How to Build a Portfolio in College That Will Lead to a Good Career

How to Build a Portfolio in College That Will Lead to a Good Career


Most college students have an end-goal in mind when they enter college. They want a job when college is done. Many will go the traditional route—they’ll attend job fairs, fill out job applications, and search the job boards. None of these activities are bad. Many are effective. However, the smartest job seekers leverage the advantages that they have to get jobs and start careers. If you’d like to up your game in the job market, plan on doing these four things:

1. Internships and Networking

According to Snagajob, internships are powerful career builders. Aside from giving you some work-related skills, they also give you an opportunity to network. Many times, the jobs that advance your career won’t get posted on career websites. Instead, you’ll get an interview because someone knows you. Internships introduce you to these key players.

2. Online Portfolio

With drag-and-drop website and blog tools like WordPress, anyone can have a website. However, you should definitely have one if you’re a job seeker. It should include a portfolio of your work to attract would-be employers. Personal websites are fast becoming the Internet’s version of the calling card.

If you’re not sure where to start with this, keep a few things in mind. You want your portfolio to look impressive and not to have any web design mistakes. It’s the first impression of you that many potential employers will get. However, you should avoid the five most common website mistakes when they’re creating their websites. Among these are too many fonts and too much text. Take this instruction to heart if you’re including an online resume. Include plenty of white space to make the text more readable. As for the fonts, use no more than two on a page and three max throughout your website for continuity and clean design.

3. Research Projects

Your research area demonstrates your expertise, particularly if you’ve been published. The Chron website has some suggestions for how to put your research experience on your resume.

First, if you’ve done scholarly research, make a separate section for that on your resume. Put the most important research projects at the top of the list. Second, put a description of each research project on your resume as well. Finally, be sure to cite what role you played in the project and where and when you conducted the research.

Your research demonstrates that you are capable of becoming a thought leader in your field. Publishing and researching a great deal while you’re still in school also demonstrates that you can keep up with a demanding publishing schedule. This is an important consideration for tenure-track university appointments. However, even Google has researchers that contribute to the conversation about computer science and other important topics. That being the case, doing research can help your career whether you’re in academia or in the corporate world.

4. Social Media and SEO

Nowadays, it’s understood that potential employers will search for you on social media and on the web. If you’ve established your own website – as is suggested earlier in this post – you earn a point. However, if you’re not practicing effective SEO, you lose a point. These days, SEO and a social media presence really go hand-in-hand when it comes to establishing your professional presence on the web.

Both of these online tools help potential employers find you. As Dr. Patrick Lowenthal of Boise State has pointed out, if Google can’t find your work, then your work is irrelevant. The same could be said for if your potential employers can’t find you.

Nowadays, many tools exist to help potential employers find you, the job-seeker. Doing research and getting internships connect you with would-be employers in the real world. Building your own website as well as establishing a social media presence assist them in finding you on the web. While it takes time to build a reputation as a thought leader in your field, it isn’t impossible, especially if you begin while you’re still in school.

Career Planning reference:

finding the best opportunity

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