Creating a Web Résumé or e-Folio

Imagine a musician playing her latest composition from the Internet or a teacher incorporating a video of his teaching style or a poet reading clips from her poetry on the screen or an entertainer demonstrating his latest dance steps. The creative juices are flowing! Web-based HTML résumés and portfolios (or e-folios) are the perfect place to showcase skills that are better seen (or heard) in all their glory.
As discussed in Chapter 1, if you are a computer programmer, Web site developer, graphic designer, artist, sculptor, actor, model, animator, cartoonist, poet, writer, or anyone who would benefit by the photographs, graphics, animation, sound, color, or movement inherent in a Web résumé or e-folio, then you should definitely read this chapter. If you don’t fall into one of these categories, read this chapter anyway, because you will be surprised how a portfolio can enhance your job search and help you manage your career even while you are currently employed.

A Web Résumé or an e-Folio

A Web résumé is simply your paper résumé converted to a Web site using HTML code (see the next chapter). It is rather basic without a lot of extra information.

Rather than having a single page on your Web site, however, a Web résumé is usually divided into sections that are accessed through hyperlinks from an introductory page—Career Objective, Summary, Skills, Experience, Education, Affiliations, etc. You can add information that you couldn’t include in your paper résumé, but the more information you add, the more like a portfolio your Web résumé will become.

If you have more information about your career than you can practically include in a résumé, then a Web portfolio is a great option for making this additional information available to a potential employer. An e-folio provides visible evidence of your knowledge, skills, abilities, and core competencies.

For years, in my own practice, I’ve been advising my clients to keep an “I Love Me” file with performance evaluations, job descriptions, letters of recommendation, thank you notes from customers, vendors, or supervisors, sales statistics, growth charts, writing samples, awards, honors, scanned product images, photographs, or even three-dimensional items that expand on or support the outline that is inherent in their résumés. If you have collected that information during your entire career, then you have the foundation for an e-folio that will help you sell your special abilities and manage your entire career. If you haven’t, then create an e-folio with whatever you do have or can get yours hands on now. It’s never too late to start collecting for your “I Love Me” file.

A Web résumé or e-folio is just another type of e-résumé, but it cannot take the place of your paper résumé, ASCII text e-mailable résumé, and MS Word file. In today’s busy world, most recruiters and hiring managers have so little time to read résumés that they are turning to e-mailed and scanned résumés and applicant tracking systems to lighten their load. Unless they are highly motivated, they won’t take the time to search for and then spend 15 minutes clicking their way through a multimedia presentation of someone’s qualifications, either online at your Web-based portfolio or on a CD-ROM you might mail to them with your e-folio.

But, it never hurts to add this networking tool to your job search. You can always direct your reader to your e-folio by listing the URL on your résumé, letterhead, and personal business card. That way, your reader has the option of going there for more information. Just don’t expect to get a job offer by simply creating a Web résumé or e-folio and waiting for a recruiter to find you.

The real purpose of an e-folio is to provide extra information for when a potential employer is trying to narrow down his or her applicant pool. You can even direct the hiring manager to your Web site during an interview. Your e-folio may just tip the scales when a hiring manager is trying to choose between you and someone else.

You never know when someone will “Google” you before an interview. All a hiring manager needs to do nowadays is to enter your name in any major search engine and see what pops up . . . or doesn’t! Hopefully what he or she finds is good. If you want to control what that hiring manager sees, a well-designed and promoted e-folio is your answer. It allows you to control your online image.

An e-folio is also a great career management tool that you don’t have to save just for your job search. Imagine preparing for your annual performance evaluation with your current employer by reviewing the accomplishments you have collected in your “I Love Me” file and putting together either a paper-based or Web-based portfolio. When it is time to sit down with your supervisor and talk about what you have achieved this year, you can take control of the discussion by making a “sales presentation” of your accomplishments and tangible examples of work samples. What an impression you will make! You’ve got a raise!

But don’t wait for your annual evaluation to think about using this tool. Many companies have implemented performance assessment programs that are ongoing with periodic meetings throughout the year to assess goals, milestones, and incremental achievements toward objectives.

