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If you think a personal website is only for designers, artists and creative types, think again. Anyone can have an online portfolio to showcase career highlights.
The Internet has become the go-to source to find whatever we are looking for. Searching for talent is no different. Conservatively, 51% of hiring professionals said they use the Internet to source and vet candidates, according to a 2015 study by CareerBuilder.
You have access to the same marketing strategies and tools businesses use–a website for starters. The concept of developing and promoting your personal brand started over a decade ago. You are already known for certain qualities and skills among those you’ve worked with. This is your personal brand. Why not promote that reputation of excellence? Now it is time to be more strategic in how you package and promote your reputation.
What will someone find if they search for your name online? That is what is known as your digital footprint. An online portfolio or personal website is one place online you can control the information someone will discover about you. Using your name as the web address of your website helps optimize how search engines find your name.
First and foremost, every page of your personal website should be well written and carefully edited. You should always write with the reader in mind. The purpose of the content is to WOW the reader or potential employer. You can do this by explaining the problems you can solve for them and why they would benefit from hiring you.
Job descriptions and responsibilities don’t convey how well you performed your job. So rather than list your job duties, write about specific achievements. Did you improve a process, delight a customer, find and fix a problem? Choose these types of stories to document your performance.
Supplement your story with visual proof. If you aren’t a graphic designer, you may think you don’t have any visual samples of your work. But you do. Ninety-four percent of websites with visuals convince readers to stay on the page longer according to research summarized by Buffer.
Every page of your personal website should have a relevant, eye-popping image. Here are some ideas to get you started. Remember, what good is your work if only your boss sees it? Put it online.
So what can you show? Focus on the most relevant skills a future employer would be looking for and use those skills to help you choose visuals that support your expertise. Maybe you streamlined a process, worked on a project, wrote reports, organized workflow or conveyed complex data in simpler terms. Here’s your chance to highlight those achievements.
You could create a before-and-after flow chart, recreate or share a mind map illustrating a brainstorming session, embed a presentation, include a white paper or case study you developed, show the finished product of a project you worked on or link to articles you’ve written.
If you are at a loss as to what you can show, review your job description or the job description for an ideal job and use some of the listed requirements to build your portfolio. For example, if the job description includes any of these phrases, you can do the following:
You can recreate or adapt a presentation you have given or use a photograph or video of yourself delivering the presentation.
Show your research outline or map the process you used to conduct a research project with a mind map. Or you could share a list of your favorite resources.
Include a testimonial from a happy customer, an excerpt from your manager’s review of your performance or even a photo of yourself receiving an award for customer service.
Share your project timeline, Gantt chart or diagram showing the flow of people, resources and activities.
Create a decision matrix that illustrates the logic used to solve a problem, an if-then flow chart outlining your thought process, or use a before-and-after photo or diagram to convey your success at solving problems.
If you are a recent graduate or career changer, you may not have a lot of relevant work experience to draw from. You can create a mock up or sample report, summary or flowchart to prove you have the skills. Or you could volunteer your services to deliver a project with a non-profit, family, friend or neighbor which you can use to document your experience.
For careerists with minimal time to invest in portfolio building, there are some quick solutions that require very few technical skills. Using your LinkedIn profile, tools such as branded.me, VisualCV.com and SlideShare’s Professional Journey will convert your information into a personal landing page.
The major take-away is that it is never too soon to begin collecting screen shots, testimonials and examples of your work. There are many tools available to screen-capture online content. Begin capturing your career highlights today.