Once upon a time, conducting a job search was relatively straightforward: You’d ask friends and acquaintances if they knew of any openings, peruse the classified ads section of the local newspaper, and send resumes along with a good cover letter.
In 1996, when Distinctive Career Services launched, when I finished writing a client’s resume, I would print 50 copies on high-quality resume paper and send the hard copies along with the files on a floppy disc to the client. The idea of emailing your resume to someone was so novel at the time that it was almost never done.
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Times have certainly changed!
The Internet and social media have completely (and irreversibly) altered the job search landscape.
In those early days, one of the most innovative and revolutionary ideas that a few job hunters were beginning to catch on to, was the idea of creating a web-based, online career portfolio.
But, similar to the idea of emailing your resume rather than postal mailing it, that too took many years to catch on. Creating and maintaining a multimedia career portfolio required technical skills that not many people had.
It wasn’t until LinkedIn was launched as a new professional networking platform in 2003, and then grew over the next few years to dominate the business niche, that its usefulness for job hunters became so apparent. And, more to the point, suddenly the idea of creating your very own online, multimedia career portfolio became accessible to everyone with a LinkedIn profile.
This article that you are reading now, is a rewrite and update of a post I first published on this blog in 2013, which is about the time that adding multimedia to enhance your LinkedIn profile and turn it into a true online career portfolio was really gaining steam.
Today, it is virtually impossible to imagine a job search being successful without some social media component, and LinkedIn remains the primary platform. Beyond just looking for a new job, LinkedIn is the first place professionals interested in advancing their career go to network with peers and bolster their personal brand.
In fact, it is almost possible to argue that your LinkedIn profile is almost as important as having a great resume. While the traditional resume is still essential and probably always will be, most recruiters will tell you that the very first place they go to search for and gather information on job candidates is LinkedIn, followed by a Google search on the candidate’s name.
Reenvisioning Your LinkedIn Profile as a Multimedia Career Portfolio
While you probably have a LinkedIn profile (in Jan 0f 2021, LinkedIn claimed a membership of 738 million people), it is more likely than not that you aren’t using your profile to its full potential.
“Wait, what”, you say? “What do you mean? My profile is 100% completed”!
As it should be.
But LinkedIn offers additional features that allow you to easily create a multifaceted, multimedia career portfolio that will help distinguish your personal brand and create an engaging profile that stands out in a sea of other profiles that all, for the most part, look and sound the same.
Simply put, LinkedIn offers you the ability to house and present videos, audio, slideshows, documentation to support your qualifications, links to external sites, examples of your work product, etc.
You can use some or all of these features to promote your competencies and personality to recruiters and employers in a much more interactive, engaging, and, ultimately, memorable manner than you can by relying solely on even the best-written, text-based profile.
Completely failing to take advantage of Linkedin multimedia profile opportunities is a mistake.
There are many ways that you can use multimedia to reinforce your personal brand and help tell your career story on Linkedin.
While not all of them will make sense to everyone, I encourage you to try to incorporate a minimum of 2-3 (and more is better) into your own LinkedIn profile to transform it into a true online career portfolio.
6 Ways to Incorporate Multimedia into Your LinkedIn Profile
Actually using these multimedia features may seem intimidating to some, especially if you aren’t very tech-savvy. Fortunately, LinkedIn provides details regarding compatible image providers, video providers, audio providers, and presentation and document formats. Combined with your desire and ingenuity, LinkedIn is potentially the best tool available for building your online multimedia portfolio and personal brand.
Originally published November 26, 2013, this article has been updated with LinkedIn multimedia profile information relevant to 2021 and beyond.