Creating a website or e-portfolio is a great way to showcase your past and present work, as well as build your professional web presence. You may wonder why you should bother putting your information in an online format. For one, résumés are boring. No pictures, no videos, no flair, and very little personality. On a website, you can link to work samples and presentations, easily link to your LinkedIn profile, and imbue the site with your personality. Moreover, it shows potential employers and connections that you are technically savvy, which is important in the 21st century economy.
In addition, résumés are static. As soon as you give someone your résumé, they forever have that version of it. However, if you include your personal site’s URL on your résumé or business card, your connections will have access to a dynamic, up-to-date (hopefully!) source of information.
Finally, a personal website is searchable. An important part of building web presence is controlling what results people find when they Google your name, and so your site provides a lot of relevant context that will be indexed with your name.
Ready to get started? This resource will guide you through the process and give you some tips for creating a basic e-portfolio.
Step 1: Choose Your Platform
Check out this great resource to learn more about the differences between some of the website building platforms available to students and how to choose the one that’s right for you. Keep in mind that there are many more platforms than what’s listed here, like Strikingly for example, which lets you create a simple one-page website.
Ideally, you will continue to use your site long after you leave school, so make sure you consider your exit strategy. If you choose a platform hosted by Middlebury or if you ever want to switch platforms as your site grows, what migration options or ways to export your site will be available to you? Thinking about this from the beginning may help you avoid unpleasant surprises and frustration in the future.
Step 2: Select a Design
Depending on the platform you’ve chosen, one of the most important decisions will be choosing a theme. This will determine the look and to some degree, functionality of your site. Consider your personal brand: what do you want your site to visually communicate about you?
Changing themes will often change the formatting, so make sure you choose one you like because switching after creating lots of content sometimes requires a lot of tedious reconfiguring. It might be helpful to look at examples of e-portfolios, think of a potential vision first, then browse and test different themes until you find one you like.
Step 3: Add Your Content
Once you’ve found a home and a design for your site, it’s time to consider what to include on it. I recommend creating the following basic sections:
This is a chance to express who you are as a person, share a little about your unique life experiences, and communicate your career goals. You could approach it as a cross between a short bio and a cover letter for your dream job position.
Résumé or CV
There are lots of ways to include the information on your traditional résumé. You could manually type it in, but this may restrict your text formatting. Another option is to take a large, clear screenshot of the document, then upload it as an image. You might also want to link the image to a downloadable PDF version of the document. You could also embrace the digital nature of the medium to visualize your skills in a completely new way, using interactive graphics.
Remember, the information on your e-portfolio will be publicly viewable on the internet so take the same safety measures to guard your privacy as you would anywhere else online. You may want to remove personal information such as your phone number, address, email, etc. from the résumé you post on your e-portfolio.
If you have a LinkedIn account, this is a good place to put a link or button to your profile. You can do this by embedding HTML code, linking a button image, or get a fancier profile preview via their plugin generator.
Use this section to highlight your relevant coursework, projects, internships, research, or volunteer experiences. Be creative! Use video, photo galleries, slideshows, or upload audio to diversify the way you present your achievements to the world.
Make sure visitors have a way to get in contact with you, whether this takes the form of providing links to social media, your email address, or creating a contact form.
Show Off Your Specialized Skills
If you’re a translation or interpretation specialist, you could create your portfolio in multiple languages. Looking to start a career in international education management, trade, or development? Make a section that elaborates on your range of experiences abroad or the certifications you’ve received in your field.
Want more advice or one-on-one help getting started?
If you have any questions, feel free to come in to the DLC or make an appointment. We’ll be happy to help!