Searching for a new remote job is no easy task. An increase in competition because of the global pandemic has created cutthroat competition. Applicants have to scrub their social media profiles. Plus, they must also ensure that references and recommendations are prepped, and they’re ready for a potential video interview. Due diligence reigns. But jobseekers also face another obstacle: ensuring that their resumes and work documents are applicant tracking system (ATS)-compliant. That’s when an online portfolio becomes integral. With many employers or recruiters looking for information online that supports the applicant’s qualifications for the job, the benefits of an online portfolio are substantial.
Why Jobseekers Need A Professional Online Portfolio
According to Holly Leyva, the Virtual Vocations Career Services Manager and Certified Career Coach:
“Online portfolios can help you stand out from the competition, build your professional brand, increase your online visibility and presence, and make a great first impression. They are a good way to showcase the accomplishments, projects, and experience that you’ve talked about on your resume.”
With so many recruiters and job managers requesting that job applicants keep their resumes no longer than one or two pages, many mid-career and advanced professionals can feel stuck at limiting their extensive experience into such a limited amount of space. With an online portfolio, this isn’t a problem. Leyva asserts:
“Make sure to include the portfolio link on your resume and in your email signature so employers and clients can easily see your work samples, previous presentations, recommendations, testimonials, and other professional accomplishments.”
Jobseekers can quickly provide more extensive details on their career experience and provide visual proof of their skill set. A side benefit of an online portfolio is that it can provide a search engine optimization (SEO) boost. This can help freelancers and jobseekers looking for project-based work gain visibility in search engine results.
The Virtual Vocations Portfolio Feature
Before we begin, here’s a glance at what the Virtual Vocations online portfolio looks like and how it functions.
The online portfolio is critical for job search success. Although compiling your work is time-consuming, the amount of time it will save the jobseeker when potential employers request specific documents or information is priceless.
The benefit of an online portfolio is that jobseekers only need to do the hard part once. Curating and updating a portfolio is much faster and more straightforward than the initial setup. Moreover, the Virtual Vocations portfolio feature provides an easy-to-navigate option to showcase jobseekers’ best work.
Let’s look at the customizable sections in the Virtual Vocations portfolio:
The header is a vital part of an online portfolio. Not only does your name take center stage in this section, but it’s the first thing an employer sees. Since first impressions are vital, your header must grab the viewer’s attention. Taking the time to choose the right font, size, or alignment for the portfolio header allows you to stand out from the crowd and maintain your professional brand.
Actionable Step: Have you defined your professional brand? Users familiar with a bit of HTML can experiment with colors and other styling attributes using the source code tool. Study the psychology of colors and typography to help you decide how you want your professional brand’s personality to be perceived.
This page is not only one of the most challenging pages to write, but it is perhaps the most important. It gets the most views and determines if the reader will continue to browse the rest of your portfolio. This is where hiring managers and recruiters learn about who you are, what you do, and what you can offer them. Including a call-to-action (CTA) in this section is especially engaging. It establishes yourself as a trustworthy authority in your professional industry. Plus, it can inspire the recruiter or human resource manager to strongly consider you an appropriate candidate for their company through a simple statement.
Actionable Step: Don’t ramble. Proofread and edit the page to make sure you don’t seem unprofessional. Remember, while resumes with spelling errors get tossed in the trash bin, online portfolios with typos get their browser windows closed.
The objective section provides potential employers or recruiters an overview of your career goals and ambitions. This mutually beneficial section helps human resource managers know if the position that they are hiring for will meet your job expectations. It will also save you ample time and frustration by eliminating or reducing the chances of going through the entire interview process for nothing.
Actionable Step: Keep this section concise yet compelling. And be honest about your career goals. But remember, the job needs to be a good career fit for your aspirations.
This section of the portfolio is like a personal ad for your career. By showcasing the work you’ve performed, you can wow potential employers. Target your audience by demonstrating that you can perform the job you are applying to. For jobseekers in creative fields, a work portfolio is a necessity. Conversely, in an industry where work samples are not the norm, this can set you apart from other applicants in the field.
Actionable Step: Make sure your work samples are free of typos and include various projects from different mediums (if you can) and industry sectors. Choose quality over quantity to maximize this benefit of an online portfolio.
