More and more employers are asking applicants if they have a website or other web presence that they can access easily. Managing your online image is crucial when almost all recruiters perform (Links to an external site.) an online search of a candidate before setting up an interview. By creating a professional online portfolio (and ruthlessly editing your web presence), you can develop a rich alternative for employers who want to see beyond your one-page resume.
Your online presence should be a showcase demonstrating a well-thought-out personal brand – who you are and what you can do for future employers, clients, or careers. Just like you did with your resumes and cover letters, you will choose certain skills, values, artifacts, etc., based on the professional brand or image you want to create for yourself. Remember, when you post your resume online, you are creating a “digital tattoo” or impression of yourself.
As part of your profile, you will write at least three online articles or blog entries that follow the guidelines for writing for the web, including the capacity for linking to a variety of online media. The purpose here is to think reflectively about current trends and topics being discussed in the broader business world outside of class, to engage more thoroughly with your own discipline and to begin to establish your sense of authorship on the web.
Consider this assignment to be a final exam for the course – utilize all the rhetorical strategies that we have discussed so far, including strong attention to audience and purpose; clear, effective prose; sophisticated application of organizational patterns, design elements, accessibility, readability, typography and more.
For this assignment you will create a website that illustrates your well-thought-out personal brand. Your website can be as simple or as deep as you would like it to be, but it will include the following:
- Text, content elements and design choices that consistently work to establish and promote your personal professional brand.
- A least one professional image of yourself. Your image should be styled according to the expectations in your field.
- Links to fully-optimized social media outlets. Your social media outlets, which have been updated and optimized with your consistent and appropriate personal brand, will feature prominently.
- At least 3 online articles. See Online Article Details.
Expect to fully utilize the electronic medium to create a fuller image of yourself for hiring and professional purposes. Make sure the overall impression is vibrant, substantial and worthy of notice. If you have questions about the scope of your assignment, please ask.
We recommend Sites.psu.edu; however, other platforms (Wix, Weebly, etc.) are also accepted. To publish posts on LinkedIn, choose the “Post” option on your profile.
Online Article Details
Topics: Topics within your major or field work best, but they don’t have to be – the purpose here is to show you are reading respected news sources and have intelligent things to say. The guiding principle will be this: Would you encourage potential employers or clients to read your blog entries?
What to Write: Identify the respected journal and news sources in your field. The best way to do this is to ask your major professors what they read to keep up-to-date with their professions.
The goal is to establish your “take” on the issues that currently affect your area(s) of interest. You will choose online articles that intrigue you, then indicate why you find this article/issue interesting or relevant (chances are the rest of us will too). What can you say about this particular topic? Why should the rest of us sit up and take notice?
These online articles should follow the conventions for writing for the web and effective visual rhetoric, including
- Prominently-placed main points, logical and obvious organization and short paragraphs (25-35 words).
- Well-written, thoughtful discussion of at least one referenced (and linked) online text. (Value-added posts will include additional links to credible and relevant sources.) Each entry should be between 300-600 words.
- Conversational, but still professional, tone.
- Attractive and compelling design, including an informative title and at least two headings to increase readability and accessibility.
- At least one relevant image, appropriately captioned and/or explained (unless it is obviously decorative). Visuals should be linked to their original sources.
I will evaluate your social media profile according to these criteria:
Content: The profile presents a carefully-crafted, consistent and professional personal brand. The profile is well-designed and well-written. The profile is substantial and appropriate for the rhetorical situation(s). The profile establishes a sense of authorship and subject matter authority, including any relevant artifacts and links.
Effectiveness: The profile demonstrates creative and sophisticated use of the internet and electronic medium, including social media. The profile presents a full and professional image of the writer.
Application: The profile demonstrates that you understand and can apply the many elements of professional communication discussed in the course. These include, but are not limited to, cohesion, organization, accessibility, document design, navigability, comprehensiveness, conciseness, correctness and writing for the web.
Design and Professionalism: The profile is attractive and accessible. The profile reflects the writer’s ability to apply design principles in a proficient way. The profile is easy to navigate.