When it comes to job searching, a professional-looking résumé, although important, isn’t enough to help you stand out from the crowd. Today your LinkedIn profile has taken its place as the go-to showcase for your skills and experience. That said, if you really want to catch the eye of a potential employer, there’s nothing better than having a digital portfolio.
A digital portfolio is basically a website that’s all about you—your skills, experiences, accomplishments, and more. But unlike your LinkedIn profile — which is more dynamic than the standard résumé, but still has its limits — a digital portfolio lets you showcase your creativity and really lets you give it your own personal flair.
Today, thanks to sites like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Wordpress, Yola, Moonfruit, and Google Sites, it’s a piece of cake to create your own website for free. Or, if you have a budget to work with, you can always hire a professional web designer to do it for you.
So what types of things do you put on a digital portfolio?
Homepage — The first thing you want to have is a killer landing page. You only have a few seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention online. So make sure your homepage is professional looking, creative, and gives potential employers a good snapshot of who you are. Make sure you have a professionally written elevator pitch/summary that effectively and concisely communicates 1) who you are, 2) your unique skills (emphasis on “unique”; no “multitasker who works well with others”), and 3) your particular career goals. You’ll also want to be sure to have a nice-looking, professional (emphasis on “professional”; no selfies here) headshot somewhere prevalent on your homepage. Also be sure to include an easy-to-find link to your LinkedIn profile, as well as a downloadable PDF of your résumé.
Next, make sure you have some simple, easy-to-navigate tabs on the top of the page:
About Me — This is where you have a little more room to talk about who you are and what type of job you’re looking for. This is your chance to really sell yourself, so don’t be stiff in your copy. Write in your unique voice and give the reader a taste of your personality. You may also want to include a couple more casual photos of you traveling, volunteering, or anything else that will help paint a picture of you as an active, curious, generous person.
Portfolio — This is where you’ll want to showcase your talents, whether it’s your photography, stories/articles you’ve written and had published, awards and recognitions you’ve received, academic papers you’ve written, etc. Just make sure whatever you put here is well organized and easy to view. And don’t worry about including everything you’ve ever done. Just be sure to showcase your very best. The idea here is to give potential employers a taste of what you can do, so that they want to learn more about you.
Contact Me — This should be a very basic page where you say something like, “Thank you for taking the time to view my portfolio. I’d love to speak with you and learn about how I may be of service to you.” Then make sure to include your email, phone number, and mailing address, as well as your Twitter handle and/or Instagram name, if you have them (and you should definitely have at least one).
So as you can see, it’s not hard at all to create a digital portfolio that can help get you noticed by employers and give you an edge on the competition. Just make sure it’s professional looking, creative, and error free.
Remember: You only get one chance to make a first impression. So make it count! ~