By: Mariah Cowan, DePaul University digital communications and media arts graduate student ’16

You know you’re awesome, but how will you let employers know that you’re awesome?

Go to college, get a degree and land your dream job. As simple as it may sound, there is so much more that goes into developing your career. You can’t walk into an interview with only your degree and expect to get the job on the spot. Employers are looking for people who stand out. You have to present yourself in a professional manner in order to impress employers. So, how can you get employers to think you’re simply stellar?

Brand yourself! Think about it. Why do you buy the brands you use? Because they stand out from the rest? They present themselves better than others? So how will you? You probably know the basics: Nice and clean resume, professional dress, etc. But have you considered building a portfolio? Or a personal website?

In an article I read titled, “Do you need to build a personal website to land a job,” there are three professional benefits of having a personal website. They include the following:

  1. Sharing your expertise – What can you do? Share your accomplishments.
  2. Building your personal brand – Create a professional presence online.
  3. Establishing yourself as a thought leader – Establish industry credibility.

I believe the same benefits apply for a portfolio. Portfolios allow you to showcase your skills and experiences. It shows that you not only can talk the talk, but you can walk the walk.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 3.04.28 PM

Here’s what our professionals, Sarah Highstone and Micheal Elias, had to say about the topic:

“Students who show employers, through digital portfolios, their work online have an advantage over students who do not.” – Sarah Highstone, former Career Specialist for Computing and Digital Media

“A digital portfolio allows applicants to expand on their brand beyond resume data, a business card, etc., by promoting concrete evidence of their work and school accomplishments. If employers can point to artifacts that support the content on a students’ resume, it can give them an advantage in the application process over applicants without concrete evidence.” – Michael Elias, Assistant Director, Career Specialist for College of Communication

But is this true for all students? What if employers do not require a portfolio? “I would think it can help an applicant stand out even in traditional fields where it’s typically not required, since it presents something new to the hiring manager,” says Micheal.

I agree with Michael. Whatever helps you stand out, I say go for it!