In the digital age, technical and web skills have become more and more important in the world of public relations. In college, students are taught the importance of developing a resume and portfolio. Although a tangible portfolio is required, digital portfolios are becoming essential in standing out in a competitive field.
Lately I’ve been spending time developing and experimenting with my digital portfolio and have learned some things the hard way, but I’m happy with the end result. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. Develop a vision.
Create goals to guide you through the process before you start working on your portfolio. When I first started, I didn’t really know what I wanted and ended up making a list of links displaying my work on my WordPress blog. After months of reorganizing and including photos, I finally decided I wanted something more visually appealing. After a lot of research, I decided on Wix.com because it had a lot to offer.
2. Find the key pieces you want to highlight.
As I was sorting through my portfolio, I chose a theme that highlighted projects. This outlined a simple way to sort my portfolio pieces by internship or media outlet. I found this helpful in explaining my experience. Remember, you’re telling a story. It’s important to remember that in choosing key pieces to highlight your online portfolio.
3. Don’t post anything that may be confidential.
Although your internship might give you opportunities to create awesome media plans or detailed projects, it’s important to take your employer’s confidentiality into consideration before publishing documents online. If you aren’t sure, ask your employer. He or she will probably respect that you value the privacy of the company.
4. Give credit where credit is due.
In public relations, projects are often collaborative. In your online portfolio, don’t take credit for design if you wrote the copy. Make sure to include descriptions of what you did and what you learned. Full disclosure is the most ethical route to take and will pay off in the long run.
5. Don’t let your hard work go to waste!
Online portfolios are hard work. When you’re done, don’t let your portfolio sit around on the Internet. Most sites have options for analytics or can be monitored in one way or another. Wix.com has SEO options that will help you reach your target online audience more effectively and market yourself. Insert hyperlinks to increase search-ability and make sure to include a link on your business card, Twitter account and LinkedIn. Buying your own domain name is also another way to strengthen your personal brand. Payment plans vary, but are generally pretty affordable for young professionals hoping to put themselves out there.
I’m not an expert by any means, but my portfolio can be found online at www.laurenfrock.com.