Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How Online Portfolios Put You At the Top of The Candidate Pile

How many of you have a digital portfolio?

Online Portfolios are a great way to bring your background to life. You can build a portfolio no matter what job you have, whether you’re an Accountant or Artist, a Programmer or Pie Maker, a mathematician or a musician.

When you send a resume, you‘re one of thousands who send the same resume in….same style, same words. To the reviewer and even the hiring manager they all look the same. Yawn!!!!!

Resumes are flat, one dimensional pieces that at their best, are shameless self promotion. Resume readers know that they are full of self aggrandizing language , and even lies. Resume readers know they’ll have to guess what the candidates work product will be like, but it’s at best a wild guess.

What if you could show a hiring manager what great work you do? Would that help you get your next job?

Pictures are worth 1,000 words. That must make audio worth at least 10,000 words, and video worth 100,000.

I’m an Accountant – I don’t make videos, or record audio. I’m not an artist. What kind of portfolio could I build?

Here’s a great story from back in my recruiting days. I was in an interview with a Financial Analyst candidate who was bombing. The candidate was an older gentleman who spoke slowly and softly, and the interviewer was a young hard charging in-your-face kind of guy. It was late in the day, and the candidate was literally putting the interviewer to sleep. Then magic happened.

The candidate pulled out a manila folder and opened his portfolio. The interviewer leaned forward to look. The candidate had these amazing charts! His written reports described monthly variations brilliantly and clearly! The interviewer was asking “How did you do that?” All of a sudden, the candidate started speaking a little faster, and some emotion crept into his voice and he leaned forward. Magic was happening – the portfolio saved the interview, and the company offered a second interview to learn more about the dashboard reports the candidate created.

This candidate was clearly wrong for the environment and for the hiring manager’s personality. But the hiring manager didn’t want to hire the candidate, he wanted to hire the portfolio - if this slower older guy had to come along with the portfolio, then so be it. These reports obviously solved a problem that was bothering the hiring manager.

Want to stand out from the thousands of other applicants? An online portfolio shows why you’re special, and clearly demonstrates that you’ve gone the extra mile. So few people prepare digital portfolios, and if done professionally, they're insanely impressive to hiring managers – it blows them away.

This strategy works for C-Level Managers, Middle management, Accountants, Financial Managers, Sales professionals, Marketers, Lawyers, Engineers, Scientists, Programmers, Inventory Managers, Procurement professionals, Office Managers, HR Professionals, just as well as portfolios work for the creative professions.

Artists, Musicians, Writers, Photographers, Advertising creative directors, Video producers, models, Actors/Actresses, Cameramen all have portfolios….why not you?

I’ve listed 7 ways you can easily create your own online portfolio:

Personal Website: Today’s technology makes building a portfolio easy. In the past, your only choice was to build your own website. Today, you can still build your own site, with web design tools that are given by your hosting company (recommendation: GoDaddy has design tools that make this easy). But you have many other choices.

MySpace: MySpace is made for hosting portfolios of content. You can attach video introductions, audio introductions, files like your resume, sample reports, power point presentations, Photos, videos of projects you’ve worked on, writing samples, and blog posts on MySpace.

Facebook: Facebook allows you to share content, by posting it on your main page, and allowing you to manipulate it.

Blogs: Blogs allow you to attach files, links, embed photos, video, audio into blog posts. You can host a blog for free at or Ning combines a personal webpage, places to attach content, blogs and social networks. You may need to know some rudimentary HTML, so it’s a little more technical than other options.

Interview on Demand: I reviewed this online service in April. Interview on Demand allows you present your resume, a video introduction, plus an online portfolio…all for free. Netvibes has an easy way to create your own free webpage and attach content. I’m sort of surprised that I haven’t seen this capability with Google, Yahoo, or MSN yet.

With all these options, when are you going to create a portfolio to show how you make spreadsheets sing? And then attach a audio file, so employers can hear YOU sing “Stairway to Heaven”?

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

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