If your company isn’t that progressive and barely uses annual performance evaluations, let alone performance goal setting, then make yourself stand out in the crowd of other employees by being proactive. Develop your e-folio or paper portfolio and set the meeting with your supervisor yourself. Take charge of your career path and show your entrepreneurial spirit. Remember that entrepreneurship is all about “ownership,” and you can own your career whether or not you own the business for which you work. This kind of independent thinking is often rewarded with promotions and/or pay increases that reflect your value to the company. It also makes your job more secure, since you have proven value to your employer. With downsizing the norm in today’s workforce, the more valuable you are, the less likely you will to be laid off. Businesses are in the business of making money. If you make your employer more money than you cost to keep around, it just makes business sense that you will be retained.

Advantages of an e-Folio

You’ve heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That is the primary advantage of an e-folio. You can talk about what you’ve accomplished in words (either on paper or verbally) from now until doomsday, but nothing makes an impression like tangible, visual backup, especially today when so many recruiters and hiring managers are skeptical of claims made on résumés.

Most of us think of artists, models, actors, and photographers when we think of a portfolio, but that’s not the case today. Everyone should maintain a portfolio. More and more employers are asking to see concrete evidence of the experience, skills, education, and accomplishments shown on your résumé, especially during the interview. I’ve even had employers ask recent MBA graduates for copies of their school term papers or other special projects and writing samples.

Besides keeping your résumé in front of recruiters by being on the Internet all of the time, a well-planned e-folio is great for formal employment interviews, networking, informational interviews, performance assessments and evaluations on your current job, and admission to colleges and universities, among other functions. It is a professional self-marketing tool that can help you manage your entire career.

An e-folio is especially useful for entrepreneurs and consultants, since it can serve as a marketing tool for whatever products or services they sell. If you think about it, though, we should all be treating our careers as “entrepreneurial” ventures. When you take control of your career as a business owner controls his or her company, you make conscious choices about how to market your product—in the case of your career, that’s you. Your résumé becomes your print advertising and your e-folio is your online brochure that convinces a “buyer” to call you instead of the “competition.”

Another advantage of an e-folio is the first impression it makes. Dr. John Sullivan, Head Professor of Human Resource Management in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, says that “because portfolios take some effort, they demonstrate a degree of commitment on the part of the candidate that is not required in a résumé . . . so it improves the quality of new hires.”

Making a presentation with a portfolio gives you a leg up on your competition and makes it more likely that you will be noticed. Have you ever been asked in an interview, “Can you tell me a little something about yourself.”

Even if you have rehearsed your answer a million times, you probably floundered a bit, right. We have been taught all our lives not to brag, so blowing our own horn makes most people very uncomfortable.

Now, picture entering the interviewer’s office with a neat leatherette binder or CD-ROM in your briefcase. You shake hands and have a seat. The dreaded question is asked, “Why don’t you tell me about yourself.” You answer, “I would like to show you instead.” You open your briefcase, remove the binder or CD-ROM, stand up, and walk around to the interviewer’s side of the desk. “As you noticed in my résumé, I have . . .” and you launch into your work history and accomplishments, turning the pages in the binder or clicking through the CD-ROM of your e-folio on your own laptop computer, pointing to key items to reinforce what you are saying. Now, you are in control of the interview. By the way, if the interviewer has Internet access and your e-folio is online, you don’t even need the CD-ROM, although I always recommend having a backup of your e-folio with you in either paper or digital format in case the interviewer’s Internet connection is down.

Using a portfolio like this during an interview makes it easier to highlight your planning, problem solving, critical thinking, and verbal communication skills, and it serves as a catalyst for discussion. This discussion provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate just what you can do for the company if you are hired and how quickly the company can generate a return on their investment in you.
The key to an effective portfolio is to research the company you will be interviewing with first. Determine what their needs might be and then select key items for your portfolio that you think would be of special interest to that employer. The portfolio you take to the next interview might be totally different, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be different if you are applying for the same types of jobs in the same or similar industries. However, you must be able to tell a coherent story with the information. Make sure there is a connecting thread so you can easily transition from one item to the next. Practice before the interview!

Portfolio Ideas by Job Type

Everybody’s portfolio will be different, especially across industries and job titles. Even when two people share the same position in the same company, they shouldn’t expect the contents of their portfolios to be the same. We each have our own unique backgrounds, qualifications, and accomplishments. However, there are some basic items that will appear in all portfolios.

1. A résumé—Your résumé (or bio in some cases) generally serves as the foundation of your e-folio. If it is well written, your résumé determines the basic outline for your Web site and helps you decide what sections to include. Don’t simply rehash your résumé verbatim in your e-folio, however, or there is no point to your Web site. Summarize and expand on your résumé with job descriptions, employer reviews, work samples, problem-solving examples, leadership examples, organizational charts, customer survey results, proposals, business plans, and so on.

