online portfolios featured

Employers are looking for more than just paper resumes and online portfolios are going in popularity. (Hania Ahmed / Ryersonian Staff)

The paperless wave is taking over the job hunt. Employers in fields like graphic design, journalism and photography want to see your resumé and portfolio online.

“More and more we’re getting students coming in asking about online – their presence, social media, a website,” said Ian Ingles, Ryerson Career Centre’s operations manager.

Ingles said a website “makes your application that much more robust.” He said not every employer is guaranteed to look at it, but for the ones who will, it could be the difference between you and another candidate.  

Ingles said that at the Career Centre they offer guidance on LinkedIn and Magnet, two career-based social networking sites, and resumé consultation as well. Website development, however, isn’t something they currently offer.    

It is possible to create a site on your own, even without coding skills. You don’t have to be a star web developer, but putting together a site using a builder can still add to your skills, said Muhammad Mollah. Mollah has worked in digital marketing for more than 10 years. He said it’s valuable to get familiar with open source platforms now because skills associated with using them well can be transferred to the workplace. Learning WordPress, SEO and analytics is knowledge that is useful in the digital age, Mollah said.

Having an online site eases the job search process for both you and a potential employer. For employers, Mollah says a website is more dynamic and visually stimulating. For you, it’s easier to refer employers to a link than attachments, he said.

“When you’re applying to many jobs, what’s easier, uploading separate documents 100 times or copying and pasting a link 100 times?”

It’s worth it to display your work online. But if WordPress isn’t your cup of tea, and you’re still unsure of how to put a website together, here are some sites that can make the process much easier. is a great place for writers, bloggers and journalists. Rather than copying and pasting links to your work, arranges them in a grid and displays images, the publication and title of the piece. You’re also able to upload PDFs of your work and have it integrated in the grid just like the Internet links. The free version allows you to upload 16 samples.    

Strikingly sites make an impression on a screen. Most of its themes stretch all the way across a widescreen desktop and integrate vivid visuals and colours. It has a unique linear scroll design so as viewers scroll through your site, the text fades in and out, almost like slideshow transitions. Its mobile optimization is just as fluid, fast and clean-looking. It offers a free version which gets you the key features, but you’ll have tacked on to the end of your site’s URL. There is an upgrade option (for an extra charge) which will allow you to attach your own domain, as well as more features like MailChimp.

The downside to Strikingly is that there is little room to play around with the layout. If you’re picky about deleting or making the font smaller, chances are Strikingly will leave you frustrated.  

A couple of sites that give you more freedom to satisfy all your “type A” personality quirks are Weebly and Wix. These sites have a much larger theme selection, but within that, there is more room to edit the layout to your tastes. Minor things like photo sizes, column spacing and font colours are easily tweaked. Weebly, like Strikingly, offers a free version that just has their company name added to the URL. Despite the freedom it gives you in terms of design, the free version doesn’t allow you to choose your own domain name.

Squarespace is one of the most aesthetically pleasing websites. The pre-designed themes are varied. It offers particularly clean options for a photography portfolio but also has layouts that would work for a blog or text-heavy website. Although there is no free option, they do offer 50 per cent off the first year for students. For some, this may be worth trying considering it includes a domain, hosting, analytics and more.  

Finally, Tumblr. Yes, Tumblr can be used as more than a source for clever memes, funny GIFs and a daily dose of social commentary. There are ways to leverage the platform to create a clean, polished home for your work.  There are themes with layouts that resemble a website or portfolio.

Creating a website for your portfolio is the perfect way to reach people and share your creative work. It can be overwhelming entering the World Wide Web and stamping your name on a site you can be proud of, but hopefully these platforms can help make the task less daunting.


A multimedia journalist. Follow @angelynsayshi

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