If you’ve ever had an artistic or creative type for a friend or loved one, you have probably experienced the awe and wonder that is “the portfolio.” You know what we’re talking about. That mystical binder, website, blog or online launching pad that contains the best representation of their life’s work and expression.
For those of us pursuing lest artistic career paths, reviewing a portfolio can seem like a romantic endeavor. What most would be job-seekers overlook, however, is that a portfolio, especially in a web-based format, can be beneficial for those in all career paths. Intrigued? Follow along as we detail how to use an online portfolio to help find a job, regardless of chosen field.
Establishing and Strengthening your Reputation
Much like the way artists become “known” for their particular ability to tap out a beat on the drums with precision or execute graceful strokes of the paintbrush into happy little birds and mountains, individuals with more 9-5 type career aspirations can also develop a name for their particular skillsets. Using an online portfolio to showcase your skills and career experience can help increase your social footprint among peers.
While portfolios can take many names, blogs, websites, LinkedIn profiles and more can all serve as valuable sources of reputation building when monitored and built up in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. If you have a personal blog, devote a good deal of page space to the trickier issues in your field. Delve into the hurdles and strategies for overcoming the obstacles as a way of helping others who are facing similar scenarios.
Publishing longer articles on timely topics that related to your work is also an excellent way to gain positive professional attention. Articles can also serve double duty if you keep an eye out for print or larger online publications that are soliciting for content in your area of expertise. Be cautious before submitting articles in these arenas, however, as many have republication or previous publication guidelines and restrictions you should be aware of.
An Online Portfolio is a Living Document
Each of the above steps will start to impact your job prospects, increasing the likelihood that your advice is shared or that your columns (and name) are returned in any web searches on your topic of choice. Professionals in your given field will often affirmatively look for resources on topics or may have Google or other search alerts set up to help them keep up with the most recent developments.
Sharing links to your portfolio as a whole or the individual contributions within it on social media can also help keep people engaging with your ideas. As news breaks, laws, regulations or best practices change, stay on top of these movements in your industry by updating your “living” portfolio. This can help show progression and is also a valuable resource for yourself and others. Remember that you can always remove select old items as they become outdated, but don’t rush to throw out information simply because of age.
Showcase Personality and Soft Skills
In today’s competitive job market, it often isn’t enough to simply have the education and experience necessary to meet the qualifications in the job description. Employers are looking for the best possible candidate for their open listing. With the guidance of HR professionals and a greater degree of understanding about the value of “soft skills,” hiring managers like to get a sense of a candidate’s personality and ability to work within a team environment.
Maintaining an online portfolio can help hiring decision makers to assess your personality. Online portfolios are certainly expressions of your best work, but they are often far less formal than more traditional resumes or cover letters. That ability for self-expression makes online portfolio critical to both job seekers and those in need of talented, well-rounded employees.
With the dynamic function and innumerable benefits they may have, online portfolios are handy tools to keep in your job-seeking arsenal. Once you’ve established an online home for your professional career, be sure to maintain it, linking to the website or resource in your resumes, cover letters, and applications. Plus, you’ll have a handy-dandy link to share or pull up when your super creative pottery friend starts to show off their newest masterpiece.