2. Proof of achievements—
This can be charts or graphs if your accomplishments are quantifiable (like in sales and positions with P&L responsibility, i.e., bottom line), copies of publicity, articles you have written, photographs, videos, company newsletters, white papers, special projects, newspaper or magazine articles, thank you letters from supervisors/customers/vendors, performance evaluations with key accomplishments highlighted, honors, awards, and so on. If any of the information you want to use is copyrighted by someone else, you will need to get written permission to use it on your Web site first.

3. Credentials—
This is where you back up your education, special training, licenses, certifications, and other credentials with scanned images of your diplomas, certificates, transcripts (for some positions), and other proof documents. Lists of major course work and select projects might be included if you are a recent graduate with little experience.

4. Recommendations—
Scan your letters of reference from past employers, current supervisors, key customers or vendors, and other people who know your work well. Highlight key phrases or simply type a list of quotes with the person’s name, job title, and company. These third-party recommendations validate what you say about yourself in your own documentation.

It is easy to overdo both a hard-copy portfolio and an e-folio. It is sometimes hard to narrow down the items you want to include, so people have a tendency to make their portfolios much too long. Dr. Sullivan feels that a world-class portfolio has the following five characteristics:

1. It must be scannable in 15 minutes or less.
2. It sells you with your work and your ideas.
3. It is customized for each job and each company.
4. It includes and highlights your WOWs.
5. It excites the viewer.

Once your e-folio has the four basics, you can add other things to make it unique. Rather than repeat the items above for every industry, the lists below are in addition to your résumé, credentials, recommendations, and proof of accomplishments (although some items fall into this category just to give you more ideas). Use your imagination. These lists are just jumping off points for your own creativity, which is really what you are trying to display in your portfolio anyway.

Administrative Assistant
• Lists of technical competencies
• Examples of various document preparation skills—correspondence, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, forms, organizational chart, etc.
• Photos, agendas, budgets of events planned
• Letters of appreciation
• Certificates from classes, workshops, seminars, conferences

Antique & Art Dealer
• Areas of expertise
• Select finds and sources
• Valuation/appraisal experience
• Restoration experience with photos
• International travel
• Import/export
• Apprenticeships and other hands-on experience
• Education and credentials
• Letters or comments from clients

Apartment Manager
• Photos of properties
• Size and types of units (luxury, family, senior citizen)
• Amenities
• Construction or renovation
• Occupancy rates
• Special promotions, events, and open houses
• Activities for residents
• Graphics representing impact on the bottom line

• Drawings, photographs, blueprints
• Styles
• Honors and awards
• Media coverage
• Professional affiliations
• Presentations
• Letters from satisfied customers and builders
• Acknowledgments from peers
• Parade of Homes participation

• Includes painters, sculptors, illustrators, designers, cartoonists, or anyone producing a visual art
• Mediums
• Education and special training
• Photographs of art work
• Published works
• Reviews in magazines, newspapers, and other publications
• Lists and photographs of exhibitions
• Representations
• Museum collections
• Descriptions of style and artist philosophy
• Hyperlinks to online displays of art work

• Sports
• Media coverage
• Records and times
• Competitions
• Honors, awards
• Coaches, trainers

• Areas of specialty
• Credentials—diplomas, licenses, etc.
• Track record of success
• Client testimonials
• Lists of significant cases
• Bar and court admissions
• Presentations
• Professional affiliations
• Volunteer work

• Menus
• Photographs of plated dinners and banquet presentations
• Thank you notes from customers
• Certificates of completion from special training programs
• Participation in stages and international programs
• Reviews in magazines, newspapers, and other publications
• Honors, awards, contests, chef’s tables

Computer Professional
• Photographs of software packages or manuals
• Examples of unique or difficult code and its result
• Screen shots of GUI interfaces
• Charts and graphs that show increases in productivity or profitability as a result of the finished product
• Technical skills divided into types
• Special projects
• Technical documents produced

• Areas of specialty
• Photos of completed projects
• Honors, awards, parade of homes, etc.
• Proof of licenses and bonding
• Letters from satisfied customers
• Community participation
• Professional affiliations

