Online Portfolios Show More Than a Resume
when most people were just beginning to hear about the Internet, Richard Shin
had a personal web site and began storing examples of his work on what he'd
later use as an online portfolio.
Shortly after creating it, he put it to work in a job search. He was seeking
a position as a project manager at DIRECTV Inc., a broadcast satellite service
provider in El Segundo, Calif. "The person who hired me at DIRECTV said that my
web site was what put me over the edge because it demonstrated my enthusiasm and
interest in keeping up with current technology -- and using it," says Mr. Shin.
Later, after he took a year off to finish a master's degree while working
part time, he prepared for a new plunge into the job market. "I revamped my web
site, put my name and web address on a few job-search sites and by the next day,
I had two companies competing for me," says Mr. Shin. One of the two was
Centrifusion Inc., an e-business consulting firm in Chicago where he's now a
Growing numbers of professionals are creating web sites to house their resume
and samples of their work for recruiters and employers to browse. In April,
HomePage.com, an online home page provider based in Los Angeles, said more than
20% of the more than 100,000 people who had created home pages on its service
included their work history and resume material. By the end of the year, nearly
a third of its users are expected to provide career-related or small-business
information at their sites, says Tim Cahill, chief executive officer of
A resume doesn't tell the story a home page can, says Mr. Cahill. "A person
can do much more than tell their work history and hobbies. They can give an
employer a chance to see samples of work, have quotes from people they have
worked with, set up links with references and more," says Mr. Cahill. "An
employer can really get to know a person in-depth at their home page. It's
proving that it can tell a complete story."
Michael Kranitz, president of Driveoff.com, an automotive e-commerce company
in Denver, created a personal web site in 1996 when he wanted to switch from a
career in law to e-commerce. He developed a digital resume that included his
legal experience, samples of images and sites he developed, his
business-development and educational background and a list of honors and
"The site was broken down into six sections and employers could go into the
information as deeply as they wanted," says Mr. Kranitz. "I also included an
executive summary so they could quickly see my professional history if they
didn't want to browse the entire site."
Confidentiality was one reason Mr. Kranitz opted for an online portfolio. He
made his site password-protected and gave the password to only carefully chosen
"Having my own site and giving the password to only certain recruiters was
important to me at the time because I was a gainfully employed lawyer looking to
get out of the profession," says Mr. Kranitz. "I wanted a change, but I didn't
want to damage my reputation as a lawyer in the meantime."
Keeping an online portfolio can be a low-profile alternative to an active
job-search campaign, says Pat Kendall, author of "Jump Start Your Online Job
Search in a Weekend" (Prima Publishing, 2000). "A web resume and portfolio is
really helpful for executives because they can choose whom they give their URL
to and only those people will know that they're looking for a job," she says.
Bypassing job-search databases and being selective about who sees your resume
also eliminates the hassle of being contacted by recruiters for inappropriate
job opportunities. Moreover, your employer won't find your resume while scanning
job sites for dissatisfied employees. Mr. Kranitz says Driveoff.com is one of
many employers that do this routinely. "It's our way of making sure our
employees are happy and if they're not, we can sit them down and try to work
things out so they remain with the company," he says.
You'll also avoid the problems of e-mailing resumes. "Sending a resume as an
attachment to an e-mail can be a method fraught with problems" such as viruses,
transmission errors and file incompatibilities, says Michael Bloom, president of
iAmaze Inc., a web-based applications provider in San Francisco. "By sending a
URL, an executive is simply pointing people to a site where the information will
be consistent and, hopefully, always error-free."
Another benefit is the ability to update the site as you accumulate
additional experience. "People can allow recruiters to always see their latest
work," says Alan Chang, chief executive officer of iAmaze.
Most senior executives are likely to hire someone to prepare their online
portfolios, says Wendy Enelow, president of Career Masters Institute, an
executive-consulting firm in Richmond, Va. "Even if someone is the CEO of a
technology company, he or she may not already have the skills to do it without
someone else's help."
Hiring someone to create an online resume can run anywhere from $50 to $150,
says Ms. Kendall. But if an executive wants an elaborate web portfolio, it can
ExecutivePortfolio.com charges $1,800 to develop web-based portfolios for
executive job seekers. "We develop all of the content for the executives and
allow them to keep the finished product on our site for employers to browse,"
says Ms. Enelow, who founded the site. "Each person might have around 10 to 15
pages in their portfolio including their photograph and short synopsis,
downloadable resume, html resume, executive leadership profile, career and
leadership achievements, technology skills, letters of recommendation and [an
e-mail] link to the candidate."
But if you want to do it yourself, you don't have to be bona fide web
designer to create an impressive, effective site given the easy-to-use software
available. "If someone knows how to type a document using Microsoft Word,
they're halfway there. Learning how the programs work is very simple and most
people catch on very quickly," says Todd Gitlin, chief executive officer of
Career Creations Inc., a career web site in Sacramento, Calif.
There are also automated resume-writing sites. For example, CareerFolios.com
has nine design templates and 80 resume categories to choose from. Many of these
automated sites also act as hosts, allowing candidates to simply refer potential
employers to the site or forward a URL that will take them directly to their
digital resume and work samples. This is a less-expensive alternative to hiring
a professional digital resume writer and paying a monthly host fee.
CareerFolios.com has a one-time fee of about $40.
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