How to Promote Yourself with an Online Portfolio

iMac desktop with artistic images of nature on the screen.

Having a positive online presence is more important than ever in our current virtual world. While every student should ensure their online presence is consistent with the brand they want to portray to employers, it can be beneficial for some students to take an extra step and create an online portfolio to showcase their work and skills. For students interested in fine arts, graphic design, photography, TV/video production, or performing arts, a portfolio is essential! 

What is an online portfolio?

An online portfolio is a way to showcase your professional work, as well as your skills and experience. Often an online portfolio looks like a web gallery, however it can also have the format of a blog or video channel. To determine the best format for your portfolio, think about the skills that you want to showcase to an employer. Are you looking to showcase your writing skills? Then a blog might be right for you. Alternatively, if you are interested in advertising, a web gallery is likely a better platform since you can include samples of an advertising campaign that you did for a class project.

Who should create an online portfolio?

Almost any student can benefit from an online portfolio, but they are essential for students interested in certain industries, especially creative industries. If you are interested in a career in graphic design, for example, employers will want to see examples of your design skills. Here are some of the industries for which an online portfolio is essential to showcase your skills:

  • Fine art
  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Advertising
  • Video editing or producing
  • Theatre
  • Social media

What should you include in an online portfolio?

The content in your online portfolio should reflect the skills you want to showcase to an employer, but there are some basics that every online portfolio should include:

  • An “About Me” section – think of this section like your elevator pitch. You can include details about your school, your major, your accomplishments, and career aspirations. If you are comfortable with sharing your photo, you can also include a headshot on this page. Some positions, like on-air anchors or acting positions, will require that you share a headshot.
  • Your resume – your portfolio showcases samples of your work, but an employer will likely also be interested in your work history and the information listed on your resume. Note: Since your website will be public, it’s a good idea to remove your home address and phone number from your resume.
  • Contact info – you can create a “Contact Me” form on your website and any outreach will be directed to your email.
  • Samples of your work – this can include:
    • Writing samples, such as articles or papers you’ve written, poetry, or short stories
    • Photography
    • Videos that showcase your editing, producing, videography, or acting skills
    • Social media content
    • Advertising campaigns
    • Songs
    • Artwork

How do you create an online portfolio?

With the right tools, creating a website is surprisingly easy! The most common portfolio tool is WordPress, where 36% of all websites are created. WordPress offers a free option that walks you through how to create a website, however there is a small fee if you want to create a personalized domain name. WordPress also offers blogs with tips, like How to Create an Online Design Portfolio. Wix is another free and easy tool to create a website. No coding experience is necessary for either of these websites, but if coding is a skillset you want to show off, consider building your website from scratch.

You now have the tools to create your very own online portfolio! If you need help brainstorming what you should include in your portfolio you can always schedule an appointment with a career coach.You can also check out examples of online portfolios for inspiration, including portfolios from an aspiring influencer marketing professional, a creative producer, and a public relations professional

—By Salome Miclette, Assistant Director, Career Education

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