Hi! I'm a journalism student working m way through the internship/entry level phase of my career and I was wondering--what's FJP's opinion on web-based resumes/portfolios? Have you seen any great examples of this new trend in self-marketing? Also, since you run a Tumblr, if web-curating is a dream of mine, how would I present those skills? I only have one Tumblr that's an aggregate of all things newsy/writey/etc along with my normal personal stuff. Advice? — Asked by doe-eyed-debtor

Hi there,

As I write this I have to pre-empt everything with the following caveat: do as I say and not as I do. Why? Because I pulled down my personal site about a month ago to give it a fresh coat of paint and still haven’t bought the brushes.

Anyway: Any job hunter in any profession that has anything to do with the Web, mobile, digital production, etc. should have an online portfolio that lets people see who they are, what they’re up to, what they’ve worked on, and what they think about.

I’m a market survey of one but when I’ve hired over the years I look at an individual’s online presence before ever looking at their resume. Doing so gives me an idea of the person’s overall sensibility and creativity. Then, if I’m enthused by what I see on a person’s blog and social media spaces I then move on to their resume/CV.

For a journalist, your site would include clips, photos, video, slide shows, audio and whatever else that’s relevant to what you eventually want to do and the skills you currently have.

Here’s the rub for people just starting out: clips and work examples are relatively scarce. This is expected. You are, after all, just starting out.

And this is where keeping a blog or a Tumblr comes into play.

Let’s step back into Ye Olden Days, back before there were easy-to-use platforms that you could use to show the world how and what you think about.

Back then getting started was a chicken and egg proposition. You’d apply for something and be asked to show your clips. But you didn’t have clips because you were just starting out, and you wouldn’t get clips until you someone overlooked that and took a chance on you.

That’s not true anymore. Want to be a science writer, start writing about it, start reporting about it, start curating about it. No one’s stopping you. Fashion more your thing? Do the same. More interested in the tech side of things? Start creating things and/or get involved in an Open Source project, and then write about what you’re doing and learning.

It takes some effort but that’s what we have to do. Block off 30 minutes a day to work on these things. Maybe even an hour.

After a month or a few you’ll be amazed by how much material you have to show people. You’ll also be amazed by how much you’ve personally learned by actually doing it.

If you’re like me you might need to take out a new blog/URL to do this. For example, if I sent people to my personal Tumblr they’d come away with the sense that I’m all about kittehs, lols and other oddities.

There’s no reason to stop blogging these things but make sure you have a “professional” online presence you can direct people to as well. Starting out by registering a domain name that represents the professional you is important here. Then follow the directions that a Tumblr or WordPress provides for mapping your blog to to that domain name.

Now, let’s go back to the resume: Present it in a couple of formats. For example, a PDF you can email, HTML that exists on your site, and if you want to get all fancy about it, you can create a visual resume as well that comes across more or less like an infographic of your experiences.

If you don’t have the design chops for this last part there are tools to make it so. Vizualize.me and Re.vu are just two. Both pull in information from your LinkedIn profile. And here’s an online review of each if/when you decide to do it.

Remember though to create the traditional, vanilla version. Many will want to see that and print it out. The visual CV is added bonus points that indicates that you have a bit of creativity and online savvy.

Hope this helps and best of luck moving forward. Have additional question? Please do keep in touch. — Michael

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