A digital or online portfolio has several advantages. Creating duplicate physical portfolios is time intensive and can get expensive. Digital portfolios can be copied and customized very easily. They are also easily shared with prospective employers. An online portfolio is also easier to keep updated.
Another advantage of a digital portfolio is the multimedia capabilities — you can include video, audio files, photos, and document files.
One new, innovative way to create an online portfolio is to use Pinterest (www.pinterest.com). Because Pinterest is a visual medium, search out images to represent career milestones — for example, a photo of you in a cap and gown with your diploma, and then a close-up of your diploma. Or a photo of you receiving a sales award, and then a scan of the award certificate. Pinterest also allows you to pin videos, so you can include a video of you making a presentation, for example.
Do you work with recognizable client companies? Assemble their logos in a collage labeled “Key Clients” or “Strategic Account Management.”
You can also create a PowerPoint presentation and save it as a PDF file that you can bring up on an iPad or other tablet device in a job interview. Here’s a PowerPoint presentation example:
Microsoft offers numerous free PowerPoint templates:
First, assemble any and all materials you are considering including in your portfolio. Start a file of all of the documents that you may possibly want to include.
• If you don’t already have them, contact previous supervisors and request letters of recommendation.
• Call your college or university and request a copy of your transcript. Or check the school’s website — some allow you to order transcripts online. If you have to, pay for a certified copy of your transcript rather than logging into an online account and simply printing out a list of classes.
Next, review your materials to prioritize what to include.
Create a logical order and structure for your portfolio. This can be reverse chronological or by section. Start with your most recent accomplishment and work backwards.
Your portfolio should be from 10-25 (physical) pages in length. This same information may show up online differently (scaled down in size, or truncated with a “read more” to the full document). Consider creating sections to make it easy to navigate.
A professional image for your portfolio is important with a caption: “Professional Portfolio of [your name]” or something similar. This is easily done on Fiverr.com (www.fiverr.com). For $5, you can have a flat image designed. Search for an ebook cover designer. This one was designed by a designer named Vikiana (www.fiverr.com/vikiana). Send along a high resolution photo of yourself.
Take the time to “polish” the materials. For example, type a key phrase or phrase from a performance evaluation on a single sheet, listing the name of the supervisor who wrote it and the date of the review. This makes your portfolio more “scannable.”
Design your pages. Don’t just include a photo — to be sure to put a description of what’s going on in the photo, who is in the photo (identify the scene/setting/participants), and your role. Use captions to explain/highlight the specific skills or experience you are emphasizing (if the item is not self-explanatory).
Proofread and edit carefully. Review all the materials for typos, spelling, grammar, and formatting issues. Have a friend or family member proofread it too.
For maximum results, personalize the portfolio:
A page should include some or all of the following information:
• Full contact information — your name, address, cell phone, email
• Your LinkedIn URL
• Job title and company name for the position being sought
• Your photo (either a professional photo or a photo of you at work)
A few more tips:
• Choose only the best examples of your work to include.
• Carefully cultivate items to include that provide concrete evidence of your skills.
• When in doubt, leave it out. If you are not sure if you should include a particular item, don’t put it in your portfolio.
Once you have your online portfolio created, you can link it to your LinkedIn profile, add a link to it in your resume, and use it in your signature line when sending emails to your network, recruiters and potential employers. Set yourself above your competition with your digital portfolio!