4 Written Tips To Make A Portfolio Work On You

Posted March 28, 2014 by
Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos

When I was a graduate and tried to find a job, my main mistake was to send the same resume everywhere I could. Why was it a mistake? Because hundreds of thousands of people did the same, and this ugly truth did not give me any chance to differ from all of them anyhow. When I realized this fact, I started to think how could I make my resume different from others, and make HR managers notice it and invite me to a job interview. I searched the Web, and found the tricks some people used to do this:

  • Make your resume oddly-sized;
  • Make your resume smell differently;
  • Make your resume of a different color;
  • Use infographics to create a resume (well, it can work for designers of course);
  • Write your resume in some unusual manner (some people even wrote poems! I am not sure, it would be a good idea for IT specialists for example, though it could work for a copywriter anyway).

As far as you understand, all methods mentioned above can work sometimes, but none of them guarantees you a success in such a specific work as a job search. I doubt, if an HR manager is happy to get a resume sprayed with some perfume, especially when he does not like this aroma at all. You can never guess, what color or smells a recruiter likes, and whether he is creative enough to find a poem about your education, skills, and job experience witty. The most common resume mistakes can kill all your chances to get a good job at once.

The only one thing I found useful among all these pieces of advice, and it was a portfolio! Many people used to think, that portfolios work well for art students only, but this is not true actually.  When you are a copywriter (as well as I am), you can make a portfolio of your works; if you are a painter, just take photos of the work you have done and add them to your portfolio; if you are a software developer, a portfolio of your programs and applications’ screenshots can be made as well. But having a portfolio is not enough to get a job of your dream, because you should know how to make this portfolio work on you actually. And I’ve distinguished several tricks for myself in order to make my portfolio special, that could help every graduate student as well:

1. I’ve focused on my portfolio

In my portfolio, I did not tell people about everything I wrote in the past, and about my every skill. I’ve decided for myself what job I would like to do next, and I focused my portfolio on that. I wanted to write about education, and I used my portfolio to mention all examples of my work on this topic.

If you are going to have several career paths, you can create a separate portfolio for each of them, but remember to focus it on what you want to do next, and let recruiters see it clearly from your portfolio.

2. I’ve thought of my own domain name

Wouldn’t it be easy to create your professional portfolio, using your personal domain name? I am not sure yet, if it works out for my sphere, but it would definitely be a perfect idea for some house painters or interior designers for example. You can take photos of your works and put them online, using different sites for it (Flickr, Pinterest, etc.). It is easy to support such a website or blog, even after you find your job and plan to stay with it for a long time. Just check the tutorial, how to create a cool portfolio with the help of Flickr, here. You can also use special services like Pullfolio to make your future portfolio look special.

3. I’ve decided that my portfolio will go online only!

You see, not every HR manager will be ready to open your attached document with a portfolio, because he will be afraid of viruses there. Moreover, not every HR manager will check your physical portfolio, because it is a kind of additional paper work for him. That is why, the perfect variant for your portfolio to win here is to send recruiters a link to it. Just one click – and people will see your cool portfolio with no fear of viruses or something, because it is just a link! We all click on many links every day, and we do not see any problems here.

How to put your portfolio online? Well, the easiest method is to scan it. But please, DO NOT include any PDFs or something that should be downloaded before opening. As I’ve mentioned already, HR managers will hardly open such kind of documents.

I know, that some software developers want to send a downloading file to their applications. As one my friend said (she is a HR specialist, by the way), she would rather check beautiful screenshots of all those applications than try to download them and figure out what all of them are about.

Today we can find many online services, that help create bright and really attractive portfolios. Check Carbonmade or Wix for example.

4. I’ve organized my portfolio in a way everyone will understand it

There is no need to organize everything in a chronological or alphabetical manner of course, but you should make your portfolio easy to understand for recruiters. They should see it clearly where to click and what to open next! How to do that? My own approach is the following:

Give a link to your grandmother! Yes, I am not joking. Sit her down in front of your website and let her figure out everything. And if she fails here, and she does not understand what all these letters and images are about, the big chances are that HR managers will be lost here as well. As a result, they will just give it up, even if your portfolio is a real masterpiece of this genre. Do not forget to mention clear contact information!

A good portfolio can help you get a job of your dream, or become one step closer to it at least. And there is no reason to ignore this useful tool. I am not going to do it at least.

Author’s bio:

Lesley Vos is a graduate of University of Chicago, who is currently working as a blogger and copywriter of Bid4Papers company. He writes on different topics, including education, writing, and social media. You can find Lesley on Google+, and see more of her works there.

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