5 Tips for Creating a Professional Online Portfolio

There are a few components to the job-hunting process that everyone knows: resumé, cover letter, networking, follow-up emails or cards, etc. So, how can you stand out in a crowd of applicants that all submit the same amount of information and seem to have the similar skills? Instead of simply describing your work, you can now show your work with an online portfolio.

If you’re unfamiliar with building websites, there are free builders to help you start the process, like Wix, Weebly and WordPress, and every option gives you the freedom to create a customizable site. Using my minimalist personal portfolio as an example, here are some ways to avoid making a cluttered or confusing site:

  1. Consistency

This relates to the navigation and organization of your website, like always having the site tabs in the same spot on every page or creating subcategories for your work.


In the example above, you can see that the tabs are directly under my name header, and this is true for every page on my site.

The “Work” tab is highlighted so that people know what page they are on, and the body of the page is broken up into three categories: journalism, public relations and photography.

The titles of each section, along with the pictures, are clickable, and they take the user to a page that gives specific examples to demonstrate the work I’ve done for those categories; there is no confusion and all of the links work.

  1. Personalization

Your portfolio is about you and your work, so it’s OK to show some of your personality to demonstrate that you are a well-rounded person. This can include making a video or infographic to showcase your creative side or interesting facts about you (obviously make sure they’re appropriate).


On my “About” page, I have a “pitch” video where I talk about my skills and have accompanying B-Roll of me working and examples of my work, so it’s not just me talking to the camera for 90 seconds. I also made a small personal infographic in Photoshop, and you, too, can easily make one using sites like Canva or Piktochart.

  1. Visuals

Interesting and relevant visuals are basically the point of a portfolio, so find your best work and display it. If your work isn’t normally very visual, get creative with the way you present it. If you have some statistics to represent your achievements (which are essential to show employers that your work has real results), create some graphs. If you have published work, take a screenshot and link it to the post. Use your own pictures so you don’t have to rely on cheesy stock photos or use icons to symbolize the work you’re showcasing.


In the example above, I simply made those icons in Illustrator or used logos and compiled them in Photoshop to make sure they were all the same color to match my website. If you can’t make your own icons, find some copyright-free ones and adjust them with any image-editing software.

  1. Contact information

Your portfolio should have multiple ways to contact you and it should be in a really obvious place, whether it’s at the bottom of every page with email and social media buttons or a whole contact page with a form submission and your email in case something on the form doesn’t work. Even your resumé (which should definitely be somewhere in the portfolio) should have your phone number.


My resumé has appropriate hyperlinks that direct people to the places I’ve worked, my social media and my email. This is the whole point of your portfolio, so make sure the people who like your work are able to conveniently contact you.

  1. Proof-read

Like any other item you submit when applying for jobs, your portfolio should have multiple people looking for even the smallest of errors before a potential employer sees it. Your credibility will be compromised with every misspelled word or incorrect punctuation mark.

Lastly, keep in mind that this portfolio represents you, and once it’s live, anyone can see it. Keep true to your “brand,” and remember to update it with new work. Good luck on your next job hunt!

Written by Christine Zuniga, Online Communications Director

The “Benefit” of Social Media

It seems like everyone has some sort of social media channel today, whether it be a person, a company, a brand, or even a dog (seriously!).

Social media has allowed companies to interact with their customers in a different way. This has brought around some wins and, of course, some fails.

Overall social media has been beneficial to many industries and some have simply flourished with the growth of each channel. Perhaps one of the most successful in implementing social media into their identity is the beauty industry.

The beauty industry is a visual one. So many companies have really taken the visual aspect and worked it together beautifully with the personality of their companies. One has really set itself apart in the eyes of the beauty world and its followers: Benefit Cosmetics.

Benefit has been around since 1976, the company was started by Jean and Jane Ford and has thrived ever since. Benefit is known for their colorful and often times sassy packaging and products.


How are they killing the game?

Benefit has effectively blended the sassy personality of their brand, the colorful charisma of their products and the behind the scenes looks at their company. Not only is their personal content on their channels amazing, but the relationships that they build with their fans and followers is something that all brands should strive for.

Benefit makes it a habit to interact with their followers. It is rare to send a tweet or tag a picture on Instagram that doesn’t garner some sort of response from this huge global brand. Benefit also makes a practice of displaying and promoting great work that their followers have created with their products. Whether it is a great wing using their innovative liner, or a set of eyebrows that is totally on “fleek” after a visit to the Brow Bar, they will let you know and sometimes even share your photo on their channels.


Benefit “slays” the Twitterscape by bringing their bold personality into each tweet! Check out of a few of their most recent. Benefit isn’t afraid to color outside the lines when it comes to their brand and voice!







Not only are they winning at Twitter on daily basis, Benefit’s most visual channel, Instagram, is a beautiful representation of the words aesthetically pleasing. The photos are bright, high resolution, simple and beautiful. The entirety of Benefit’s Instagram embodies the colorful charisma of their brand. Benefit embraces the different side of the beauty world, whether it is guys wearing makeup or cutting-edge products, they are not afraid to be different and encourage their followers to do the same.



