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Create a professional profile or portfolio for job applications

A professional online profile or portfolio can help make a positive first impression with prospective employers and bring your career history and skills to life.

Many businesses and employers actively use social media platforms to develop professional relationships, grow business and recruit staff. LinkedIn is the main platform for professionals with millions of members worldwide. A LinkedIn profile enables you to add career examples and evidence, highlight key skills, share your employment history, connect with employers, and receive endorsements to enhance your career progression.

A professional portfolio is a collection of examples and evidence to showcase your experience, capability and potential for employment and professional development. Professions that might require you to present a portfolio at the recruitment stage include designers, product managers, developers, business analysts and journalists but it can help you stand out to employers in other sectors as well.

You can have a link to your profile or portfolio on your CV, include it in a job application or interview, or share it when making contacts.

Create a LinkedIn profile

To get started you need to sign up to LinkedIn and create your profile. Your profile acts like your digital CV and can be seen by a huge audience so it’s worth spending some time working on it. Below are some points to consider.

  • Make your profile as complete as possible. LinkedIn has five levels of profile strength ranging from 'Beginner' to 'All Star'. The strength of your profile will increase as you add more content to it.
  • Use the profile level meter to improve the discoverability of your profile in search results and increase profile search appearances.
  • Adding a profile photo will improve your profile views and connection requests. See 10 tips for taking a professional profile photo.
  • If you’re currently working, add your position on your profile. Members with current positions are discovered more in recruiter searches.
  • When your profile is complete, check your privacy settings and manage your public profile visibility.

For further help getting started with your profile see How Do I Create a Good LinkedIn Profile?

We don’t get around to building our brand because we’re busy, and because it can sometimes feel selfish or egotistical to invest time in marketing ourselves. However, when we neglect personal branding, we don’t just sell ourselves short – we also miss a big opportunity, from a sales perspective.

Jane Deehan - Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

As well as building your profile, if you want to achieve ‘All-Star’ status, you must have fifty or more connections. See our advice on Networking with LinkedIn to help you grow your network, plus LinkedIn has an online guide with a 5-minute video to help you find and add connections.

LinkedIn also offers a huge resource for job hunting and researching opportunities. See our advice on finding a job using LinkedIn.

Create an online portfolio

Your portfolio should contain written and visual overviews of projects and pieces of work that you’ve managed or been involved with. It should include an insight into skills you have, methods you've used, the impact of your work, along with any relevant outcomes and/or lessons you've learned. Identify relevant examples and evidence that best match the jobs or development opportunities you’re seeking. Make sure it’s easy for people to view your information, use plain English and check it for spelling and grammar.

What to include on your portfolio

  • Personal statement - this is an overview of your career journey, inspirations, background knowledge and career goals.
  • Reports, evaluations, research summaries or visual presentations (charts/tables etc.).
  • Published articles in which you're mentioned.
  • Photos of products you helped develop or artwork you've created for customers.
  • Photos of merchandise displays, if relevant.
  • Awards and certificates.
  • Appropriate professional licences.
  • Contact information for personal and professional references, or written endorsements from them.

Online portfolio tools, websites and templates

Careers and Employability Services do not endorse or support the sites listed but provide them as examples of online portfolio tools. Some websites will charge a subscription fee to create an online portfolio, whilst others may offer a free version.

An individual web page portfolio can be created with sites such as About me or for a multi-page portfolio, Portfolio Box which has a choice of templates for different sectors. You don't need extensive web skills, but you need to manage the website yourself and market and promote your portfolio. Blogs and templated sites such as WordPress provide a website building toolkit and allow you to have more control over your digital portfolio. Other tools for online portfolios include Weebly, Wix and Prezi.

The Prospects website has further advice on Putting together a creative portfolio.

How to make use of your profile or portfolio

You can promote your profile or portfolio on social networking sites including Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, and include it on your CV when making job applications. Many job sites allow you to upload your CV, which will be visible to employers, or you could send your CV to a prospective employer directly. Many sectors are continuously seeking the best candidates for employment opportunities but you may want to check whether an employer welcomes speculative applications or prefers not to receive CVs or portfolios unless a vacancy is advertised.

Many sectors, for example, psychology, have a professional body and website where practitioners can promote their service and provide any relevant specialist areas and contact details.

Remember your career is a work in progress so review and update your profile and/or portfolio at regular intervals with evidence of your continuous professional development (CPD).

Last updated 6 months ago