The online web portfolio serves as a portal to showcase your skills, abilities, and accomplishments in visual form. The web portfolio is an essential tool in developing a personal brand. Creating an online portfolio is easy if you use the right tools. You don’t need to be a programmer or Flash guru to create a content-rich, promotion-driven online web portfolio. You can use DIY “Do It Yourself” sites such as PortfolioVillage.com to create a free online web portfolio website. The portfolio should be full of content that acts as “evidence” of your aptitude. The better and clearer the evidence is presented, the more appealing you are as a candidate.
Once you have a web portfolio started, here’s what you want to do to bulk it up with content:
1. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE your gold!
I teach career skills class on the undergraduate level at St. John’s University in New York City. I teach my students that their work samples from their school projects, internships, and volunteer activities are their gold. This means that these items are precious and should be kept on a separate hard drive or DVD in addition to being on your computer in a dedicated folder. Reflect and collect regularly. You should reflect on your professional activities and collect evidence of your involvement and success. These items could be any number of items. Check PortfolioVillage.com for a list of what to include in your online web portfolio.
2. Write case studies for everything you do.
Work is all about projects and problems. The case study in an online portfolio consists of a brief summary of how a problem was solved by the project and collaborators, which is you and maybe others, depending on the work. When you have written work, case studies help summarize the project without the viewer having to read the whole document. With graphical work, it puts the piece in context and provides an explanation of how the work was used to solve a problem. For example…If you created a flyer for an event, you could create a case study such as:
PROJECT: XYZ Event Promotion
PROBLEM: The XYZ Event needed to be publicized locally on a small budget.
SOLUTION: Flyers were designed using original photography and were printed in color.
The flyers were distributed to local businesses to promote attendance. The event drew over the expected attendance.
ROLE: I designed the flyer and planned the distribution. Photography was performed by a colleague.
Writing the case study not only helps the reader understand the value and context of the project but it also allows you to hone and practice a short blurb that you can recite when you are interviewed.
3. Get a return on investment - use your camera phone to grab content for the online portfolio.
We all have a camera on us nowadays. But what are we using it for? Take photos of work samples and at professional venues to chronicle your work life. This will enable you to extract important moments of success, accomplishment, and activity to use in your online web portfolio. Make sure you download the images into your portfolio folder on your computer and backup disk to have some insurance on your gold!
Now that you know how to build up your online portfolio, make it a habit to add content at least every three months so that the work is fresh and you are ready to promote yourself in the next big opportunity.
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