How to build an online portfolio

In March 2015, I became the Illinois Journalist of the Year. The application process included a resume, self-analytical essay and most importantly, an online portfolio showcasing our journalistic work over the course of our high school careers. See mine at http://ashyong.yolasite.com/. I spent countless hours tweaking minute details to perfect it. Today, I share with you five tips to building the best online portfolio to share with potential employers.

1. USE A WEBSITE BUILDER

Website builders like Yola and Squarespace give you the control and creativity you want when creating an online portfolio. Look into the various options, evaluating cost and what you need in a website. Buy your domain off GoDaddy using your name as the address or something similar. Update your site constantly to reflect your new work if you plan on advertising the link on sites like LinkedIn. On top of that, if it has anything to do with the position for which you are applying, you can use building the website yourself as a talking point in your interview.

2. CHOOSE YOUR BEST WORK, NOT ALL OF YOUR WORK

Time is money and employers don’t have a lot of time to spend browsing your site and looking through all the content you have included. Pick a diverse array of your work to showcase your many talents while respecting your viewer’s time. For example, if applying for a journalism job, include photos you’ve taken, articles you’ve written, audio slideshows you’ve created and videos you’ve produced. If including unpublished work, it must be accompanied by a strong description of why it was included.

3. INCLUDE THOROUGH CAPTIONS

After you’ve chosen which pieces of your work to include, caption them. Talk about how you grew from them, what you’ve learned, what challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Ensure you discuss what hand you had in the project if others were involved. Also mention any awards/honors each piece may have won and if it was published anywhere. See an example from my Illinois Journalist of the Year portfolio below:

4. INCLUDE AN "OTHERS" PAGE

Show your personality here. Include a bio about yourself if you don’t have an About page. Link to your social media and include photos of you. Talk about your hobbies and passions. You are a human before an employee. Your passions and hobbies make you a human. Post personal content like playing tennis, taking family vacations or volunteering in your community. This can give others insight into what you are truly like outside of your nine to five.

5. NAVIGABILITY AND ORGANIZATION ARE KEY

Ensure that the navigation bar is organized in a coherent way. You can choose to separate by categories like “Video”, “Audio”, “Photography”, etc. or like “Published Work”, “Unpublished Work”, etc. Include another navigation bar in the footer so a viewer doesn’t have to scroll through long pages. A good number of categories in the navigation bar is between four and six.