Show off: Why you should build an online portfolio
Readers talk back
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Many employers and clients Google first and ask questions later -- and even short-list candidates for interview based on what they find online.
That's why Sydney-based architect Jessica Matson knew it was time to have an online presence. "If someone hears about you or picks up a card or something they always like to Google you and find some examples of your work."
As did photographer Xiaohan Shen. "There's a time and a place for a printed folio, but that only happens when you are already face-to-face with a potential client. To get there, most will want to see your work beforehand so it's crucial to have a good online folio."
Matson had a friend create her website showcasing her architectural work. While Shen, a photographer with no less than three sites (street style, wedding photography and an upcoming lifestyle blog), has had friends help her tweak blogs and a Viewbook folio she created herself ("it's easy to use, you just tweak the layout, upload your work and voila.")
On the other side of the screen is New York-based Prince Kusi , a senior recruiter at Amazon who is helping build the company's fashion business. "In the old days," he says, "you would simply post a job [advertisement] and wait for candidates to send in their CVs." Now, he's expected to manage every open position as an executive search, meaning he'll identify a short list of top-notch individuals and sell them on a given opportunity.
This is where an online portfolio comes into play. "By having a strong, well-crafted online portfolio, professionals can reverse the traditional employer -employee relationship and make themselves part of the sought-after talent pool rather than being merely a job seeker."
From Kusi's viewpoint, an online portfolio allows candidates who he might not have heard of otherwise to get on his radar. So what is he looking for when he clicks? "Portfolios that have a true point of view." He says, the people he is recruiting for (hiring managers) like to see 'specialists' and 'masters', rather than 'generalists', who have done a bit of everything. "Part of being a master is including a clear statement of who you are, what you do and most importantly, why a potential employer should hire you."
Heather Hiles CEO of Pathbrite (a platform that allows anyone to pull together their digital archives and credentials in one place) puts it rather nicely on the need for a multi-dimensional online presence: "No one's life can fit on a single sheet of paper with black-and-white ink."