and best examples of work. Include those materials that highlight and provide evidence of your specific skills.
Consider the kind of skills that are frequently sought after for the type of position you desire. A portfolio permits enormous flexibility in terms of the kind of information and materials that can be added. Some examples of things to include on a portfolio are an introductory personal statement, a detailed biography, a description of your professional values, philosophies, career highlights, recommendations, web design work, writing samples, resumes, professional activities, presentations, continuing education, and scholarships or awards. Make sure to check all links, proofread the text and look over your portfolio before inviting the world to view it.