How can I test the design of my portfolio?

Test your portfolio design with these questions:

  • Where does my eye go first?
  • Is this what I want my viewer to see first?
  • Can I easily find the navigation bar?
  • Do I easily understand how the site is organized?
  • Is the most important content easy to see?
  • Is the text easy to read?
  • Can I find my place on the webpage easily?

You can also review this questions on the portfolio pictured below. Reviewing others’ portfolios is a good way to pick up on good (and bad!) design tips.

Sample Portfolio

What does this portfolio do well? What can be improved?

What is your speciality?

What else should I be doing to get hired?

Your portfolio can be used to showcase your skills as a communication student and professional to employers, graduate schools, and other professionals. As you begin looking for employment, you will want to encourage as many people as possible to visit your site.

Using social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is an another way to reach employers and other communication professionals. Many guides and resources exist to guide you through the social media world to enhance your online presence as a professional. Do not hesitate to use emerging genres to reach your audience—the more visitors to your portfolio, the greater probability you will connect with the right people.

Remember, you should update and revise your portfolio regularly, even after you land your dream job. As you expand your experience, update credentials, experience, and pieces to your WordPress portfolio. Updating your portfolio regularly communicates that you are conscientious about your professional reputation. Additionally, it illustrates your desire to improve and refine your skills. Choosing a blog component on your website may be another appropriate way to interact with the viewers of your portfolio.

Take time to review others’ portfolios online. Not only will you be able to generate ideas on how to revise your own, but you will begin to discover industry trends and best practices. Incorporating these elements show that you are familiar with your field.

Although the job market may be difficult to navigate, you are now armed with an additional tool to distinguish yourself from other job-seekers. Traditional tools such as resumes, cover letters, and interviewing skills will be complimented by your electronic portfolio.

Remember your portfolio is an expression of your professional self. Be sure to put your best foot forward—you are now ready to begin the hunt!

Share your own tips and experiences of jobhunting with other readers by leaving a comment below.

Why should I use WordPress?

You have many options when choosing a software to build your electronic portfolio. So, why would you want to use WordPress?

WordPress was developed as a free blogging site; however, many job seekers and contract workers have utilized the online software to showcase their work.

The flexibility and accessibility of the program make it a perfect platform for presenting your professional information. WordPress’s online software is accessible to a range of users: it is simple enough for beginning users with little or no web design experience and customizable enough for advanced users. Additionally, WordPress is free for basic templates and themes (after all, you have those student loans to pay!); however, there are many different options for users who want to invest in creating something more unique.

Why should I create a portfolio?

You may have heard that the only thing worse than getting up to go to work is
getting up to look for work. You have probably also heard the doom-and-gloom reports on today’s job market. It is true that the face of today’s employment search is different from the one older generations have faced; the days of “Help Wanted” signs and classified ads are over. The market is changing, complex, and seemingly unforgiving. Today, more than ever, job seekers are challenged to find ways to distinguish themselves from the crowd. It is time to tap into your creativity in order to set yourself
apart.

Creating an electronic portfolio is one way to get an edge in today’s job market. In an
increasingly “online” world,  employers want to see what you can do, not just
read about it in your cover letter. An electronic portfolio allows employers to
quickly see your skills, education, and contact information with only a few
clicks. For this reason, colleges and universities nationwide have begun
implementing portfolio requirements as part of their undergraduate curriculum.
Administrators understand that recent college graduates must learn how to
market themselves online in order to begin their careers.

So, is having an electronic portfolio really that important? Think of your portfolio
as an advertisement: you are selling yourself just like TV commercials sell
cars, hamburgers, or clothing. You want potential employers to “buy” into you.
When making decisions about your portfolio, you should remember that you are
selling yourself as a professional.

Which plugins should I use?

Choosing HTML Plugins for Your Portfolio

There are literally thousands of Plugins available online. Once you have an idea of
what you want your portfolio to do, you can search for Plugins that will help
you make the most of your portfolio pieces. The following is a sample of
available Plugins:

  • Share Google, Twitter, Facebook, and social sharing: Adds a
    set of icons and widgets at the end of your post for your readers to share.
  • Syndicate Press: Includes RSS, RDF or Atom feeds directly in
    your WordPress posts or pages.
  • NoSpamNX: Blocks automated spambots from commenting on your
    WordPress site
  • Meta Keywords Generator: Helps your SEO by adding meta
    keywords tag to each page, post, archive (category, tag, date, day and year).
  • XCloner Backup and Restore: Backs up and restores both files
    and database for your WordPress site.

Sample Graphic or Web Design Portfolio Plugins

If you’re working on a portfolio to demonstrate your design skills, you may want to include these Plugins:

  • Slideshow: Pulls attached images into a nicely designed slideshow.
  • Awesome Flickr Gallery: Creates a gallery of your Flickr photos in your
    portfolio.
  • Zanmantou: Allows the addition of video and audio to a WordPress website.

 Sample Writing Portfolio Plugins

If you’re working on a portfolio to demonstrate your writing skills, you may want to include these Plugins:

  • Twitter: Displays your writing-related tweets in your sidebar.
  • Meta SEO Pack: Emphasizes your keywords to drive more traffic to your portfolio.
  • Quote Rotator: Puts rotating quotes from your samples on your sidebar.

Sample Public Relations or Marketing Portfolio Plugins

If you’re working on a portfolio to demonstrate your PR or marketing skills, you may want to include these Plugins:

  • Vertical Scroll RSS Feed: Creates a list of links to your work from other sites on your sidebar.
  • Badge: Displays the badges of PR or marketing societies to which you belong with links to the websites on your sidebar.
  • LinkedIn Resume: Pulls your resume from LinkedIn and posts it on your portfolio.

This list is just a sample of the thousands of Plugins available for WordPress. To
view the whole list, go to the WordPress Plugin Library.

Using Plugins will make your portfolio more interactive and customized. Experiment with Plugins to find which ones will enhance your portfolio.

Learn how to add plugins.

Which Plugins are you using and why?

How should I start planning my portfolio?

Get your creative juices flowing by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want employers to know about me?
  • What do employers in the field expect in a portfolio?
  • What pieces do I choose to show my skills?
  • How do I plan to use my portfolio?
  • How can I make more portfolio unique?

Answering these questions and gathering your information before you begin will help you make design choices as you build your portfolio. Also, understanding your goals
and expectations of your portfolio will be important as you continue—taking
time to carefully plan will save you time in the long run.