Creatives Showing Off Skills With Online Portfolios

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 11:11

A resume is no longer enough – a stylish DIY website is the perfect way to stand out from the crowd and allows you to share examples of your work with potential employers. By Emma Williams 

When sifting through resumes, the point of difference used to be your hobbies: reading, or hiking, say. However, the online era has brought much change and some people are building whole websites to show off what they can do.

Gen George, founder of job-matching website OneShift, says to step outside the box when job-seeking. “There’s stiff competition out there and it’s important people use technology to their advantage,” George says.

An electronic portfolio, or e-portfolio, is a professional tool to show off digital work, skills, talents and training. It can include everything from blog posts, to curriculum vitae, qualifications or examples of projects you’ve managed.

E-portfolios are particularly useful for those in creative industries as examples of work can be easily shared with potential employers or clients.

“A lot of workers are online and are being sought out passively,” George says. “Ten years ago you’d submit a resume secretly and hope no one found out you were applying for another role. Now you can post online without that concern.”

Before putting material online, there are a few things that should be considered. Although most portfolio hosting sites will allow you to choose from a variety of themes, templates and formats, you should customise the design to your personality. An e-portfolio may be a client or employer’s first impression of you, so while it is important to present professionally, you also want to present with personality.

“You need to show more than just your work history,” George says. “Business culture is becoming more important. Employers are aware how important it is to get someone with the right attitude and who will fit into the workplace.”

Add a professional photo or video. “We’ve got examples of baristas using a GoPro [helmet camera] to show how they make a coffee, so the employer can see the quality of their work,” George says.

Include only your best work. George says to choose carefully to create a diverse portfolio to show your strongest work and avoid repetitive or similar samples; and regularly updated portfolios also look good. If you’re self- promoting as an innovator, it’s important to show recent work on new projects.

Link your e-portfolio to your social media, but choose the social media you link to carefully. Personal Facebook is probably a bad idea. LinkedIn and Twitter are better options to show what a social media whiz you are. Links to other content-sharing sites such as SoundCloud or YouTube can also be included.

Limit private information. The sort of personal detail you would routinely put on a paper resume can create risk when posting online. Do not include your age, address or financial information. This also applies to referees. If someone is interested in hiring you, they will contact you before ringing your referees.

This article appeared in the August 2014 edition of Management Today, AIM’s national monthly magazine.