If You’re a Student, You Should Have an E-Portfolio

Sometimes, your resume and cover letter may not be good enough.  These documents are not necessarily representative of what one is capable of, especially in creative positions.  This isn’t suggesting that you should carry a folder containing all of your past work with you at all times.  If you’re looking to further capture future employers’ interests, as well as showcase years of hard work, an e-portfolio is a good way to go.

Many students are turned off by the idea of e-portfolios because they associate them with what they’re not.  An e-portfolio is not a simple scrapbook or a photo album that many people have access to.  E-portfolios are an interactive collection of works, displayed on the Internet, that demonstrates one’s capabilities that can’t necessarily be captured on a resume or cover letter.  E-portfolios are commonly associated with those seeking creative positions, such as graphic designers, copywriters, and photographers.  However, e-portfolios can be tailored to fit a wide variety of positions outside of the creative spectrum, such as educators, public relations specialists, and public speakers.

E-portfolios can be more than just a display piece.  Jake Byrne, a senior business (management) major and textile & apparel management minor, describes e-portfolios as a self-brand booster.  “The first rule to selling yourself is tailoring your image to the person who is buying,” says Byrne.  “By creating an online portfolio, you can give a holistic view of yourself to the point that your audience feels like they know who you are; if you present it in a creative and trendy manner, you are effective.”  Byrne states that he is not as interesting as he may be portrayed in his e-portfolio, Clash and Byrne, but honest content that is presented well may create that portrayal.

With all of this positive rhetoric about e-portfolios, you may want to get a head start on actually creating one.  The great thing about creating e-portfolios is that you don’t have to know a single line of computer code.  There are multiple services available for creating personal portfolios, but Kara Rinella, a Senior graphic design student at Mizzou, utilizes a couple of different platforms for her e-portfolio.  “I currently use Squarespace,” says Rinella.  “They offer an affordable student discount for your first year, and the site has an easy learning curve. There’s a wide variety of templates to choose from, and a lot of flexibility with the layout so you can really individualize your website.”   If money is an issue, free services such as Behance are easily accessible.  “Behance is Adobe’s online community for users to showcase and discover creative work,” says Rinella.  “I also have my designs on this website as well, because I like being able to share my own work with others, as well as view other creatives’ works.”

For more information about developing and showcasing e-portfolios, check out our E-Portfolio Pinterest Board.  For further inspiration, check out the portfolios of Jake Byrne and Kara Rinella, which are linked in the above article.