How to Create a Killer Online Portfolio & Profile to Get the Job You Want
Written by Lee Anna Carillo
Many experts believe that portfolios are the new resumes when it comes to applying for jobs in technological fields. Having a portfolio can be just as valuable in the current job market, if not significantly more so than a traditional CV.
Why is this the case? A resume informs potential employers what you can do, but it doesn’t provide concrete evidence or support. However, a portfolio demonstrates your job skills and the tangible results of your efforts, such as products or projects you’ve developed.
Employers can use your portfolio to see first-hand applications of your professional abilities. If it boils down to choosing between a candidate with a resume and a candidate with a portfolio, the applicant with the latter will get the job more often than not.
Creating Your Online Professional Profile
Many STEM professionals choose to compile their work portfolios online. Putting your portfolio in the cloud makes it easy to store, update, and instantly send to whoever requests it. Digital portfolios are, essentially, a requisite if you want to stay competitive in the job market. Countless engineers create their own websites or blogs with a profile section to give the world a sense of their interests and expertise.
You can choose a variety of formats for your digital profile. Some professionals use an online business card or a virtual resume when applying for jobs, and others include only a portfolio with relevant work samples. Many engineers still prefer to upload their samples to platforms like LinkedIn or Upwork. A significant benefit of having an online profile is that you can adjust its format to suit your needs and the positions you’re applying for at any time.
Why You Need a Profile and a Portfolio
If you’re new to creating online profiles, it’s helpful to consider why you would need one. Think about the knowledge, abilities, and skills you wish to convey to potential employers and whoever else you want to show your work. Which work-related traits and educational accomplishments would you like to highlight? How do you plan to showcase your best work to leave a lasting impression in a potential employer’s mind?
Carefully consider your answers and then use them as a guide. They’ll help you determine whether you need a website, if you would be better off using a professional platform like LinkedIn, or if another solution would work best.
Your aim should be to appear as professional as possible. If you opt for a website, ensure your online profile is concise, easily navigable, to the point, and offers potential employers everything they should know about you in a professional capacity.
Content management platforms like WordPress and HTML templates are usually suitable for creating a slick, up-to-date UX-friendly product. If you need creative inspiration, check out portfolios and profiles of other STEM professionals you follow, especially those in your specific field. Take a look at how they structured their online profiles and design yours loosely based on their examples. However, remember not to create a result that’s too similar; you want to stand out from the crowd.
What to Include in Your Online Profile
Your online profile is a brief and information-packed summary of your skills and personality. It should include a few sentences about who you are in a professional capacity and what sets you apart from your peers.
Add a summary of your skills and relevant educational achievements, as well as a short career goal description that covers both your short- and long-term ambitions. Less is more, so omit long and flowery descriptions of your hobbies, interests, and life goals. Filler language is unnecessary and can rub employers the wrong way. Use bullet points or break your content into small bite-sized sections that draw the eye and get straight to the point.
This profile should focus entirely on your career expertise and why you would be perfect for a job you’re applying for.
What to Add to Your Portfolio
Your portfolio should contain all of your best work. Include links, code samples, and screenshots of your prized projects alongside brief descriptions of them. The descriptions should explain the skills you used to complete the task; Zend Framework, Oracle, and Ajax are a few examples.
If you’re still a student and don’t have any professional experience yet, you can add personal, class, and volunteer projects to your portfolio instead. Even having worked on free projects can give you an edge because prospective employers look for skills and abilities that pertain to the position advertised. Regardless of how you gained the experience, your descriptions should emphasize how you applied your skills to fulfill each of the projects on your list.
- Showcase projects that are relevant to the types of work you are searching for. If necessary, you can tweak your profile according to the job you’re applying to make it as relevant as possible.
- A portfolio cannot fill in for a professional resume. You should only use it to show employers samples of your work and not to detail other aspects of your past experience.
- Only include your best, most professional-looking projects. The goal is to wow employers with your work, after all!
- Lastly, only include recent work examples. This will show employers that you’re still active and hard at work in your industry.
Additional Tips for Smashing Your Application
Resumes and portfolios have one notable similarity: employers and recruiters don’t spend much time reviewing them. This pattern is why it’s so important to be concise. Avoid writing long-winded descriptions for each of your projects, and keep other aspects brief yet informative.
Once you’ve finished perfecting your portfolio, you’ll need to get potential employers to notice it. The best way to do this is to create an online presence through LinkedIn, social media, and relevant forums or blogs.
If you have a strong online presence, it could add extra credibility to your profile. Most employers will do in-depth research on job applicants, so be ready to impress them however you can!
Lee Anna Carillo is a resume and career expert at Resumoo.