Welcome to my very first Grad Series post! Hopefully these will be super helpful for those of you who - like me - are about to take the next step after college into the very scary ~real world~. This series is the perfect place for me to share some tips and tricks for putting your best foot forward post-grad.
For this first post, I wanted to talk a bit about the importance of an online portfolio for a creative career-seeker. When your qualifications include visual and creative elements like writing, photo, video, styling, etc., it can be hard to showcase these skills via a basic resume and LinkedIn account. In the name of not entering every interview with a bulky, physical portfolio tucked under your arm, I strongly recommend an online portfolio instead. I admit, at first the thought of having a website all about me seemed vain (cough, says the girl with the online portfolio AND the blog all about her, cough), but now I acknowledge it as a professional tool, one that I often receive compliments on from potential employers.
Check out a few peeks at my own online portfolio below (or view the whole thing here) and read up on my tips for how to make your own!
1. CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
It took me a while to find out how to make my site represent myself - like many other millennials, I found myself gravitating towards clean lines, simple fonts, and accents in my beloved millennial pink. The key to making a site aesthetic work is to have it truly reflect your personal brand; once I decided on the black text, white background, and pink accents of my site, I replicated this theme here on my blog, my twitter, etc. Consistency is key when creating your own brand, and you want your different online platforms to connect as one complete persona. Figure out how you want to appear and make sure each social account you promote reflects that same identity.
2. DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Figure out exactly what skills potential employers might find useful, and use those to create your site's focus areas. For me, I started with a tab devoted to writing and poetry, but ended up changing it to include only beauty-related articles, as I was applying to jobs in the beauty industry, and while I am proud of my poetry, I'm not looking to be hired as a poet! The benefit of being in charge of your own website, however, is that you can change and add sections at your own jurisdiction. I found that beauty, photography, and video were my most sought-after skillsets, so these are the tabs I set up on my site.
3. BE SELECTIVE
At first, it was tempting to include every published piece, every finalized photograph, just for the sake of showing how ~experienced~ I was. However, I quickly learned that companies don't want to scroll through a history of your accomplishments - they want your best, your brightest, your most promising. I eliminated the lackluster and only included pieces and projects that I felt were not only strong, but spoke to many of the brands I was applying to. I also included statistic information wherever possible - like in reference to my time as a vlogger for Georgetown - to show quantitative successes as well.
4. BE YOUR OWN HYPE (WO)MAN
Your online portfolio is not the place to be coy. Don't be vain or cocky, but acknowledge that you are an accomplished, badass chica with a portfolio to match. Companies want to see confidence in your own abilities, so be sure to include an About section that reflects your strengths. Link that resume, list that email, promote the hell out of your LinkedIn page - be your own hype man! You've done the hard part of drawing the potential employer in, so seal the deal and convince them to take the next step.
Hopefully these recs are helpful as many of you learn the ins and outs of the online job market. It can be a pretty tricky place, and as someone navigating it myself, I've picked up lots of life lessons along the way. Cheers to starting a successful post-grad journey, and welcome to the Grad Series!