What's a Portfolio?
It's a display of items that show off your best work or capabilities to employers or others who would be likely to pay for your services. Online portfolios are really good for many reasons: lots of media are usable, you can organise them in various ways and make them very rich, you're not risking the loss of original documents, etc.
What's Its Value?
- If nothing else you can always review them prior to a job interview for reminders.
- You can suggest that employers look at them—ain't this obvious when you're marketing yourself!
- You can expand on ideas that you mention in your résumé and networking card.
- At the risk of repeating myself you can use graphics. A picture of something you have created, or of the people you have teamed with or of the benefits you have provided will say a lot.
- On the down side a portfolio can go some way toward masking other, possibly unfortunate aspects of your 'net presence.
- Employers can review your portfolio in their own time.
- Creation of a portfolio demonstrates your skills with software and office tools. Don't be too worried about this one. Employers are not looking for stellar skills necessarily. Usually they simply want to know that you have the basic skills. (Obviously if you have more skill flaunt it!)
Where and How
There are many ways of building portfolios and lots of places to host them. Here are a few.
- Use Microsoft Powerpoint to build a slide show and upload it to Slideshare, or to MyBrainShark. If you don't have Microsoft Office you might be able to use Open Office for this purpose; I haven't tried it yet.
- Use visualcv.com, a commercial product.
- Use the camera on your computer with various software products to produce a video and upload it to youtube or one of the other places that hosts videos.
- Make a portfolio on Google Presentations.
- Make a blog on wordpress.com, blogger.com or one of the other places for free or paid blogging platforms.
- Build a free website on officelive or Google.
- Do some graphics on coroflot.
- scribblefolio is a commercial place for posting writing portfolios.
For the many things I've left out in the way of tools, try the New Tools Workshop.