In this era driven by technology and social media, you will be left behind if you avoid solidifying your digital presence. In fact, the 2015 Annual CareerBuilder Social Media Recruitment Survey found that 35 percent of employers are less likely to interview applicants that they can’t find online!
Because the majority of employers now utilize online presence and social networks to screen candidates, the need to make a Digital First Impression is paramount. Why not give yourself the best chance to showcase your skills and talents?
I have been working with clients all over the world for the last 17 years assisting with personal branding. While the tools available to you have evolved, the premise is still the same: Brand yourself online… or get left behind.
The vast reach of the internet makes building your online portfolio a must to help boost your presence and get your name out there.
An online portfolio is a key component to defining and elaborating on all of your skills in an exciting and personal fashion. When building your online portfolio, it is important to truly illustrate who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what your goals for the future entail.
As an example, my own personal website, www.JenniferBonoff.com, represents a creative place for me to express my interests, passions, career highlights both past and present, along with my vision and future goals. JenniferBonoff.com will always be a work in progress as I evolve both personally and professionally.
Don’t forget to include the following key elements in your own online portfolio to highlight yourself and gain an edge in the job market:
Personal statement. Your online job portfolio should be uniquely about you. It is your chance to market who you are and brand yourself. Before diving into specifics, be sure to introduce yourself. Tell the viewer who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re passionate about.
Your resume. Make sure that your resume is up to date and relevant. Your virtual resume can also be more robust than a paper resume. It will provide the core information a supervisor, recruiter, or HR person is looking for along with additional sections that include supplemental, insightful information.
There is only so much information you can include about yourself in your paper resume, but a virtual resume removes those limitations. At first glance, you can maintain the appearance of a streamlined “just the facts” resume, but a wealth of additional information is only a click away. Background information, references, accomplishments, explanations, audios, videos, and anything else you want to share can all be a part of your virtual resume.
A list of your skills and best qualities. Though your resume may touch upon this, your own website gives you a chance to delve deeper into your abilities. Include specific examples of how you utilize your skills in your work and explain how you will carry them out in the future. You may also want to include any certifications or licenses that you have to highlight your competencies.
Internship Experience. Showcase your internship experience. Internships are often the springboard to a successful career. Tell what you have done and what you have gained from the experience. Feel free to add additional components such as letters of recommendation from internship supervisors along with visual examples of your work.
Job descriptions. Summarize your career path up to the present day. Where have you worked in the past and what did you gain from each position along the way?
Links to Social Media. Be sure to list the social media accounts you feel will best represent you professionally. Do you have LinkedIn? Do you blog? Add the elements that will highlight your competencies.
Letters of recommendation. When hiring someone, employers always like to hear from other reliable sources for a second opinion. In your online portfolio, add any letters of recommendation that you may have had from the past. Good words from others are taken seriously and are great reference points.
List of references. Continuing with references, don’t forget to include a list of at least 3 references with who each reference is, what your professional affiliation may be, and all relevant contact information.
Examples of the work you have done. Potential employers are interested in production and results. An online portfolio is a way to bring your work to life. Whether through reports, research or presentations, add anything that you feel will showcase examples of the quality of the work you do.
One of the most important things to remember throughout this entire process is to take your time, take a step back, and curate your best work and most important elements for your portfolio. In the end, the quality of your portfolio will separate you from other candidates competing right along with you.
Visit www.BuildYourDigitalBrand.com for free weekly information and tips that you can use to give yourself the best edge in the job market. This site also offers you the opportunity to create your online brand through an affordable & professional website. Take the first step towards bringing your skills to life online.
Jennifer K. Bonoff