How to make an online portfolio in time for a last-minute interview

How to make an online portfolio in time for a last-minute interview was originally published on College Recruiter.

Earning a last-minute interview is exciting, as it can mean that the hiring manager is eager to meet with you or wants to hire you for the position right away. Making it to the last-minute interview can also impress the employer with your professionalism, as you can show them that you can show up prepared, even with short notice.

While many of the tips interview preparation tips may seem like common sense, there is one that you should pay special attention to – creating an online portfolio. In fact, this is one of the smartest long-term career moves you can invest in.

What’s the difference between a portfolio and a resume, you may ask? Your resume summarizes information about you. Your portfolio expands on that information by including details and evidence of what you’ve said in your resumé. It actually goes even a bit beyond that to show the fully-rounded person you are.

The good thing is, creating an online portfolio is easy and, for the most part, free. So, here are the most important steps for creating a portfolio in time for that last-minute interview.

Step #1: Choose a platform

Finding the right platform for your portfolio will depend on the industry you’re in and what kind of work you want to showcase. Now, depending on what you need to display, you may find some platforms easier to use. That can be in terms of video and photo showcase capabilities, or the amount of storage space you’re given.

Most websites offer at least the basics for you to choose from, so you can’t really go wrong with
any of them, but just see what works best for the work you want to display.

Here are some of the best online portfolio sites you can use:

WordPress is open-source software, and it’s 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress. You don’t need to be an expert with code to build a stunning WordPress portfolio. You can add free, paid, and custom WordPress plugins/apps to your website and customize your design as needed.

Vsble is a free website builder made for visual artists of all stripes. It’s incredibly easy to use, and probably one of the reasons for the prevalence of personal sites and online portfolios. It features a simple drag and drop design and comes with an array of ready-made, beautiful templates, and eye-catching layouts. It’s perfect for building and managing portfolios of different types. All controls are accessible from a single dashboard, and the design is incredibly responsive, allowing for instant site-wide adjustments.

Dunked is devoted to creative professionals who would like to showcase their portfolio, so it is optimal for designers, photographers, illustrators, and artists in general. Simple editing tools will enable you to change the layout, typography, and colors of the portfolio whenever you wish.

WebWave is amongst the appealing and easy-to-use website builders that offer pre-made templates or give you the freedom to start from scratch. Even if you choose a template, it is fully customizable – you can alter it according to your needs. Best of both worlds! And my favorite thing is, they offer a 30-day trial period – so, if you decide it’s not for you, you will get a refund.

Dribbble is great if you want to easily create an account and start sharing small screenshots of your designing process, design drafts, interactive prototypes, app design concepts, and more design. It is also good to improve design skills, share and communicate design ideas.

Step #2: Decide what to include

Use your strongest work samples – they can include reports, articles, publications, photos of art projects, artwork, videos, documents, etc. 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. This is your chance to show that you’re more than what is on your resume, so definitely be sure to make the most of it. Really delve into your work and decide what the top pieces are and what do you want to display.

Sometimes your career field has you involved with different projects and assignments and it can be hard to find space or a way to articulate exactly what you’ve worked on in a few short bullet points. Especially at the beginning of your career. This why an online portfolio can be your opportunity to include actual evidence of your work, even if it delves into different skills, so future employers already have a sense of what you can do.

Step #3: Carefully organize your samples

You should know there are two ways to organize your samples:

  1. Industry-specific
  2. Chronological

For those starting out, the chronological order, with the most recent at the top, is the most logical way and it will allow your potential hirer to see your professional progress.

Very important: You shouldn’t make a mistake by not adding information about your samples. Contrary to popular belief, people want to know more about your projects.

You should include who hired you, the main problem (the reason they hired you), the solution (how you solved the problem), and key results. You should provide just enough information to spark an interest in the hirers so that they can contact you to speak further. And yes, this can also fit into two or three sentences.

Step #4: Pay attention to contact details and social media links

The former is of course so that potential clients can contact you. The latter is to provide a consumer survey of your work so that a potential employer can tell who enjoys your work, and what about it they enjoy. This is, of course, if you don’t use social media for private matters only.

If you do use (at least) some of your accounts to showcase your talents and your work, you should include social media links on your online portfolio as well. Recruiters will probably do a thorough online search of you anyway, but this way, you can control their first impressions. Make sure you link to something that might provide an insight into the skills you have not had a chance to display previously.

Bonus tips:

Opening zinger to catch the eye of an interviewer

You should write something that will catch the eye of an interviewer at the moment they open your site. This is a statement that is meant to intrigue, to arouse the curiosity of the reader. You have a chance to get them interested in what you have to say and show to them. In order to entice the interviewer into browsing through your online portfolio, it’s hero section (i.e., the first screen they see) has to set the stage.

You should use it to introduce yourself, and aim for a friendly, casual tone. Write what you do (and maybe WHY you do it) and add a few personal details. Think of it as a short, creative bio (it shouldn’t be longer than the one you have on your Twitter or Instagram) with a simple CTA (call to action that will lure your recruiters into a cute, little rabbit hole that is your portfolio).

Choose a unique/personal domain name (like .ME )

All of the stuff I’ve mentioned above cannot be used in its full capacity without a strong, unique, and most of all, personal domain name. After all, that is the first thing someone will notice when typing the address for your online portfolio. Choosing a NameSurame.ME combination is best at it will tie your name to your portfolio. Plus, if you connect an email account to it, it will look extra professional!

–Sanja Gardašević is the brand consultant for Domain.ME, the international tech company that operates the internet domain “.ME”, and encourages students to place emphasis on ways they can stand out in the recruitment process by focusing on their online presence.

By Sanja Gardašević - College Recruiter
College Recruiter
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