Today morning I hosted a webinar on how I used LinkedIn to build my portfolio. This article summarises the main points discussed.

Why a portfolio? – For universities and your career

A portfolio is a kind of a personal repository of your achievements and experiences. Experiences include work, education, extra-certifications, and volunteering. A portfolio enables us in three ways: it helps you record what you have done, you can showcase your skill, and it helps expand your network. Having said how a portfolio helps, it is imperative that we continually update it. And the process of developing a portfolio, in my opinion, is a three-stage process. 

Stage 1: Being Self Aware

Who are you? It is one of the easiest questions to ask, but the most difficult to answer.

But there is a quick hack you can try, and that is by taking a personality test. A personality type is an undemanding process in getting in the momentum of understanding why you do things in a certain way. Knowing your strengths gives you the ability to confidently position your portfolio.

But it does not stop here…

You also have to know how others perceive you. It is hard to get a non-judgemental opinionated, biased perception from your network. So like usual, there is an effortless method you can follow. You and a few from your network must take the Insight quiz. Knowing how others’ perceive you gives you the ability in determining if your portfolio is the way you intend it to be. 

The final step of stage 1 is to list your experiences and skills using the C-A-R model (Context, Action, Result). Having a CAR structured sentence shows that you are result-oriented and also gives a feel of completion for every experience you wish to share. 

Stage 2: Showcasing your brand 

You need to flaunt your feathers. It is futile to take all the effort to develop the content for the portfolio and to not share it with people. I used LinkedIn as a platform because the layout is simple and it is almost universally used in the business and university setting. 

The goal in developing the portfolio in LinkedIn is to get an all-star profile. 

All An-Star profile increased your profile visibility by 27 times. 

Below are a few points to be mindful of

  • Get a custom URL for your profile. How to do that is clearly explained here.
  • An about section is vital in determining if your entire profile will be read. Research says that an HR manager on average spends about 10 seconds to decide if they will read your profile. And pretty much most of the time, the determinant is your about section.
  • For the experience and education sections, add a minimum of two points using the C-A-R model. The same applies to volunteer experience as well. Add photos if available.
  • Get and give recommendations. A quick hint to get a recommendation is to start giving them to people in your network and ask for one in return 😉
  • Add certifications (exploit the current lockdown situation and complete some online courses)
  • The last section in LinkedIn is straightforward to fill up.

Stage 3: Engaging with your community

A portfolio’s development must be organic, and that happens through active engagement with your community. For some of us, our network would extend in the thousands, and it is simply not practical to have constant engagement with all of them. At this juncture, it is helpful to have the Dunbar number of 150 as that target of meaningful connections to be engaged with every week. Based on your time availability, you can change the number, but first make an attempt with 150. 

If you wish to stay connected frequently with a broader network, I would suggest using MailChimp and Whatsapp Broadcast. (Between you and me – the most effective tool out there – is a simple and straightforward call to your friend or mentor and ask for feedback)

I am more than happy to share my slides and answer any questions. Please direct message me on Instagram (@maktheway) and get a copy of them. I have not used youtube, TikTok, and twitter for building my portfolio. If you have any experience using them, please feel share to suggest ideas in the comment section below. 

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