What are Online Portfolios all About?

Whether you are an artist, a writer, a scientist, or even an events coordinator, you have the need to market yourself. As graduation quickly approaches, there will likely be one thing on your mind: finding a job. So what if you had the ability to not only find a potential employer, but the ability to direct them to a personalized site of your own creation containing an anthology of your best works, your resume, and a some basic information about yourself? Well friends, this is what an online portfolio is, and it could be the deciding factor between you and a candidate with equal qualifications.

An online portfolio serves many functions, here are a few:

  1. As I mentioned earlier, it can offer an array of work samples, your resume, etc. This allows an employer direct access to your best work and gives them a chance to get to you know you a little. Humanizing a name on a piece of paper is always a good thing!
  2. Going into job applications with a perfected portfolio communicates professionalism and passion for your given field.
  3. An online portfolio is more accessible than scanning and mailing your creations, or attaching them to an email.
  4. Online portfolios have endless potential for customization. So this means that you get to choose exactly how your site appears, and can design one that is tailored to the kind of work you want to show off.
  5. Online portfolios increase your visibility ten-fold. You can put the link on your LinkedIn, your business card, and even in your email signature. So anyone who is intrigued can check out your work, and even pass it along to colleagues.
  6. Online portfolios are ideal for digital works such as photographs, writing, graphic design, and more. You can’t beat the stunningly crisp quality a digital image lends itself to.

Now, how do you create one of these online portfolios? Well it’s simpler than you think. First, choose your site. WordPress, Wix, and Weebly are all good starters and they all offer a wide range of free options (with the potential for upgrades if you want to spend the cash). Each takes time to learn, but dedicating time to this will be worth it in the end. For help and tutorials visit JMU’s Lynda. Second, look over your work samples. Pick four or five of your best works that are relevant to the field you want to work in. If you feel you don’t have enough samples, then take the time to create some! Lastly, work on the aesthetics. Fields such as design or art leave room for a more creative look, whereas other fields like science or writing would be best presented in a cleaner, simpler style. Search for some inspiration if you get stuck, there are already a ton of portfolios out there, so don’t be afraid to mimic a style that you like.

To round this out, a few last words of advice: don’t provide links to your social media unless they are spotless, do present yourself in an honest and genuine way, and do put some information about yourself, but don’t make it overly personal; always be professional, and good luck!

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