Sunday, April 27, 2008

10 Tips for Creating a Powerful Career Portfolio

Job seekers wanting to stay up to speed in the job market--let alone get a step ahead of their competition--should start building their digital career portfolios immediately.

The Internet has revolutionized the job search process, making it easy for job seekers to find and apply for dozens of jobs in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, it's now more challenging than ever to stand out from other applicants, leaving many job seekers to wonder what it takes to leave a lasting impression on today's hiring managers and recruiters.

The answer may be as simple as having a web-based portfolio. According to The Editors at JIST, authors of Your Career and Life Plan Portfolio, Third Edition, online portfolios go a long way in helping job seekers outshine competition and establish their personal brands.

"Today's job market requires workers and job seekers to be marketers. We must be able to sell an employer on our credentials and potential. Electronic portfolios are a relatively inexpensive way to do this. You can use your portfolio to reach a lot of people in a short time, allowing you to distribute information about yourself to employers who would not otherwise know about you," say The Editors at JIST.

Digital portfolios impress employers because they are still relatively uncommon tools in the job search. Often, job seekers who do have a web-based portfolio fail to make an impact because it lacks content or looks unprofessional. To ensure people develop a portfolio that will actually influence their success in the job search, The Editors at JIST offer 10 portfolio-enhancing tips in Your Career and Life Plan Portfolio. These tips include:

  • Do carefully choose the information you put on the Web site. You will not have much opportunity for explanations. Consequently, the Web content must be selective and professionally presented.

  • Do update your Web site frequently. You can buy inexpensive software that lets you do virtually anything. Your hosting service can also help.

  • Do include some visual appeal. Don't go overboard with space-eating graphics or animations, but be sure your Web site has a professional look and feel.

  • Do include information about how employers can contact you by telephone, fax and e-mail.

  • Do print out color copies of your Web site to take on interviews if you don't use a hard-copy portfolio.

  • Don't indicate on your Web site that you are looking for work. You don't want your current employer to suspect the reason behind your electronic portfolio.

  • Don't spam. The term "spam" refers to unsolicited e-mail. Target your electronic portfolio to a carefully chosen audience that matches your career goals.

  • Don't have advertisements on your Web site. Pay for a hosting service that is advertisement free.

  • Don't put your picture on your Web site. You want to avoid any issues relative to employment laws.

  • Don't include too much personal information. Be cautious. Remember that anyone can view your online portfolio.

The Editors at JIST remind, "Remember that the creation of your portfolio is about much more than collecting a set of documents to show an employer. It is about defining who you are and what you want to accomplish, creating a plan for your career and your life. "

Your Career and Life Plan Portfolio, Third Edition, is available from the publisher ( or 1.800.648.JIST). For a free media copy or to speak with The Editors at JIST, contact Natalie Ostrom.