“Selling yourself” can feel like an awkward and uncomfortable task. Especially in today’s world of work.
Think about how you would introduce yourself at a networking event to a new connection, say a professor, colleague or prospective employer. Remember, you’re probably having this interaction online, which can make things feel less organic and a little rushed.
Where do you start?
Depending on the context, most of us would begin with a laundry list of our titles, credentials, the school we attend or the company we work for. That’s all well and good, but it only scratches the surface of who you are and what you bring to the table.
If you want to stand out and avoid putting yourself in a box, think bigger. It’s helpful to have an idea of what you want your “personal brand” to be. (If that term makes you roll your eyes, I get it. Bear with me.)
What I mean is, there’s value in selling yourself as an individual above all else. This is especially true if you’re interested in pursuing freelance work outside of your day job, or if you haven’t figured out what it is you want to do yet (that’s totally okay, too).
Be conscious of how closely you identify yourself with your responsibilities and experiences. You’re not just a walking version of your resume.
Think about how you want to present yourself, your skills, your passions and your values first and foremost. Know what you stand for and how to articulate it.
Creating an online portfolio is a great way to do that.
I’m being intentionally vague when I use the term “portfolio,” because what you include in it and how you package it is entirely up to you. You have plenty of room to be creative and tell your own story – that’s what is so exciting about it. And while that doesn’t have to mean creating your own website, in my experience a personal website is one of the most effective and versatile ways to go about it. You can build that site explicitly around a passion project you’re working on, or format it more as a “get to know me” space – whatever makes the most sense for you.
My website goal was to showcase the intersections of my personal and professional projects. My interests in both art and business continue to shape my perspective. I wanted a platform to share the parts of my life that might not fit into the “relevant experience” section of my resume. I created it as a way to provide a holistic view of what I’m up to. It can be as simple as that – and, you can edit it as you learn and grow.
If you’re not a UX/UI designer, don’t worry. You can still make an awesome site all on your own if you’re willing to learn. Squarespace, Wix and Wordpress are just a few platforms that can help you get started. Keep in mind that whichever template you choose can be edited and that there are plenty of tutorials available online if you get stuck.
So, if you’re up to the challenge, how do you want to put yourself out there?
When you’re in your twenties, figuring that out can be a daunting task. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re ploughing ahead in your career, you’re probably encountering a lot of big questions.
If you could do absolutely anything, what would your dream job look like? What goals are you working towards and how do you prioritize them? What type of satisfaction are you exchanging your time and energy for?
Mapping out your answers to prompts like these is a good place to start, since you’re going to need to write some copy for your portfolio no matter what form it takes. Just mulling over these ideas can be a helpful exercise in self reflection, even if you aren’t interested in creating an online narrative for yourself.When it comes to shaping the future of work, we’re all looking to choose the right company to work with and better understand the impact we want to have. Ensuring that your values align with the people you work with is essential – and it’s a lot easier to do when you can point people toward a resource that is all about you.