For many recent grads, the struggle right now to find a job amidst a global pandemic can seem daunting at best, and impossible at worst. I feel you; I was there not too long ago!
Don’t fret however, because now is the time for perfecting the resume, drafting a cover letter (or five), scheduling informational interviews with those in your industry, and pulling together a portfolio of work to showcase for when you evidently land that interview. And hey, since you have the time now, it’s as good of a time as any to compile your best pieces! Here are the top five tips for putting together a website portfolio.
1. Picking an Easy-To-Use Site
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t coding wizards. You’ll want to pick a site that’s easy to navigate and customize, as well as one that isn’t going to charge you an arm and a leg. Many sites will include a basic free plan, and that will suffice for your portfolio needs. My favorite is Wix, but Squarespace and Weebly are also great options for recent grads. Just ensure you are picking something you’re satisfied with and something that you can update easily.
2. Selecting a Template
Choose something that speaks to your personality, but isn’t distracting. Pick 2-3 colors to stick with and an easily scannable font. If your template allows for multi-media, include a picture or two. Some animation can be fun as well, but don’t go overboard!
3. Category Collecting
What do you want to feature on your site? A good portfolio website should express your personality and interests while cultivating a good idea of your professional experience, expertise, and goals.
At the very least, I would highly recommend including a resume section (and making it downloadable), an “About” section, and a portfolio page of all of your work. In my personal portfolio, I also have a “Video Projects” section to feature some of the multimedia-based pieces I worked on in college.
Ideally, recent grads should have saved some of the work they produced in college, whether it was class projects, a senior capstone, internship assignments, or industry-relevant personal projects. All of this makes for excellent content to supplement your portfolio section.
On a personal note, I will mention that when I was being interviewed for the job that ended up being my first full-time job post-college, our Chief Marketing Officer was actually the one that did a deep dive into my portfolio, and watched every one of the class video projects I’d worked on. He was impressed, and I was pleasantly surprised! The point is, it makes a difference, don’t shy away from including good work in your portfolio just because you’re not sure if it’s what they’re looking for.
When it comes to what specific pieces you want to feature, consider the following:
Within these assets, include a small summary or blurb of the project at the top, as well as the results and purpose of the project so that the employer can familiarize themselves with the work. Now, if you didn’t engage in any internships in college, you can supplement this work with other class assignments as you see fit.
5. Show It Off!
Now that you have a great portfolio, it’s time to show it off! Include it in job applications, put it on your LinkedIn profile as a featured asset, incorporate the link on your resume, and add it to a business card! Maybe even Tweet it if you’re feeling brave enough! You should feel proud of the hard work you’ve collected over your college years, it’s all an accumulation of a job well done.
I have no doubt many of you recent grads will flourish!