A personal Web site with a portfolio provides a way to ensure that your name will pop up in an Internet search, manage your online presence, and put your best foot forward to employers. (Tip: For extra visibility, buy a domain name that includes your name “ example: MaryHHansen.com. It’s an inexpensive and important thing do.) Employers may find your portfolio on their own while searching the Web for candidates. Or you may refer an employer to your portfolio after cold-calling about vacancies or responding to an ad, thus giving the employer the opportunity to review the portfolio before or after interviewing you. Having a portfolio presence on the Web shows employers that you are technically savvy, open to new trends, and poised on the cutting edge.
Consider the story you’d like to convey with your site and portfolio. Try this exercise: Think of three major trends or themes that have spanned your career, ongoing patterns; for example, you’ve always been a people person. Convey this story consistently throughout your portfolio.
A portfolio published on the Web enables you to include links to all kinds of items that tell more about your story and support it with evidence of your accomplishments like writing samples, graphic-design samples, ad campaigns, photographs, PowerPoint presentations, reports, graphs, charts, lists of accomplishments and awards, executive summaries, case studies, testimonials, project deliverables, and even multimedia items such as video and sound clips that employers can access 24/7.
Be sure your Web site and portfolio look professional and avoid un-businesslike content. There’s a fine line between opening enough of a window into your personality to intrigue a prospective employer and turning a visitor off with inappropriate family photos or off-color humor. Still, you’ll often find some elements in a Web portfolio that you wouldn’t find in a typical resume “ accessible language and, as mentioned, sometimes photos of the candidate, which facilitate a sort of virtual networking through which employers can get to know prospective employees better. The portfolio provides a great opportunity for the candidate and employer to build rapport before an interview even takes place.
See some portfolio samples that not only tell success stories but also but also illustrate the branding described in Chapter 8. Refer to See also that chapter for more exploration of building an online presence through telling your personal branding story.