Customer Service Representative
• Letters from satisfied customers
• Awards for exceeding quotas
• Customer service scores
• Personality tests (like Myers-Briggs) that show an aptitude for working with people

• Negotiations, conflict resolutions, treaties
• Languages, cultures
• Special events
• Media coverage
• White papers, publications
• Pictures with famous people
• Noteworthy speeches and other presentations

• Credentials are very important in this industry—education, degrees, training
• Areas of expertise—energy, inflation, imports, employment, monetary policy, consumer theory, markets, profits, costs, public policy
• Examples of research and analysis
• Expertise with statistical analysis software
• Sample spreadsheets, graphs, charts
• Publications
• Presentations
• Publicity

• Education and special training
• Writing samples
• List of own published works
• Types of editing—fiction, creative nonfiction, trade, nonfiction
• Editing samples—both hard copy and digital
• Titles of books edited

• Drawings
• Schematics
• White papers
• Research
• Education and credentials
• Media attention
• Honors and awards

Event Planner
• List of functions
• Venues
• Entertainment
• Menus
• Photos of decorations
• Thank you letters and other kudos
• Print promotions, invitations, newspaper coverage
• Video clips
• Executive summary
• Management philosophy
• Charts and graphs reflecting impact on the bottom line and performance improvement data
• List of business competencies showing levels of expertise
• Description of a major problem, your solution, and the result
• Leadership examples
• Organizational charts showing subordinate personnel and areas of responsibility
• Affiliations and professional memberships with any leadership positions

• Certifications
• Areas of expertise
• Education and training
• Professional development
• Community involvement
• Special projects
• Professional affiliations
• Promotion record

Flight Attendant
• Photographs—head shot and full-body shot
• Special training
• Letters of appreciation from customers
• Recognition from supervisors
• Routes—domestic or international
• Languages and cross-cultural experience

• Lots of photographs that show quality of work
• Examples of different styles and types of arrangements
• Artistic designs using other media besides flowers
• Comments from satisfied customers

• Photographs, photographs, photographs!
• Show dogs and champions
• Styles
• Humane treatment philosophy

• Lists or photos of hotels or restaurants managed
• Growth charts showing proof of impact on the bottom line
• Occupancy rates
• Letters of appreciation from satisfied guests
• Property improvements / construction / renovation
• Operating improvements
• News coverage
• Grand openings

Human Resources
• Employee benefits packages
• Interview worksheets
• Motivational and training programs
• Union negotiations
• Documentation of faster hiring or better retention
• Proof of lower costs for the hiring process
• Industry association participation
• Implementation of new technologies to manage the hiring process

Inventor or R&D
• Areas of expertise
• Patents
• Photographs of inventions
• Professional associations
• Presentations and academic assignments
• Publications and white papers
• Media coverage

• Photos! Photos! Photos!
• Design specialties—rings, necklaces, bracelets
• Materials expertise—gold, silver, platinum, precious stones, stone cutting, jewelry repair
• Testimonials from customers

• Proof of product development
• Charts and graphs showing process improvements
• Implementation of new technologies and processes
• Safety improvement
• Quality control
• Volume increases
• Schematics, blueprints, designs, technical drawings

• Marketing plans
• Advertising programs (video, print, voice)
• New media productions (Web sites, CD-ROMs)
• Focus group design and results
• Proposals
• Photographs
• Results, results, results!

• Areas of specialty
• Photos of body work or design
• Certifications
• Testimonials from satisfied customers
• Location of shop with map

• Religious philosophies
• Family photos
• Personal information about children and spouse
• Sermon outlines
• List of topics
• Letters and comments from church members and leaders
• Presentations and special teaching assignments
• Media coverage
• Video clips or radio broadcasts

• Photos, photos, photos!
• Copies of magazines or newspaper coverage
• Fashion show advertisements and runway shots
• Specialty areas
• Languages, singing, acting, musical instruments, sports, etc.
• Video tapes of commercial spots, movie appearances, etc.

