You have some leads for a few jobs. Your résumé has been polished and is ready to go out. Your social media pages have been reviewed so the content on each is ready to be viewed or cannot be viewed at all.
For many job hunters, that’s it — they submit their job application, maybe send a follow-up e-mail, and think they’ve done all they can. If that’s the case, they forgot to ask one of the most important questions in today’s world: Has my online portfolio been updated recently?
Unfortunately, the answer many job hunters give to this question is, “No, I haven’t touched my online portfolio in weeks.” Worse, a number would probably respond, “I don’t have an online portfolio set up at all.”
If you’re one of the job hunters who would answer this question similarly, now is the time to begin looking into making or updating an online career portfolio. Electronic portfolios can be one of your greatest assets during a job hunt. Here’s why:
- Many people believe an online portfolio is strictly for people who are looking for careers in certain fields (i.e., writing, design, ect.). Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, once a company receives your application, it’s inevitable that, as they begin to decide who to bring in to interview, someone will go to Google and type in your name. A solid online portfolio makes a very good impression and gives you an online visibility and presence, especially when many of the other applicants didn’t even bother putting the time and energy into electronic portfolios of their own.
- Having a web portfolio prepared before you send a job application actually means that, rather than waiting for employers to Google your name, you can put the link to your online portfolio directly on your résumé. The fact that you took the time to prepare your online career portfolio will make a great impression on the people looking through applications. Plus, if you’re not a writer or designer, having an online career portfolio at all shows you can think outside of the box — a valuable skill in any job.
- An online career portfolio is an easy way to highlight and showcase your projects, especially anything new and relevant to your career goals. Again, this seems like something best utilized by writers or designers, since a web portfolio helps these people gather their projects into an easy location for viewing. But a web portfolio isn’t just about showing off your work; it’s also about establishing your personality, your interests, and your professional brand. This means your website could contain a résumé, a personal statement, a blog covering issues related to your field of interest, recommendations from past employers, and more. All of this will help you build a solid online portfolio for potential employers to see.
- A strong web portfolio shows you have good design and media skills — which, in today’s technology driven world, are strong skills to have in any field. Having a number of projects on your online career portfolio will highlight your media skills, even if you just make a short opinion video about an issue you feel strongly about for your blog.
- Most importantly, a solid online portfolio allows you to create a full picture of yourself; a résumé will always only be a tiny screenshot of your abilities and interests. Electronic portfolios allow you to expand on your résumé and actually demonstrate who you are and what your abilities are as a young professional, meaning recruiters and employers will see you’re more than a piece of paper.