When starting out and looking to build a career, it’s important to have a body of work from previous experiences that can be used to validate your skills and achievements. While a tailored resume and cover letter are important to get your foot in the door, it is not effective in establishing your skills and track record of tangible achievements. According to NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 report, over 91% of employers prefer to recruit candidates with work experience while 65% choose candidates with relevant experience within the specific industry or job function. Companies are always looking to collaborate with candidates who have experience and can exhibit results as it helps to trust before choosing to work with the person. One of the best tools to display and demonstrate past successes is through a ‘Portfolio’.
Over 91% of employers prefer to recruit candidates with work experience while 65% choose candidates with relevant experience within the specific industry or job function.
What is a ‘Portfolio’?
While often used for creative roles like designers or copywriters, portfolios are a powerful tool to highlight your achievement from past projects. A portfolio exhibits your previous experience through assets, samples, results from campaigns, etc, and can be extremely effective when coupled with a resume to showcase your capabilities and skillset. The best portfolios combine visuals with analytics and measurable results to create a strong impact statement. Portfolios go far beyond a traditional resume by validating your skills and accomplishments.
A portfolio exhibits your previous experience through assets, samples, results from campaigns, etc, and can be extremely effective when coupled with a resume to showcase your capabilities and skillset.
Why is a portfolio important?
Resumes are outdated – While resumes are effective in providing a short overview of your experience, it is very brief and doesn’t provide any personality. A portfolio allows to include context, results, endorsements, etc to practically show how to solve problems and aim to exceed expectations.
Stand out from the competition – By using an eye-tracking technique, a study by Ladders, Inc. revealed that the average screening time for a candidate’s resume is 7.4 seconds. A visual and bright portfolio will gain the attention of the reviewer as it shows the effectiveness of your work instead and helps them judge instead of reading paragraphs of meaningless text.
Exhibit quality of work – When bidding for a project or applying for a role, it’s important to convince the hiring manager that you have the skills to meet their expectations. It’s always best to visually find ways to inculcate trust in your abilities. For creative roles, it’s helpful to showcase your eye for detail and designs while numbers and results speak volumes for more analytical roles.
Establish authority – Displaying a professional portfolio improves your profile and establishes authority within a particular industry. It will open up doors for networking and building your brand within a job function along with increasing your credibility.
What to include in your ‘Portfolio’?
For a digital portfolio that can be easily hosted online and shared with interested parties, arrange your work experience and samples of your work creatively. Follow these steps to get started and include these different sections:
Short bio: Start your portfolio with a short bio that includes your name, designation, and a brief introduction about yourself. You could use a ‘mission statement’ to further expand on your purpose and goals. For example, ‘I build award-winning teams through global tech recruitment.
Samples of your best work – Collate all your previous experience and arrange it in descending order with your most recent experience first. With an online portfolio, it will be easy to add links from different websites and add them into various sections. Some of the examples that can be used are: – Screenshots of social media posts, ad creatives, conversion-optimized landing pages, email newsletters – Links to blog posts, live web pages, or websites – PDF files of reports, copywriting samples, case studies, essays, marketing collateral, etc – Links to videos, podcasts, online dashboards, etc – Collage of influencer collaborations and results from campaigns – Graphs of SEO progress through traffic and growth reports
Measurable metrics & context – Provide a detailed explanation of the methodology used for each project and how you designed creative solutions to problems. – It would be ideal to provide a brief introduction to each project, the KPIs, major objectives, challenges that were faced, and specific activities which were carried out as part of your role. – The results from successful campaigns or achievements at the end of each role should be highlighted clearly as this is how you can demonstrate value. For example: ‘Onboarded 50 new clients with a recurring revenue of over $20,000 per month through lead generation’ or ‘Increased web traffic by 40% over a 6 month period through search engine optimization techniques.
Recognition – If you have received any awards or recognition within your field of work, it would be beneficial to exhibit this on your portfolio. PR coverage through industry publications, webinars, can show you as an authority in the industry.
Testimonials/Endorsements – Place recommendations, testimonials and endorsements from clients, managers or co-workers as part of your portfolio to create a stellar impression. It is important to also show each person’s name, designation and company name in order to further boost your credibility.
Contact details – Interested parties should have a way to reach out to you. Insert a call to action with a contact form which can also be a source of leads for you. Alternatively, you could also link in social media profiles like LinkedIn or add your email address and phone number.
Resume: Your portfolio can have a section with a downloadable creative resume to provide an overview of your past experience including professional and academic qualifications.
How to create a ‘Digital Portfolio’?
#1 – Choose a platform – Creating a digital version of your portfolio increases visibility for you as a subject matter expert within your industry domain. A website could be created to be used as your digital portfolio. There are many free tools and platforms available where you can host all your content and structure it as a portfolio to be shared with prospective employers and clients. Some of the popular platforms with free access are Wix, Squarespace, WordPress or Weebly. For more creative portfolios for graphic designers or photographers, these platforms may be more visually appealing: Behance, Crevado or PortfolioBox.
Start your portfolio with a short bio that includes your name, designation, and a brief introduction about yourself.
#2 – Design your content – Begin with a compelling homepage with a clean design to create a memorable first impression. The goal with each section should be to easily redirect visitors to the next portion of the portfolio seamlessly. Add each section with detailed content and include call to action buttons to improve conversion rates. Plan out the journey of a visitor on your portfolio and allow them to learn more about you and your work+skills in detail. We would recommend reviewing some samples to gain inspiration: content marketer, product manager, creative designer, etc.
With an online portfolio, it will be easy to add links from different websites and add them into various sections.
#3 – Launch! – Review your content, test links and launch your portfolio. You could add a scannable QR portfolio link within your resume to encourage more visits. Additionally, review analytics for your portfolio to understand where users linger and where they drop off- this will help to plan your content differently to ensure that you minimize the bounce rate.
How can Qureos help?
As a recent student or graduate trying to launch your career, you may be struggling to gain hands on work experience. Qureos offers a range of practical cohorts under digital marketing to help you get started – SEO, social media, market research, lead generation, paid advertising, content marketing, etc. By joining the Qureos community, you can collaborate with peers from all over the world and unlock the following exclusive benefits:
#1 You will learn through practical hands-on mock projects under the guidance of industry mentors
#2 You will work on a range of paid micro-projects – build your portfolio and gain work experience
#3 You will be part of a global community of experiential learners with constant access to educational resources and a network of mentors and corporate partners
If you’d like to learn more about all the buzz at Qureos, contact us or check out our socials!