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How Do I Create an Online Portfolio for my Next Interview?

If you have work samples scattered all over, it is time to put them all together into an online portfolio to secure your chance at an interview.

If you have work samples scattered all over, it is time to put them all together into an online portfolio to secure your chance at an interview.

A portfolio holds samples of your past work, which can range from reports and proposals to writing and design projects. These can be submitted as part of your resume. They may also be requested at the interview phase. In the past, a typical face-to-face interview would see a candidate carry into the room a physical file of such documents. Today, the advent of the internet has given candidates a useful platform to design and organise their portfolio — like online resumes — with a kind of flexibility like never before.

Why is a digital portfolio important?

Digital portfolios provide recruiters with easy accessibility to candidates’ works during the screening process before and after the interview. A click on a link within a resume directs the recruiter to a webpage with the samples.

The interview stage itself can also be made more productive with digital portfolios, especially in today’s era of virtuality. Imagine jumping on a video interview with all your hard copy samples ready, only to realise that you cannot show your interviewer your work at all. An online portfolio allows hirers to instantly view samples on their end during the video interview. Even better, you get to share your screen via the telecommuting software and present your portfolio to the hirer as you speak about your work experience.

How do I create an online portfolio?

Creating an online portfolio is easy and, for the most part, free. Here is a quick guide!

1. Collate the strongest work samples

First, decide on the samples that effectively illustrate your capabilities. Recruiters want to see your best and not have to scroll a lengthy portfolio to find something that piques their interest. Think about the following:

  1. What are your core skills necessary for your career?
    • This will help you organise your portfolio into easy-to-digest sections.
  2. How old are these samples?
    • A general rule of thumb is to choose samples that are no more than five years old.
  3. Do you have permission to publish these online?
    • Check in with your past employers if there are non-disclosure agreements on the work you have done.

2. Choose a free website builder

The easiest way to set up an online portfolio is through a free website builder. They offer a selection of features enough to establish a solid online portfolio. Some include:

  1. WordPress
  2. Weebly
  3. Wix

3. Design your website

Pick a design that offers the best user experience and represents your professional self. There are plenty of templates available on these website builders, so making your pick is easy.

When planning your design, you should consider the following elements:

  1. A landing page with a summary of your professional story.
  2. Subpages organised according to your skills and other relevant experience (i.e. videography, writing, client proposals etc.)
  3. Contact information, such as your email address and access to your LinkedIn profile.

4. Organise your samples

There are two ways to organise your samples across your subpages:

  1. Industry-specific: If you have worked in multiple sectors, organising your samples across those will give a good snapshot of your cross-industry experience.
  2. Chronological: Especially useful for those starting out, the chronological order, with the most recent at the top, will allow your hirer to see your professional progress.

5. Add information about your samples

When you create a portfolio, you not only want it to impress your recruiters but also let it speak for itself. This means you need to add information about your samples. However, provide just enough to spark an interest in the hirers so that they can contact you to speak further. Again, take note of how much you can reveal based on the permissions granted to you by your past employers.

6. Create hidden tabs for employer-specific portfolios

Just like a resume, you want to provide a tailored portfolio for the role you are applying for so you can better convince the employer on your capabilities. While keeping your general portfolio intact, you can create a separate page featuring relevant samples narrowed down from your existing pool, and adding in more details and captions personalised to the job itself. This page can be hidden from your website’s menu and only accessible when a link is provided. Of course, your general portfolio can be accessed from that link too — there is no harm in letting your recruiter explore more of your works!

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