You make a portfolio with your resume and work samples and then submit it with your applications and cover letters in electronic format, the prospective employer contacts you via email, and in some cases you may even be interviewed over Skype or some other online conferencing software. The world of snail mail and telephone calls is gradually becoming a thing of the past.
If you find yourself in the job market during this troubled economy, you’ll want to position yourself to compete in a way that will capture the attention of prospective employers. In my experience, nothing impresses a person searching for a high-value employee more than when you inundate them with the overwhelming experience and background that you have in the industry.
In this article, I’m going to take a moment to walk you through how to make a portfolio using the online tool known as Protopage that features your background and your experience – and you can do it in less than 30 minutes, without knowing a single command in HTML.
Make A Portfolio Page That Will Shock & Awe
Protopage came in fourth place, just above iGoogle, in Aibek’s MUO ranking of the top 12 “start pages.” Personally, I don’t particularly like Protopage as a personal start page, because it currently lacks any very good plugins for the most popular services like email, Twitter and Facebook.
However, the strength of Protopage comes from two characteristics. First, the ease with which you can set up RSS feed widgets. It’s really just a matter of clicking on “Add Widgets” and then pasting the feed URL into the RSS field. The second is how insanely easy you can just slide feeds, text boxes, photos and more to any position on the page – reformatting the web page in a matter of seconds.
When you first sign up for a Protopage, you’ll find a bunch of default RSS feeds and widgets – just start deleting all of them, and to modify the tabs at the top, all you have to do is click on them and type replacement text. You can call the tabs whatever you like, and you can add any new ones that you think would be appropriate and useful for anyone checking out your profile.
To get started with adding content to make a portfolio that will attract attention, just start clicking on the “Add widgets” button – this is where all of the magic comes from.
In the widgets page – you won’t see the sort of connections to email, Facebook and Twitter that you’re used to. That’s not really the strength of Protopage. Where this online page-builder really shines is in aggregating feeds from the many websites throughout the web. In this case you’re going to want to add the feed of any website that you’re involved with or which showcases your work – whether it’s photography, writing, graphic design or anything else. This is how you make a portfolio featuring your online work. Adding a feed is as simple as pasting the feed URL into the News Feed field and clicking “Go.”
Formatting the feed window is easy, as you can see from the window above. After playing around a bit, I eventually went with “Headlines and previews”, “Regular Feed” and I retitled the widget to “Ryan Dube at MakeUseOf.” It’s nice to have RSS feeds on your page that feature thumbnails, as it adds a bit of color and interest to your portfolio page.
Share More Than Just RSS Feeds
Ideally, you want to set up your portfolio page much like you’d set up a bio on any website, featuring your image and details about you that will tell the prospective employer as much about you as possible within a single webpage. Uploading and inserting images to your page is, yet again, painlessly simple.
Just add a widget and choose “Photo” from the list. Upload the image, title it and then drag the resulting photo box to the place on your page where you’d like it to go. Personally, I like it best in the upper left corner, much like the Facebook profile page.
Now, just because there’s no integrated Twitter or Facebook widget doesn’t mean you can’t add them to your Protopage profile, it just means you have to dig a little deeper. For Twitter, just go to your profile page on Twitter and click on the RSS link on that page for the URL. Add the Twitter RSS feed into Protopage just as you did every other one.
Now, if you contribute to a large number of websites, there may be a few that you don’t really contribute enough to have a dedicated feed, but you do submit content that prospective employers may find of value. Provide quick links to your profiles at those pages using the “Bookmarks” icon. This provides a single box where all of the smaller, but still important, links provide the employer a place to quickly check out your work.
If you want to share content from a website where there’s no RSS feed, just choose the Web page widget and provide the URL. This actually embeds an actual web page, complete with scroll bars, directly into the page. To see this in action, just check out the embedded web page in the middle of my sample Protopage porfolio, which I’ve made public so you can have a look around.
If those aren’t enough tools for you to make a portfolio page you’d be proud of, then there’s also the comment box widget, which lets you write occasional comments, almost like mini-blogging, which gets published on the page at regular intervals. Of course, if you have a porfolio, then you need to provide your resume. I was very impressed by the Rich Text sticky note tool, which lets you create (or paste) formatted text, like your resume and embed it directly onto your page – complete with all appropriate formatting.
As you can see under “My Resume” I’ve used this feature to post a sample resume. As you can see, all of the formatting stayed exactly as it should. Without the need for HTML or any other Internet coding skills, you can make a porfolio that’ll make them do a double-take every time. It’s one thing to provide a resume and a few references, but it’s quite another to offer a comprehensive list of all of your past and current projects. If that doesn’t show them that you’re a disciplined, multi-tasking genius – nothing will.
Have you ever put together your own online porfolio? Did you stick to HTML, or did you use any online tools? What do you think of the Protopage solution? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.