Getting a job is all about impressing an employer by showing that you have what they’re looking for. The challenge is figuring out what exactly those things are. Even if your resume checks off all the criteria in the job posting, these days that may not be enough.
For creative professionals, links to your online portfolio website and social media accounts are often part of a job application. Having a place to showcase your work online is crucial when so many job applications are an online process. But how much difference does a portfolio site actually make a difference in the minds of hiring managers when vetting applicants?
A pretty big one, as it turns out. Hover surveyed 121 people involved with hiring, from Coordinators to CEOs, to find out just how important a job candidate’s online presence is when it comes to getting a job offer.
So, how important is it to include an online portfolio in a job application? Here’s what we found:
Before we dive into the results, let’s first take a look at who we heard from.
We received responses from all job levels of an organization, with the largest percentage identifying as Specialists (32%) and Managers (28%).
In regards to how involved respondents are with hiring, a small sample (12%) indicated that they are not involved in the hiring process. Besides 5% of answers coming from Recruiters, responses were almost evenly split between Advisors (40%) and Hiring Managers (44%).
Next, we wanted to learn how long respondents have been involved in hiring. Overwhelmingly, responses came from individuals who have been hiring for 1-5 years (53%).
Finally, we wanted to get a feel for how many people our respondents are responsible for hiring. The majority of respondents indicated that they had hired 1-5 people within the past year (60%).
We should also note that a majority of responses were from Hover customers, meaning that they own domain names. This may skew the results towards favoring online portfolios, as compared to the general population.
Online Portfolio Importance
Initially, it would seem as though an online portfolio is not so important after all. Although the majority of respondents either Strongly Agree or Agree that it’s important to have a portfolio site (38%), 31% feel Neutral about its importance, and 28% either Disagree or Strongly Disagree.
Employers will visit portfolio website
Despite their initial perception of portfolios, the story begins to change when asked about what happens when presented with a portfolio site. The vast majority of respondents (86%) either Agree or Strongly Agree that they will visit a portfolio when given the option.
Portfolio site quality will influence hiring decision
Most revealing is what happens once employers arrive at a portfolio site. According to our survey, 71% of employers Agree or Strongly Agree that a portfolio’s quality will influence their decision on whether to hire a candidate.
Despite not being mandatory, having a strong portfolio site plays an important part in helping job applicants getting hired. This means that if you’re going to provide a portfolio site, make sure it’s of the best quality possible and makes you look great.
We shared the results with some leading HR professionals, and here’s what they had to say:
Jason Lauristen – jasonlauritsen.com
“The results don’t surprise me. How you present yourself has always been critical to landing a job. It used to be the quality of the paper used to print your cover letter and resume and how you dressed for the interview. In our digital world, how you look online is critical. That said, I think the value of a portfolio website is linked to your profession. If you are a coder or designer, it makes perfect sense. If you are an accountant, probably not so much.”
Mark Anthony Dyson – The Voice of Job Seekers Blog
“To have a personal website as your online portfolio is still the best way to stand out. Although employers do not make it a requirement, it does give them another opportunity to get to know you. Job seekers with online portfolios give employers another opportunity to know, trust, and like you will certainly increase their interest in you. The quality of your blog or website is essential. It is a preview of the quality of work you will deliver to them. If your blog is a deserted island with two blog posts in six months, it will not impress anyone. However, if it is a blog with consistent industry related articles published once a month, then you’ll increase your chance of interest.”
Nicole Le Maire – New To HR
“The hiring process is changing as the digital world is taking the next step. Recruiters are having to become more creative to fill vacancies, and the survey figures confirm what is happening in the workplace right now. With hundreds of job candidates for one role – the (only) way to stand out to an employer nowadays, is to create an online portfolio. It is like the candidate designs its own career story, directing the recruiter and hiring manager to their strengths, skills and experience. It creates a human link and is so much more personal than just the quick CV and cover letter introduction.”
Republished via Hover with permission