If you are marketing yourself, you need an online presence. Even if you don't have the time or skills to develop a sophisticated website, you can still create an effective online presence for yourself. This page will discuss several methods of creating web-based portfolios. It will also provide some thoughts about creating a PDF portfolio that you can email if necessary. Finally, at the bottom of the page, you will find some examples from Pitt students and alumni as well as guides that can help you create an effective online portfolio.
Before you start, take out your resume and your hard copy portfolio and do some planning. What do you want readers to see? Your resume sections may suggest the webpages that you can create. What examples will be compelling? If you are putting material online, you can include more examples (though you still want to choose the strongest and best examples that you have available). If you plan to instead create a PDF that you can email, you'll need to think about how large the file can be before it is cumbersome to email or download.
You have a lot of options for creating web-based portfolios.
LinkedIn. An easy step toward creating an online presence and making your resume and portfolio accessible to potential employers or customers is LinkedIn. If you are a PPW student, you are welcome to join the PPW Alumni group on LinkedIn during your final year before graduation (or any time afterward). LinkedIn offers both free and "pro" versions (the versions you pay for allow you to do more networking among people with whom you are not already connected). You can add applications that will allow you to share files (i.e., work samples), PowerPoint slides, and more on your profile page. LinkedIn offers a lot of networking possibilities, and your page will be searchable both within LinkedIn and via search engines like Google.
Free, user-friendly options. You can use existing website publishing platforms that are designed to allow you to quickly compose and publish webpages without the expense of purchasing design software.
- Google Sites
- Blogger or WordPress
Many of these sites will allow you to use your own domain name rather than the free one they provide, if you wish to have a URL that is easier for people to remember. A domain name (such as www.yourname.com) costs less than $20 a year.
Designed Website hosted on a Server. The option that requires the most time, expense, and work is to actually design the site using a software package like Dreamweaver. While you have a Pitt student i.d., you have access to Adobe's Creative suite—including Dreamweaver along with Photoshop and other programs that allow you to create sophisticated designs.
If you create a PDF portfolio, you will have an attractive version of your resume and work samples that you can email or that visitors to your site can download with one click.
Simple PDF Portfolio
You can make a PDF portfolio either by placing all the pieces in an MSWord file and then making a PDF, or by using Adobe Acrobat to allow you to combine multiple PDF files. The latter option is especially good if you have clips that you want to show in their original form (a magazine story you have written, for example), since you can simply scan them (scanners are available for your use in the computer labs).
Designed Portfolio in PDF Form
If you have design skills, you can use a program like InDesign to create a complete magazine-like package. This option is good for people seeking work in fields where originality and creativity are especially valued (readers in more conservative fields may find such pieces too individualistic).
Sample Portfolios by Pitt Students and Alumni
- Nathan Deron's site showcases his governmental and nonprofit writing, along with many samples from his internship at Sampsonia Way.
- Brady Langmann's site showcases his journalistic pursuits with magazines, blogs, and papers.
- Kira Russell's site highlights her public relations and media work.
- Shawn Cooke's site showcases various articles he has written about pop culture.
- Kelly Fomalont's site showcases her writing for volunteer and non-profit organizations.
- Michelle Reagle has created a site that showcases her writing, design, and art.
- Raechelle Landers designed a site that presents her resume and several examples of her writing for class, for an internship, and for The Pitt News.
- Alissa Persichetti's site shows off her professional and sport writing as well as her media work.
- Maggie Giuffrida created a site that allows her to present work she has done during internships and classes.
- Amelia Ohm's site presents her multimedia work as well as her writing, design, and photography.
- Amy Friedenberger’s site allows her to show off her writing and her work in multimedia.
- Vaughn Wallace has created a site that showcases his skill in photojournalism and his writing.
- Sarah Kotzman designed a sophisticated website that shows off her work in design, video, and photography.
- Pitt alumna Allison O'Konski used InDesign to create a designed piece that she can share as a PDF. It presents her knowledge and abilities along with specific examples.
Advice and Tips from Other Universities
- Some guidelines for developing online portfolios from Penn State University
- Michigan State University Guide to Digital Portfolios
- A list of platforms for developing your online presence from Columbia Journalism School