Avoiding Unemployment: Establish an online portfolio.

Time for another installment of “Avoiding Unemployment,” and today we’re talking about establishing an online portfolio.

I won’t lie — it’s going to take a while. It will take you more than one afternoon. It’s never really going to be “finished.” But, when you start to look for your next job or internship, you’ll be thankful that you put in the time.

Here are my best tips for establishing yourself online and showcasing your best work:

  1. Decide what you want out of your online portfolio. As a writer, I knew I wanted to regularly blog and therefore find a website that would allow me to blog, as well as showcase my work. However, you can easily build an online portfolio without blogging. (Trying to decide whether you want to blog or not blog? Here’s a piece I wrote last year about branding yourself through blogging, which features a lot of great student blogs.) Just remember, blogging is a bigger, ongoing commitment, so if you decide to go that route, make a commitment to do it often.
  2. Find the platform. I’m not an HTML-wizard by any means, but luckily, there are many websites you can utilize without any coding knowledge. If you choose to blog, try out WordPress, Blogger, or Posterous. (My site is hosted on WordPress, and I highly recommend it. It has clean, professional templates to choose from and great widgets, like the Twitter feed bar I have on the side of mine.) If you choose to go solely for an online portfolio, try Weebly, Google Sites, or even your school’s career center. At the University of Delaware, they offered us a simple online portfolio for students to use. (Here’s a great sample from recent graduate Brittany Berger.)

    If you decide to use WordPress, here’s a great resource about using the platform for an online portfolio.

     

  3. Choose what to showcase. Be selective, but include enough to adequately showcase your skills. Even if you haven’t had an internship (or job), use work from classes or volunteering. Don’t be afraid to do some freelance work as well; even if you’re only using it for your portfolio, it’ll be well-worth the experience. 
  4. Upload your documents. Forget scanning in documents and hosting them as PDFs — websites like Scribd allow you to upload documents directly from your computer and then share them anywhere. You can even embed your document directly onto your portfolio to increase the chances that it’s noticed rather than inserting another link. 
  5. Share your portfolio. To gain exposure for your work, be sure to include a link to your portfolio in all of your online spaces. Add it to your email signature, LinkedIn profile, Twitter bio, and Facebook info. Consider printing your web address on your business cards, and always include it on your resume.
Do you have an online portfolio? How did you host it? What was the most challenging part of putting it together? Comment below and let me know!
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About Abby Ecker

PR pro and healthy living blogger in the First State
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4 Responses to Avoiding Unemployment: Establish an online portfolio.

  1. All great advice! I’d add one more caveat: buy a domain name (e.g. “firstnamelastname.com”), just like you did, Abby. It’s a much better personal branding statement than “name.host.com”.

    I created my portfolio using Weebly, and I was very happy with it. I also have a separate blog powered by WordPress and registered by a separate domain/host.

    The most challenging part? Driving traffic to your portfolio or blog. Even with links everywhere – LinkedIn, Twitter, on a résumé, etc. – it is still challenging to get noticed and click-throughs. Thoughts?

  2. Amanda Smith says:

    This was really helpful!

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