Portfolio Tools and Advice - Part II

By Chelsea Bailey '16

Summer is a great time to work on your portfolio - and if you're interested in design, having a platform to showcase your work is a necessity.   A resume summarizes your work experience, but it doesn't provide unique examples of your work.

At Olin, we understand that design and engineering work hand in hand. Your portfolio is your opportunity to illustrate that you have strong experience in both of these fields.

If you read Portfolios - Part I, then you have a good grasp on how to pick content and what to include. The next step is deciding on a format. The list of tools for developing an e-portfolio can seem overwhelming, so here are a few PGP-recommended options:


1.       WordPress

WordPress is one of the best free blog-hosting sites. It can also be a great way to make a portfolio! With a wide range of template options and  tools to customize them, WordPress is a great option for someone who desires a professional look and feel, but does not have the coding knowledge to assemble one from scratch.


Quick tip:

Check out the available WordPress plugins!  Plugins can be a quick and easy way to make your site more visually interesting or interactive. It could be that extra touch that makes your site more manageable/maneuverable.


For a great example of a portfolio made using only the free aspects of WordPress, check out  Ben Chapman's ('14) portoflio.


Wordpress has a wide selection of preset themes, such as these 4 all designed with a portfolio use in mind. 

2.       PDF / Dropbox

A popular option is to make a PowerPoint or Word document of your portfolio and save it as a PDF.


PRO: You're using software you've been familiar with for years. This process for assembling your portfolio will be one of the easiest and most convenient.


CON: Your portfolio will be missing some of the interactivity that websites allow for.


If you want an easy way to make this portfolio into an E-portfolio, just add it to your public folder on Dropbox. You can then send this link to employers.


Here is a great example of a PPT slide formatted to be a page in a portfolio

Credit: Portfolio of Pamela Darvirris '10


3.       Bootstrap

Interested in making your own website, but not ready for all of the work and time it takes to put one together? Bootstrap is a website framework developed by Twitter. You will still need to understand how html works, but it will make the process both faster and easier.


4.       Coding

Many Oliners will choose to write code for their own websites. With a basic knowledge of html & CSS, JS, or certain other languages, you can try making your own website from scratch. This is a preferred option (if you know how to code) because it allows 100% customization. 

5.       Coroflot/Behance/CarbonMade/Seelio

If you're not quite sure that the first 4 options are for you, there are a large number of alternatives available. The four mentioned here are merely the tip of the iceberg, free portfolio sites that come highly recommended due to their ease of use and customizability.


These portfolio sites aren't just for artists! As engineers with design skills its just as important to showcase your past works.


Final tips:

·         For examples of some great portfolios, Olin students and alumni can sign  in to their  Olin JobFinder accounts, where you will see portfolios made by Oliners in the document library under the resources tab.

·         Add your portfolio's URL to your resume and include it in your cover letters.

·         Make a hard copy, shorter version and bring it with you to your interviews.


And a few thoughts on portfolios from '10 alum Greg Marra:


Thanks, Greg!

Videos are good - use them!

Use existing tools vs custom

Link your portfolio to LinkedIn/GitHub/etc 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Chelsea Bailey published on August 8, 2013 2:46 PM.

More Good News from IMEC in Belgium was the previous entry in this blog.

Field Trip to Harvard's Robotics Lab is the next entry in this blog.

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