Five Steps to a Professional Online Portfolio

http://emista.com/sites/default/files/images/portfolio-icon.gifIn the past, a hard copy of your résumé may have been enough to get your dream position; now, employers want more.

With all of today’s advances in technology, students are able to not only provide a detailed résumé of their achievements, but also an online portfolio that can showcase some of their finest work. Online portfolios allow future employees to see your writing skills and view samples of your publications. Creating an online portfolio is very simple and can prove to be very beneficial in distinguishing you from other applicants.

I’ve listed five easy steps to begin your personalized online portfolio.

1. Choose a website
Before you get started, research free websites that allow you to showcase your work. Websites such as Weebly, WordPress or Wix offer free portfolios along with easy step-by-step instructions on how to set up an account.

2. Create a template
Once you’ve decided what website you will use, choose a template that will set the tone of your work. Choose colors, graphics, borders, photos and fonts that convey your message while remaining professional. Color palettes and photos used on your personal social media sites should not be included on a professional website. Likewise, “fun” fonts do not convey professionalism.

3. Refine portfolio materials
Choosing the material you want to include in your portfolio is the most important step. The best sites include a minimum of four or five top-notch work samples. You may have more samples to choose from, but only the best should be included in your portfolio. Write a summary for each item, making sure to address who the sample was written/created for, when, and what part(s) you completed. Don’t forget, after editing, to save your final copy as a PDF file so that anyone visiting your site will be able to read it. There is nothing more frustrating than clicking a link that doesn’t work.

4. Organize
The website that you choose will allow you to determine how the public views and navigates your website; therefore you must choose headings that are simple to read and easy to understand. Basically, make sure that it is easy to follow. Headers such as “Résumé,” “Profile,” “Writing Samples” and “Contact Information” are simple yet effective. The key is to keep it simple.

5. Personalize
This is the site that potential employers will see, possibly many times before meeting you, so your personality should shine through. Make your profile memorable.

Creating an online portfolio can be an excellent tool to showcase your hard work and communication abilities. Although it may seem a bit intimidating, following these simple steps will guide you to your personalized key to post-graduate success. For more information and examples, visit Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge’s Communication Across the Curriculum guide.

Cyone Batiste is a junior mass communication major at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, concentrating in public relations. She enjoys writing for PRSSA and the advantages she gets from meeting with public relations professionals and hearing their stories. She plans to work in sports and entertainment public relations upon graduation.

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