Museum Cirator
• Special events with invitations, photos, media coverage
• Lists and photos of special exhibits
• Fund-raising results
• Speakers acquired
• Permanent exhibits and acquisitions
• Capital improvements
• Advertising and promotions, including brochures, museum literature, television, radio, and print campaigns

• Recordings of performances and/or compositions made into sound files for the e-folio and CD-ROM
• Reviews in magazines, newspapers, and other publications
• Conservatory and special training programs
• Performances
• Honors, awards, contests

Nonprofit Sector
• Fund raising
• Event planning
• Capital campaigns
• Volunteer management
• Areas of specialty
• Low turnover of employees and volunteers
• Publicity, media coverage

• Photos! Photos! Photos!
• Genre specialties
• Recognitions, honors, awards
• Exhibits (both solo and group)
• Purchases—museum, gallery, business, individual
• Media reports and reviews

Physician, Nurse, or other Healthcare Practitioner
• Licenses and other credentials
• Degrees
• Research projects
• Grants, awards, and honors
• Patient testimonials
• Philosophies
• Academic appointments and teaching assignments
• Publications
• Presentations
• Professional affiliations
• Community service

Police Officer
• Special projects and committees
• Community involvement
• Areas of expertise
• Education and special training
• Awards and honors

• Education and credentials are very important
• Courses developed and taught
• Research and development
• Professional presentations
• Publications—books, journals, and other periodicals
• Special committees and projects
• Student evaluations
• Administrative responsibilities
• Awards, honors, and other recognition
• Community involvement

Project Manager
• Lists of projects
• Outcomes
• Processes—needs analysis, resource allocation, project scheduling, product development, budgets, implementation
• Letters from satisfied customers (internal and external)

Radio Broadcaster
• Audio clips of shows, promos, jingles, etc.
• Expertise with digital editing equipment and other technology
• Examples of original scripts, journalism, and other writing
• Community outreach
• Promotions

Real Estate Agent
• Sales achievements—graphs, awards, honors
• Areas of specialty
• Success stories with photographs
• Client comments

Recent Graduate
• Diplomas
• Scholarships, grants, awards, honors
• Samples of class papers, projects, reports, videos
• Transcripts or lists of relevant courses
• Course descriptions to add keywords and depth
• Teacher evaluations
• Community service projects
• Clubs, honor societies, fraternities, and leadership positions

• Types of products sold, customers, and territories
• Documented achievements—increased revenue or profits
• Charts and graphs
• Significant account acquisition
• Number of leads generated and converted
• Closing ratio
• Letters from customers
• Sale team-building exercises
• Training and motivation programs developed and presented
• Results, results, results!

• Areas of specialty
• Special projects
• Inventions
• Patents
• Professional affiliations
• Honors, awards, or other special recognition
• News reports
• White papers
• Research
• Grants
• Presentations

Social Services
• Areas of specialty
• Credentials, licenses, diplomas
• Testimonials from clients helped
• Professional affiliations
• Volunteer work

• Video of key presentations
• Areas of expertise
• Topics, prices, and schedules
• Honors, awards, accolades
• Future speaking engagements
• Past audiences
• Invitations to share your expertise
• Thank you letters
• Membership in speaker organizations
• Photographs of you in action
• Brochures from events

• Teaching philosophy statement
• Lesson plans, syllabi, curricula
• Photographs of bulletin boards and learning aids
• Staff development projects
• Examples of special challenges and how you overcame them
• Credentials are really important in this industry—degrees, transcripts, continuing education
• Examples of community partnerships, legislative or volunteer work, and special committees
• Student portfolios or other proofs of your legacy
• Affiliations and professional memberships

Television Newscaster
• Lists of major stories covered
• Writing examples
• Video clips
• Areas of specialty—hard news, breaking news, feature stories
• Professional head shots
• Promotional materials created by the station

• Writing examples
• Lists of special projects
• Areas of specialty
• Languages and levels of proficiency
• Teaching or tutoring programs developed and presented
• Letters of appreciation

Web Designer
• Web sites, Web sites, Web sites!
• Show off your designs
• What makes them unique•
• Java scripts, flash graphics, e-commerce features
• Letters from satisfied clients
• List of technical competencies
• List of projects and clients with hyperlinks to their sites

• Poems
• Excerpts from published works
• Media coverage
• Reviews
• Copies of articles in newspapers and magazines or hyperlinks to the online version of the article

Portfolio Sample

Kirsten Dixson, co-author of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand, develops unique, executive-level portfolios that she calls “personal brand portals.” Kirsten agrees that “an e-folio is much more eff ective when it does more than just reiterate a person’s paper résumé.” She is also adamant that the design of the website doesn’t detract from its message. For samples of sophisticated e-folios, check their Web site at
P.O. Box 244, Hurdle Mills, NC 27541
Tel: (919) 245-3525  •  Fax: (919) 869-2020

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