Online portfolios are great. They allow you to be found faster in Google searches. They provide a one-stop-shop for employers to find out more about what you have to offer. They also show off your creative side. But when done incorrectly, online portfolios can really ruin your chances of landing a job interview!
The thing with online portfolios is that you have great reign over what you choose to include, upload, and write in your online portfolio. That being said, not all of it is going to be the right choice for your job search goals. So take a hint and reevaluate your online portfolio by avoiding these mistakes:
1. Thinking an online portfolio is only for creative industries. Wrong! While online portfolios are suited for visuals, such as the work of designers, artists, and writers, these portfolios are just as useful for other industries. Whether you’re showcasing your presentations and research, client testimonials, or case studies, listing relevant accomplishments of any type is a great way to showcase your abilities.
2. Confusing navigation. One of the most important rules of web design is to make sure your navigation is simple and user friendly. While most web hosts will make this easy for you, don’t try to overcomplicate the organization of your site in any way. A few tabs vertically (or horizontally) on your page is enough.
3. Treating all of your work samples equally. There’s no way every single work sample you have is the best of the best. Be selective about the work samples you include in your online portfolio. If you’re applying to jobs in a very specific industry, cater your work samples to reflect your knowledge and experience in this sector. However, if you’re applying to jobs in a variety of industries, select the best of a few work samples. You can always share more appropriate samples once you land the interview.
Don’t overload hiring managers with too much to look at — it’s likely they won’t look at it at all when given too many options.
4. Choosing an inappropriate or confusing domain name. While it is better to own your domain, if that’s not possible, it’s okay. Either way, make sure you’re choosing an appropriate name that reflects you and your brand. The obvious choice would be “yourname.com.”
5. Typos, grammatical errors, and missing cohesiveness. We’ve been hit over the head with this one many times before, but typos and errors still seem to creep into our job materials. As we all know, proofreading is key! We don’t want to see any errors in your online portfolio, so edit it often and have a friend edit it too. Likewise, make sure your online portfolio is cohesive. Each page should have the same, or a similar, layout. The font, colors, and general theme should be consistent. If you have links to other web pages, or even links to other parts of your online portfolio, check each link every time you make changes to your portfolio. If you feel you have a “final” version for public viewing, ask a friend to check each link.
6. Not having an online presence at all. You want to make it easy for hiring managers and recruiters to find your information. By not having a resume, contact information, work samples, or a variety of this mix accessible online, you’re making it harder for someone to hire you. In fact, you want to make sure your online footprint is accessible in industry-specific spaces too, such as professional organization forums and webinars, or even just by participating in LinkedIn. Don’t make hiring you difficult for employers!
Having an online portfolio can be a huge help during your job search. But if it’s not done right, it can cause you the job interview.
What are the worst mistakes you see in online portfolios? What’s your best advice for someone looking to create their first professional portfolio online?
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