ePortfolios & Demos Show Employers What They Want

February 10th, 2015 | Articles, Job Search, Resume | No Comments »


Employers probably aren’t aware of what truly makes you a great employee. Even if your resume and interview paint a vivid picture of your exceptional skills, you’re still explaining the Aurora Borealis to someone who’s never seen its iridescent lights. Words can win, but firsthand experience with your skills is far more convincing.

Since you can’t arrange for employers to shadow you (without an overt admission to your boss you’re job hunting), you have to find other ways to “show instead of tell.” That’s why you should consider including a demo project or ePortfolio with every application you send.

Going Beyond Traditional Applications

Resumes aren’t without their value. Your greatest achievements, biggest lessons, and technical expertise offer a solid retrospective. However, they’re darts hitting the outer rings, not the bullseye’s center.

Even the interview, though valuable, primarily demonstrates your communication skills and your ability to think on your feet. The main question on an employer’s mind is what can you actually do within a position at my business? Typically, that goes under-answered.

Unlike most of the application process, demo projects and ePortfolios don’t just allude to what you can do. They give examples in a clear and targeted way.

The ePortfolio

Though certain careers are better suited to the portfolio (web developers, graphic designers, marketing specialists, technical writers, etc.), anyone can use them. Digital portfolios are customizable and expand upon your work in ways that resumes, interviews, and even LinkedIn profiles can’t achieve.

Success is partially in the presentation. Like the rest of the application process, your work needs an appealing aesthetic. Employers won’t be grabbed by hyperlinks on a blank page. Build a webpage to host your work, or if you aren’t an adroit coder, find a free site to host it. Yet your portfolio shouldn’t be an unchanging piece.

Nothing in an ePortfolio should be entirely reused. Think of it as a mosaic. Ceramic tiles can be used from one to the next, but the overall pattern needs to vary per project. Successful job seekers don’t send the same stock resume to employers.

Before you ever send a digital portfolio, you need to do your homework. All the information you’ll need will be in the job description, the about us page, and websites like Glassdoor. Then, narrow your ePortfolio down to projects that:

  • showcase the required technical skills
  • prove your creativity meshes with the team’s mentality
  • present your problem solving skills

Once you have a list of noteworthy project, it’s time to arrange it in an appealing way. Whether they’re visually appealing links directly to your work or case studies you’ve written about your success, make sure to place the most important at the top. Lead with your best foot and employers will open up the door to you.

The Demo Project

Exceptional demo projects directly tell employers what you intend to do for them. Anyone in any industry can benefit from this tool, but it can be especially helpful to those changing careers.

Research is key. Everything you know about the company, their clients, and the overall industry needs to be melded together into your final product. Possible demo projects:

  • A demo graphic design campaign geared toward one of their major clients.
  • A mockup of new web features that can improve their existing web platform
  • A proposal that will help boost sales or curb costs.

Your primary objective is to provide something that entices without handing out your best ideas on a silver platter. Give the synopsis of your vision and some bullet points, but make employers meet you halfway.

To learn more about how you can benefit their company, they need to bring you in for an interview. Then, you need to deliver the goods. Keep in mind, however, that peacocking beforehand and then failing to deliver substance will outright ruin your chances at any company.

The End Result

Seeing is believing and nothing helps employers achieve that more than demo projects and strong ePortfolios. Best of all, if the tactic works, you have the groundwork for a project that you can start on day one. That’s one great way to start your first 90 days.

by James Walsh

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