Relying only on your resume to fully display your job history is self-sabotage. Therefore, the job history section of the portfolio can help fill out any gaps in your resume. If diligently filled out with more details than your resume, this section can also help potential employers understand your related work experience. Plus, they can determine if you have any transferrable skills during a career change. Make sure to proofread this section thoroughly, as 80.4% of errors are found in former job experience descriptions.
Actionable Step: Remember that a portfolio is always a work in progress. Keep it updated with relevant new jobs or projects you gain. This way, it becomes easier to maintain for the next time you decide to jump into another job search.
Education is the proverbial foot in the door for many work from home jobs. As a result, you need to demonstrate to potential employers and recruiters that you have the appropriate background for the job. Furthermore, this section will provide a window into how deep your subject matter expertise goes. Include the following to not leave anything out:
- Undergraduate or graduate degrees
- Technical boot camps
- Certificates or credentials earned
- Professional development programs
- Any web-based learning
Don’t try to embellish your portfolio with schools or degrees you never earned. According to one study, 75% of human resource managers have caught resume lies and less than 12% of them will return the call of a dishonest applicant. Doing so can easily transform the benefits of an online portfolio into a detriment.
Actionable Step: Honesty is the best policy for this section. Many prospective employers conduct background checks to ensure the accuracy of any degrees achieved. Don’t spoil your chances by being dishonest.
Do you have any social media sites or a professional blog that enhances your profile? This section is perfect for the job. But don’t add just anything. Include links that support your professional qualifications for the position. Also, remove any inappropriate images or posts that can sink your professional reputation. Remember, what happens online does not always stay online, nor is it easily deleted. Many people have been eliminated from job contention due to careless social media posts. Don’t be part of the statistic.
Actionable Step: Do a quick social or web audit. Ensure that your content is professional and that it won’t hinder your job search. If you have no idea what is inappropriate, do a quick Google search on the high-profile people that have been fired for inappropriate social media behavior.
Potential employers and recruiters want to make sure each new team member is a cultural fit with their company. If you feel that some of your hobbies align with a potential employer’s core values and company culture, don’t be afraid to include them. In fact, doing so might help you establish rapport with the hiring manager during the interview process—especially if they share your same hobbies or activities. In addition, many potential employers look for applicants who are well-rounded and demonstrate a healthy variety of interests.
Actionable Step: This is where you can show recruiters and hiring managers a bit of your personality. Curate your hobbies or activities that would best augment your professional skills. Furthermore, mentioning activities that you regularly participate in and are truly knowledgeable on might give your application a boost.
The other section encompasses important information that doesn’t fit in the categories above. In this section, showcase your highest achievements and your best talents to hiring managers. And be as detailed as possible. For example, suppose you know additional languages or have a particular skill set that may not be accurately conveyed in your work history or educational background. In that case, this is where you can add significant details or attach any images or documents that will help provide proof to your claims.
Actionable Step: Have you won any awards? Do you have additional certifications you would like to highlight? Are you an active member of any professional organizations? This is not the time to be humble. Bragging is expected. Take advantage of the opportunity.
Another important section of the online portfolio is the contact page. The contact page provides a small contact form for viewers to send a message directly via email (Virtual Vocations login email). The contact page also requires individuals to include their name and email address, and offers ample room for a detailed message. This is the only section that is not customizable. However, your masked email address can prevent spam and other unwanted contacts.
Actionable item: If you would also like to provide a telephone number or alternate form of communication, you can include it in the “other” section of the Virtual Vocations portfolio. In other words, you can put your Twitter or Zoom handle here to improve communication.
Set Up an Online Portfolio Today
The benefits of an online portfolio from Virtual Vocations are undeniable. It’s one of the best things a remote jobseeker can do to help improve their chances of job search success. But you have to put in the work. By having all the pertinent information in one place, employers and recruiters don’t have to put in nearly as much research: a component that makes you stand out as an applicant.
Set up a Virtual Vocations online portfolio today, and discover how it can boost your future work from home job prospects. You’ll need an active membership and login credentials to put together your online portfolio, but the result is well worth the effort.
Have you realized the benefits of an online portfolio? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your advice or ask questions about our portfolio. We’d love to hear from you!
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