Creating a personal website or online portfolio is a worthwhile project for many job candidates or professionals. Whether you include your site in a job application, use it to attract new clients, or just want to display your work, accomplishments, and personal information in one place, creating an online portfolio will benefit your career. Plus, crafting one is now relatively easy.
Follow these tips to best market yourself on your online portfolio.
1. Show, Don’t Tell
An online portfolio is meant to be a showcase for your work. Don’t take the shine away with superfluous descriptions or explanations of what you did. It’s better to show it. Rather than writing, “I have written over 50 published magazine articles,” include links to two or three of your best ones. Alongside the link, provide a brief, one- or two-sentence description to provide context for the recruiter or potential client visiting your page. Save the “telling” for your resume, cover letter, or interview, when it’s acceptable to condense your work experience into words. When those limitations are off, like they are on a personal website, use that space to show what you’ve done.
2. Link Your Best Work
Providing links to your published work is essential in building your online portfolio. If you’re a writer, link your articles or blog posts. If you’re a videographer or photographer, link a photo gallery or short film you made. If you’re an artist or illustrator, link to sites where your art is on display. This goes in hand with “show, don’t tell,” as it allows your site’s visitors to view your work easily. If you’re in a profession or seeking a job in which your work isn’t published anywhere or accessible via a link, you can still display your creativity and worth. If you’re an employee at a startup, link to a local news story that profiles the company. Consider including anything tangible that shows you can produce in your line of work.
3. Use Visuals
Your portfolio shouldn’t be just words and links. First, include at least one photo of yourself on the home page, ideally a professional head shot or you “at work”. If you’re a journalist, it could be a picture of you interviewing a subject. Next, keep your page from looking dull by using pictures that are affiliated with your work. These can be your photos, an image of the company logo, your worksite, a chart, or anything that pertains to what you do. Avoid clip art or unprofessional photos. Make sure each page of your site has at least one visual on it.
4. Aesthetic Consistency
Just as important as the content of your site is the consistency between fonts, font size, colors, and picture size. If one sentence or picture is centered while another is aligned left, it will look sloppy. Website-building platforms make it easy to ensure everything on your page is consistent.
Think of the aesthetic consistency of your site like grammar. If you submit a cover letter with a typo or two in it, that sticks out, and you might not be considered a legitimate candidate because of it. If a recruiter is viewing your website, an inconsistency between fonts will catch their eye. That could be detrimental to your chances: triple- or quadruple-check your site for inconsistencies, typos, etc. before you publish.
5. Limit Personal Details
Aside from your name, education, and where you’re based out of, keep personal details and stories away from your online portfolio. You should avoid anything that doesn’t pertain to your professional image — family members, hobbies, where you’ve traveled, and so on. If a recruiter wants to know what you do in your free time or more about your family, they’ll ask in an interview.
6. Be Accessible
It is crucial that, somewhere on your site, you include links to your public social media accounts, your email address, phone number, and any other way a recruiter or potential client can contact you. The goal is to come across as someone open to opportunities, so providing your contact information is essential.
It is becoming more common to have an online portfolio that showcases your work and professionalism. If you are considering creating one, consider using easy-to-use sites like Wix or Squarespace, that make the website-building process easier than ever. For many, having a website that markets your abilities is a useful asset and a fantastic addition to a job application.