hand pressing Social Network iconYou decided that you need a stronger online presence for your job search. First, you scrubbed your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Next, you went over to LinkedIn, completed your profile, joined a few industry and job search groups, and requested recommendations and endorsements from your former colleagues.

That’s a good start and should help your cause. Still, a strong LinkedIn profile with dozens of endorsements is too commonplace to set you apart from everyone else in the job seeking world. To set yourself apart online, you need to move beyond LinkedIn.

How? By creating an online portfolio.

What is an online portfolio?

An online portfolio is a website where you showcase your best work. It’s as simple as that.

What should you include in your online portfolio?

The work you include will be mostly professionale.g. SlideShare presentations, reports, and links to published worksbut can also be personale.g. nice photos you’ve taken, links to organizations you volunteer for, and so on.

If you’re a new grad or looking to transition into a new career, it would be advantageous for you to create mock samples to demonstrate your talent. For example, if you’re an aspiring graphic designer, create and include compelling graphics related to the industry you’re entering. If you’re trying to get into advertising, create a sample ad campaign relevant to your industry.

What else should you include?

Everything productive that you’ve been up to. For instance, rather than simply including volunteer experience on your resume as a line item, create an entire page on your site, complete with photos, tasks, outcomes, and so on. If you’ve been teaching yourself a new skill, then document what you’ve been learning and include visuals when possible.

If you have a presence elsewhere onlinefor instance, on social mediathen link to it. It’s fine if it’s not specifically work-related, so long as it’s appropriate.

How should you promote your digital portfolio?

Remember that 91 percent of hiring managers search for job applicants on their social networks, so make sure the link to your online portfolio is visible. Put it in your 150-word Twitter profile, in the “Websites” section on your LinkedIn profile, and in the “Website” section on Facebook.

The link should also go in the contact information section of your resume, and you should draw attention to it in all cover letters. If a job board allows you to include a link in your profile, then put it there as well. Finally, add it to your email signature.

If you wish to promote yourself even further on social media, then tweet or email your work to recruiters, industry leaders, and specific companies in which you’re interested. This would be particularly smart to do if you already developed sample campaigns for a given company or industry.

In the end, building a compelling online presence takes time, but it’s far more productive (and enjoyable) than applying to hundreds of jobs that you’re not qualified for or interested in.

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