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Student Highlight: Spotlight on Digital Portfolios

Spotlight on Digital Portfolios

Marketing communications professionals and students produce a lot of content throughout their careers, for both coursework and clients. Having a place to host and organize all of this content can aid in job interviews, award applications and the ability to quickly refer to past projects for creative inspiration.

One effective to showcase content and skills is to create a digital portfolio website. These webpages make it easy to customize the content your showcasing, link published pieces and quickly share an entire portfolio without having to reassemble repeatedly. For those who have never created a digital portfolio, are looking to update their current portfolio or interested in how others approach this project, here are some tips from the WVU Marketing Communications network:

Heather Vaughan, M.S. Integrated Marketing Communications

Adjunct Professor, Media Studies at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Marketing Specialist/Consultant-freelance, Professional Spokesperson-50 Floor

Heather Vaughan

What platform/program did you use to create your digital portfolio?

An assortment of platforms such as Wordpress, Adobe Indesign, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as YouTube.

Why did you decide to create a digital portfolio?

Currently, it is a necessity, especially as an educator. My students immediately go to the web to look up me as well as my credentials. Plus, media is a field constantly changing. If you aren’t up to date with your portfolio then how can you successfully market yourself or your product?

What do you think is the most important thing to include in a digital portfolio?

I think there are five key elements to include: Name, contact info, skillset, imaging or video of your work, and a golden nugget. A nugget is what sets you apart from the competition-something that will not be forgotten. For example, I often disclose I am an avid equestrian, along with some pics of me on or working with my horses. The nugget does not have to be the same every time and can morph depending on the job opportunity. Years ago, I wanted to land a large veterinary client (I am still their marketing director to this day) so my nugget was horses as well as my overall love for animals. Upon entering Academia, I changed my nugget to my passion for Foreign Language. I can speak Spanish, English, American Sign Language and a little Italian. Its important to stand out in a positive manner!

How has owning a digital portfolio helped you land a professional opportunity?

Having a portfolio online has helped me land new clients and showcase my on-camera abilities. It’s a great point of reference and reinforces my credibility in the industry as well as with students.

Patrick Delaney, M.S. Integrated Marketing Communications

Congressional Staffer

Patrick Delaney

What platform/program did you use to create your digital portfolio?

Wix. The platform was extremely easy to use, and I'm still on the free version. I highly recommend using it. However students and professionals begin the they should start a small page, even just for themselves. Most platforms have auto save backups, so users can play around with new looks and different functionality without the fear of "breaking" anything. For me, the best learning comes from getting in and tinkering with something until it's what I want. I usually spend 20-30 minutes a week in the back end of the site messing around with content and different looks.

Why did you decide to create a digital portfolio?

More broadly, one of the things I think a lot of professionals forget to do as they go about their day-to-day work is keep track of the great product and projects they're a part of along the way. I know that's a trap I've fallen into a lot throughout my career. Process-wise, that breaks down to amassing your body of work as it happens, rather than after the fact as you try to build out a resume package when applying for a new job. For me, it means a place where I can collect good on-the-record clips, writing samples and other pieces of my work as I create them.

What do you think is the most important thing to include in a digital portfolio?

Think of the portfolio as a living cover letter and resume package. Whereas those things are simply documents, the portfolio exists in a way that allows you to narrate the visitor through them. For example, on my site, I have my resume available for download as a PDF, but the resume page itself is me talking briefly and in a top-line fashion about what each job meant for me along the way. Having that first-person voice customizes your materials in a way standalone documents wouldn't otherwise.

How has owning a digital portfolio helped you land a professional opportunity?

I built the portfolio as I started to appear in more stories and do more writing in my last job. It has since served as a repository for those things, and as I looked at pursuing the role I'm in currently, it was easy to point to those pages on the site as a home for the best pieces of work that I'd done. Otherwise, I would have relied solely on reputation and word of mouth. Those things are clearly and undeniably important, but pairing them with a place that employers can see the work product firsthand and know what they were getting with me as an employee made my candidacy that much stronger.

Amber Hoffer, M.S. Integrated Marketing Communications

Database Technician II

Amber P. Hoffer

What platform/program did you use to create your digital portfolio?

Google Sites

Why did you decide to create a digital portfolio?

A digital portfolio is digital; you can never lose it. Physical portfolios can be damaged if you drop them. You can lose them. The digital portfolio stays online and is always accessible. It's also unlimited in what you can display. Documents, photographs, and videos can all stay in your digital portfolio. You can add to it at any time and feature your current work.

What do you think is the most important thing to include in a digital portfolio?

The most important thing to include is a touch of your personality. Resumes and CVs only give your potential employers a bit of information. A digital portfolio can help you showcase who you are.

Interested in viewing more digital portfolio sites? Check out the Integrate Online: Career Boost page for the "Building Your Portfolio Site" workshop to see more examples and watch the session recording about creating digital portfolios.


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