What to Include in Your Online Portfolio

An online portfolio is a great tool to showcase your skills and abilities to potential employers. The purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate samples of the work you have done in the past as a way to provide “proof” of the talent you have and also an idea of what you can do in the future.  

When I applied to my first job out of college, I set up a simple online portfolio to send along with my cover letter and resume.  I included the link with my contact information and explained in the cover letter that if an employer wanted to see sample work, they could check out the webpage.  I truly believe this set me apart from other applicants and secured me the job at the time.  Now that there are so many sites offering quick and easy ways to establish an online portfolio, this practice is much more commonplace.  In fact, in some industries such as marketing, design, and communication, an online portfolio, is now expected.  

Now that you understand the benefit of an online portfolio, you may be wondering what to include.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Writing Samples

Newsletters, articles, blogs, reports, press kits, and website copy are a few examples of types of writing samples you could showcase in your portfolio.  If you’ve written blogs or articles for another site or online publication, you can link to them or include the original text in your portfolio.  If the piece was published elsewhere, be sure to include a caption with the title, date of publication, and any details you may have about the readership or circulation.  Don’t forget to include other authors if you co-wrote the piece.

Photos

Many people include a photo of themselves as a part of their online portfolio.  If you chose to do so, ensure that the picture is professional.  Stick to a simple headshot that shows you in the best light.  Photos can also be used to show the progression of something you were designing or perhaps to capture an event that you organized.

Designs

Perhaps you’ve created things like brochures, posters, ads, logos, stationary, or other collateral marketing material.  This is the place to highlight those creations.  Before publishing this content online, double check that the work is not considered confidential by an employer or client.

Videos

If you’ve gotten creative with iMovie or have been filmed to appear in a video yourself, both types of videos can be a part of your online portfolio.  Consider the quality and content of the video; however, as you again want to ensure that this content also shows you in the best light.

Presentations

We’ve all put together presentations, some more meaningful or eye-catching than others.  For those stand-out presentations (i.e. your thesis defense or big case study competition), you can upload the deck to a site like slideshare.com or link to the original deck on your portfolio.  

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When it comes to the number of pieces to include in your online portfolio, think quality over quantity.  There’s no magic number, but aim to show variety in the type of content and pieces.  For simple sites to get started, check out wix.com, squarespace.com, wordpress.com, or carbonmade.com.