Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Online Portfolios

I'm looking for experts in assembling an online portfolio. Old-fashioned paper resumes are falling out of favor as we move to online portfolios. What should you include in yours? What platform do you use to assemble it? Does the platform you use depend on what you do for a living? I'm looking for experts on this to give readers pointers on how to present themselves online, depending on their profession (e.g., a financial analyst vs. a professional photographer).

1. The old-fashioned paper resume—the one where you take pains to fit everything onto one page and struggle to summarize your career in bullet points—is increasingly unimportant. The new resume is your online portfolio, or what appears when someone Googles your name. In both the broadest and most immediate sense, Google is your online portfolio.

2. Indeed, few people take the time to really review a resume anymore. Instead, we Google you, we browse your LinkedIn profile, we scan your tweets, we read your blog, we search your Facebook profile for beer-bong pics.

3. While part of this portfolio is outside your control—that article you wrote for your college paper, a critical blog post from a competitor—others are eminently manageable. LinkedIn, which is Facebook for professional networking, ought to be your starting part. If you just have time for one platform, make LinkedIn your best friend. As any HR pro will confirm, LinkedIn is both easy and effective, especially when it comes to professional services.

4. After LinkedIn, identify the top social network for your industry, and begin to build your brand here. If you’re a photographer, publish your photos on Flickr. If you’re a videographer, look no further than Vimeo. If you’re a website designer, Behance is your bag. If you’re a speaker, showcase your presentations on SlideShare. If you’re an arts and craft type, establish yourself on Etsy. If you’re a writer, begin a blog. (A bonus: most of these platforms have plug-ins, so, for example, you can embed your SlideShare portfolio directly into your LinkedIn profile, as I’ve done.)

5. If you have the time and resources, create a website that aggregates your work. Use this site as a hub to show off your portfolio, link to your social networks, and demonstrate your personality.

6. As for what to include in your portfolio, the good news is that the space constraints of paper don’t apply. The bad news: attention constraints are even worse. For this reason, exercise the best practices of Web writing: use short sentences, bullet points, and headings.

Equally important: focus on your accomplishments rather than responsibilities. Don’t say, “Wrote press releases.” Say, “Wrote press releases that frequently resulted in coverage in top-tier publications (see here, here, and here).”