multimedia portfolio screen

Time to get dynamic

Multimedia portfolios that combine text, video, audio, still images and hyperlinks give employers far more detailed insight into your potential and are likely to be increasingly used in the recruitment world in the future.

It’s never been more important to make yourself stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding that elusive first job or internship, and relying on a one-dimensional, paper-based CV to sell your talents to future employers may no longer be enough.

In our article Give your CV a (silver) screening you can find out about the pros, cons and practicalities of a video CV, but this isn’t the only medium or vehicle that can be used to sell yourself in a more three-dimensional way. Multimedia portfolios that combine text, video, audio, still images and hyperlinks give employers far more detailed insight into your potential and are also likely to be increasingly used in the recruitment world in the future.

Multimedia or e-portfolio: what’s the difference?

In engineering, there is widespread use of e-portfolios such as the IET Career Manager, which serve as a living portrait of your abilities and aspirations. While utilising a range of media, these are often linked to learning and development and may also include personal development plans.

A multimedia portfolio is more of a blatant showcase of your talents to attract prospective employers. The nature of their work means that the creative professions have long made use of multimedia portfolios but the ease with which video and audio can be both created and incorporated into web pages and the emergence of the so-called Web 2.0 technologies a few years ago means they are starting to be used across different sectors.

As well as giving an employer a much clearer picture of your capabilities, the actual act of producing a multimedia portfolio demonstrates great initiative as well as computer literacy skills.

Where does your portfolio sit?

The short answer is online where everyone can find it but it’s up to you which online vehicle you use.

There are specialist sites and one of the most progressive in the UK is InnovateCV.com. This provides candidates with a multimedia CV builder that allows you to include video and audio as well as space to upload samples of work, certificates, qualifications and references. There is also a US-based site called VisualCV.com that allows you to incorporate a wide range of media including video and audio as well as charts and graphs.

Typically, such sites allow you to control who sees your multimedia CV but also helps you to share it with potential employers and social media channels for networking purposes.

The other alternative is to bring the portfolio together on your own web page and obviously this will depend on your technical abilities. The advantage of this is that you aren’t governed by someone else’s functionality and can do what you like such as add a blog. Having created your online portfolio, you can then optimise it with relevant keywords to ensure that it is found by the search engines. Also remember to add the URL for it on any paper-based correspondence and include a link to it in any emails.

Choosing what you put in your portfolio

Clearly you need some form of text CV (likely to be in PDF format) and this can be supplemented with a short  - no more than two to three minutes - video CV in which you convey something of your personality and character.

After that, the content will be dictated by the projects you’ve worked on or roles to date but could typically include short videos/images of you at work, maybe an audio/video testimonial from someone you’ve worked with, 3D graphics/drawings relating to a project you’ve worked on, a PowerPoint presentation you’ve given, links to YouTube videos of group projects as well as evidence of academic and professional qualifications such as certificates.

Whatever you post in the portfolio should be given a context so the person viewing it understands its relevance. A random collection of mixed media with little or no explanation is a missed opportunity. It’s also worth looking at image/content sharing sites such as Flickr.com or Pinterest.com as links to these may provide a convenient way of showing a set of images relating to a particular project.

Bear in mind that if images/video/audio of anyone else, or indeed anyone else’s work appear in the portfolio, you need to obtain their permission. Also ensure content is appropriate. Don’t be tempted to include anything that might potentially damage your employment opportunities: posting a piece of video showing you and a team larking about on a project might show your fun-loving side but won’t convey the level of professionalism employers expect.

Keep it real and current

A multimedia portfolio should be dynamic and shouldn’t stand still. Once you are in full-time employment, you may have other priorities but try to take time out to regularly update it when there is something new to add.

In the old days, it was fine to leave a paper-based CV languishing in the drawer but bear in mind that as soon as you post anything on the Web, it forms part of your personal brand that can be viewed at any time. Keeping it current shows commitment to your career and industry and means you’ll be ready to take advantage of any promotional opportunities as soon as they arise.

Finally, for those starting out in their studies, it’s never too early to start gathering material for your multimedia portfolio.

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