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 over 90% of recruiters perform 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 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. When creating an online identity, ask yourself the following question: How do you want potential employers or clients to see you?
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.
There are two ways you can proceed with this assignment. Choose the one that is more appropriate for you and your field and purpose.
1) Create a simple, possibly single page website that illustrates your well-thought-out personal brand. Your social media outlets, which have been updated and optimized with your consistent and appropriate personal brand, will feature prominently.
2) Create a more in-depth portfolio-style website that places emphasis on your work, including well-designed pages of artifacts, projects, and/or writing samples.
In both cases your website will include links to fully optimized social media (at least LinkedIn – more is better) and your blogs.
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.
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 projects according to these criteria:
Content: The design represents a significant revision of the original document. In other words, the conversion of paper resume to e-portfolio should not be superficial or minor.
Effectiveness: The e-portfolio presents a full and professional image of the writer. The redesign demonstrates that you can understand and apply the many elements of technical communication discussed in the course. This includes, but is not limited to, cohesion, organization, accessibility, professional appearance, navigability, memorability, comprehensiveness and correctness.
Application: The e-portfolio demonstrates creative and sophisticated use of the electronic medium.
Design and Professionalism: The e-portfolio reflects the writer’s ability to apply design principles in a proficient way. The redesign adheres to not just rhetorical but conventional patterns in technical communication. The e-portfolio is free of grammatical and mechanical errors.
(assignment created by–L.Mateer)
Sites at Penn State
How to Create a Sites @PSU
This site was created to help students make sound decisions about the way they use media. Since intellectual property laws and guidelines are so complex and hotly debated, this site provides news and links to various perspectives on these issues.
Other platforms to create professional website tutorial videos:
Wix (Tutorial Video)
Weebly (Tutorial Video)