Can your application package benefit from the addition of an online portfolio? If your job search is currently founded on a strong resume, a cover letter, and not much else, then the answer is probably yes. These days, resumes are still vital, since they standardize candidates and make it fair and easy for employers to compare one applicant with the next. But if your goal is to stand out, your resume may only get you halfway there. A portfolio of your best accomplishments can give you the extra boost you need to in order to gain and keep a hiring manager’s attention. Here’s how.
An Online Work Portfolio: What is it?
A portfolio is a detailed, easily readable, and visually appealing summary of your proudest engineering projects. If you’re a graduating student, your portfolio will include your best class projects and efforts to which you contributed during your internships. You can also include any contests you entered, either by yourself or as a member of a team. If you’re a mid-career professional, your portfolio should include clear and accessible descriptions of your most successful projects on the job.
You can house your portfolio on any CD or in any file type as a document, slide show, or multimedia presentation. But since employers are unlikely to open attached files unless they specifically requested them, it’s a good idea to also post your portfolio online on your blog or your own hosted website. Make sure your portfolio can be reached through a simple address or link, and include the link in your cover letter, resume and other application materials.
Make sure your portfolio site is:
1.) Easy to navigate
2.) Loads quickly
3.) Contains no broken links
4.) Is not hosted or sponsored by your university
How Can an Online Portfolio Boost Your Career Prospects?
Resumes are necessary (most employers still require them), but their competitive value is limited, since they don’t offer much room for detail and employers are often skeptical of their veracity. So make sure your resume is polished to a shine (and truthful), but use your portfolio to provide supplemental detail and make a case for your overall competence.
Before you finalize your portfolio and include it in your application process, make sure you familiarize yourself with every detail of its content. During interviews, employers often ask about specific areas of experience, or ask if you’ve ever encountered certain types of problems and how you chose to overcome them. Be ready to reach into your portfolio and produce the project that best supports your response.
Feel free to include as much information in your portfolio as you choose. After your list of project descriptions, you may want to insert of section of supplemental material including awards, thank you notes you received for your work, recommendation and commendation letters, and even photographs of relevant plaques or trophies. Include any item that highlights your skills as long as it’s authentically presented and of consistent quality.
Bring a portable version of your portfolio if you’re called in for an interview, and be ready to provide detailed answers to any questions you may be asked. Contact the Little Rock, AR staffing experts at CSS for more information on creating a portfolio and presenting it to recruiters and employers.