How to Shine Online

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A digital portfolio can set you apart from the pack.

It’s hard for job hunters to stand out these days. Some open positions attract hundreds of resumes, thanks (or no thanks) to the online job sites and a still tough employment market.

What can you do to rise above the crowd and get a great new job?

For Mona Wehbe of Royal Oak, her ace in the hole was her digital portfolio. She created her own website — www.MonaWehbe.com — to showcase her strengths in a way that a simple resume can’t. She found a way to separate herself from the competition.

A young communications professional, Wehbe set her sights on a position with Kelly Services in Troy. She sent her resume in response to a job posting for a product-marketing manager.

“Her resume was impressive enough; but the next day, I checked her website,” said Mary Moore, senior marketing manager for KellyOCG, who was interviewing candidates for the open position. “The website really made the difference.”

Wehbe got the job.

She told her story about creating her digital portfolio last fall at a luncheon of the Detroit chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC Detroit).

“Today, communications is at the speed of light. In this day of social media, maintaining your identity online is important,” she said. “Creating a digital portfolio helps you stay ahead of the curve.”

The first step, she said, is to buy a domain name. The second step is to build the site. She investigated various options and chose www.weebly.com as her web development platform.

“It was the perfect tool for a non-techie,” she said. “It’s easy to use and fully customizable with hundreds of templates, which means your site doesn’t have to look like a cookie-cutter copy of other people’s sites.

“Including a blog was easy. You can easily drag-and-drop flash animation into the site. Advanced users can choose to rewrite code, but it’s not required. If you can build a PowerPoint presentation, you can do this.”

The website also allows Wehbe to monitor traffic, letting her know how many are visiting her online portfolio and from what areas.

Wehbe’s site is both personable and professional. It includes tabs for her portfolio, resume, references, contact information, awards and more. She also showcases her writing ability through her blog.

And while you’re checking out www.monawehbe.com, also take a moment to visit www.elinatinsky.com. A former GM employee, Eli Natinsky recently completed a master’s degree in digital media at Michigan State University. As part of his job search, he launched his own website, in part inspired by Wehbe’s.

“I checked out her site and liked what I saw,” he says. “I used the Weebly platform in a class I took, and I liked it. Mona’s site confirmed for me it was the way to go.”

Natinsky launched his website this year and is optimistic about its potential. He explained how he plans to use it. “Context is important,” he says. “There are times when it doesn’t make sense to send someone your resume, but asking someone to check out your website can be a more subtle, appropriate and effective way to make the same point.”

Natinsky’s site includes several videos that he has produced and his complete resume, as well as samples of his work in digital research and marketing communications.
While Wehbe and Natinsky are both communicators by trade, the digital portfolio approach makes sense for just about any kind of professional. Creating a website is one solution. Another option is to create a PowerPoint presentation highlighting your experience and strengths and show it on a laptop or notebook computer during interviews.

The options are many. A good start: search “digital portfolio examples” online to check out a wealth of alternatives.
Good luck, job seekers!

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