One of the biggest social media channels in the beauty world is YouTube. YouTube has quickly become a haven for professionals and enthusiasts in the beauty realm. There are billions of beauty related YouTube videos, and the amazing thing is most of them are not created by brands. Beauty “gurus” have quickly taken over YouTube as a channel. Benefit has done a great job of not only competing with brands that are trying to make their mark on YouTube, but they have worked to integrate these gurus (who have millions of followers) into their own channel and hold their own in the world of YouTube.

Check out Benefit’s new campaign featuring beauty gurus Dulce Candy (2,116, 131 followers) , Nyc Dragun (112, 717 followers), Nicol Concilio (193, 152 followers) , and Tess Holliday a well know plus-size model.


Finally, Benefit has made the leap that many companies are making to Snapchat (BenefitBeauty), which provides an even deeper look inside the world of Benefit. Behind-the-scenes looks, chatting with beauty gurus, contests and daily office life. Their story is a must follow for all the beauty lovers and social media enthusiasts.


While Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat seem to be the fan favorites. Benefit has completely covered their bases in the social media game and have amazing accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest!

Benefit is a great display of what a dynamic social media strategy looks like for not only a beauty company but all companies and industries. They have created a strong brand and compelling voice that has been successfully applied and appropriate for each for channel they utilize.

Written by Cheyenne Cameron-Pruitt, Digital Media Director


Free Social Media Tools

Managing and maintaining consistent messaging across all of your social channels can be overwhelming. Finding shortcuts to successfully execute campaigns will not only save you time, but boost your following and engagement in ways you never thought possible. Below are five of my favorite free tools that I use to get the job done:

IFTTT logo

  1. IFTTT (Various)
    IFTTT, an acronym for If This, Then That, connects two services together so that an action from one service triggers an action at another. These connections are called “recipes” and their possibilities range far beyond social media but here are my top three:

IFTTT snapshot

crowdfire logo

  1. Crowdfire (Twitter and Instagram)
    Crowdfire makes finding and connecting with your target audience simple so you can focus on doing what you do. Here are some feature highlights:

    • Track audience growth by seeing recent followers and un-followers.
    • The Copy Followers capability lets you find who might be interested in your content through a competitor’s followers.

Crowdfire snapshot

iconosquare logo

  1. Iconosquare (Instagram)
    Iconosquare is a thorough Instagram analytics suite that helps you manage your Instagram activity, analyze your performance and engage your community. Here are some feature highlights:

    • Share snapshots of your activity with followers such as: #actionsquare and #monthiconsquare.
    • Suggestions of the best times to post and which filters to use.
    • Receive emails that summarize your main metrics.

Iconosquare snapshots

hootsuite logo

  1. Hootsuite (Various)
    Hootsuite has become an essential tool for managing social media, tracking conversations and measuring campaign results via the web or mobile devices. It helps to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks like Facebook and Twitter from one web-based dashboard.

Hootsuite Snapshot

Grama Logo

  1. Grama (Instagram)
    Grama is a free iOS-only app that helps you find hashtags to use on your Instagram posts through a keyword search. I love this app because you can type in one hashtag that summarizes your photo and it will provide a wall of related hashtags that you can then click, copy and paste directly into Instagram.


Whatever your social media needs are, these tools will help you successfully boost engagement across platforms.

Written by Baret Yahn, Account Executive

Tips for Tight Writing

As poetic as your prose may be, few people want to take the time to read it. Here are a few tips to tighten your writing and get more eyes on your work.


Give yourself time

You already know writing takes a long time. It seems like writing concisely would be a quick process, but you’d be surprised. Frequently when you write something quickly you end up with a rambling piece of nonsense.

Short is sweet, but it takes time.



Before you start, know where the finish line is and all the stops along the way. That means taking a minute to draft your path. Do your research, figure out your subheads and have your quotes picked out. If you can, get your visuals ready too.

Outlining takes almost no time, but it can save you precious minutes closer to deadline.


Write fast

Put your fingers on the keyboard and bang out a quick draft any way you can. My biggest piece of advice to anyone struggling with writer’s block is “type it how you talk it.” Use slang, swear words and don’t be afraid to caps lock.

It may sound like a waste of time, but this is the most fun way to write. Let your voice out!


erinblog3Take a break

Go ahead, it can wait.

If you followed step one, this won’t be a problem. If you didn’t, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a long break. If you don’t have time to walk away and do something, just take a few minutes to work on something else, check your social media or send a quick email.

Don’t forget to come back to the piece after your break!


Revise with fresh eyes

Once you come back, read your work like someone else wrote it. (Someone who would love to catch making a mistake, and I know you have a person in mind.) Look at your content: Are you getting your point across? Does the tone match the message? Will it resonate with your audience?

You should have a solid piece of work at this point. Now hack it down.



Focus on your verbs

Now that you’re happy with the content it’s time to tighten it up. Remember to write in active voice. Put the reader in the moment and let the story speak. Cut out unnecessary words and phrases, having verbs as the focus makes this easier.

Think of this as simplifying an equation. Unless math stresses you out, then just get to work.

Have someone else read it over

Sometimes cutting and condensing can go too far and confuse the story. Give the piece to a friend, a co-worker or an editor to make sure your message is still strong and you haven’t lost a comma along the way.

Written by Erin Wylder, Account Executive/Editor