5 sites that help you showcase your professional talents

Your personal brand is increasingly important in the job market, and what better way to show off your talents than with an online portfolio? These five websites will help you build and maintain a portfolio that will set you apart from other candidates.

5 sites that help you showcase your professional talents
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In the past 10 years, professional branding has gained more attention in the job market, especially as social networking has grown. It's not uncommon for people to put their personal lives online, and that attitude has extended to their professional lives, too. Creating an online portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills and talents and you apart from other candidates. Just drop your portfolio link into your resume or cover letter, and recruiters can quickly learn more about you beyond the traditional resume. But if you don't know where to start when it comes to crafting your online portfolio, here are five websites designed to help make the process as easy as possible.

LinkedIn

Using LinkedIn is probably the simplest and most low-maintenance way to build your online presence. The site is user-friendly, so you can quickly get your resume up on the site. Not only is LinkedIn a great way to showcase your work experience, you can also ask colleagues to leave testimonials or recommendations for your work. It also allows you to share links to published work, connect with others in your field and stay on top of your industry while expanding your network. Best of all, it's free.

You can opt for LinkedIn Premium services, which will unlock different features that let you see who has viewed your profile and get you to the top of a recruiter's list. The only downside with LinkedIn is that it seems everyone has a profile these days, so it won't necessarily set you apart from the crowd, but it's a great place to start.

Squarespace

Having your own website is a great way to get your name out there, especially if you are a consultant or freelancer. If want to start an industry blog or if you need a place to share your creative work. But not everyone has the time, energy or skills to create and maintain a website from scratch. Squarespace does a lot of the work for you, including templates specifically designed to help you build a professional portfolio. These templates let you create high-quality webpages that will translate across desktops, tablets and mobile devices.

A personal website on Squarespace starts at $12 per month if you sign up for a year, or $16 if you opt for month to month service. You get a free custom domain, web hosting, 20 pages, image galleries, blogs, analytics services and the capability to sell products on your site as well; a great option if you have any career-related products such as books or videos to sell.

[ Related story: 6 tips to create your online career identity ]

Weebly

Weebly is a stress-free platform to build your online portfolio; it offers modern themes, responsive web design and the capability to upload HD video. With Weebly, you can create a custom domain, upload documents, create forms and build image galleries. It also offers specific designs for professional portfolios, with sections to showcase your accomplishments, outline your work history and build a personal brand that will certainly help get you noticed when you're looking for a new job. While it offers similar features to Squarespace, you can set up a Weebly site for as low as $8 per month, which might be easier on your budget.

Dunked

Online portfolios aren't just for graphic designers. If you're a developer, an online portfolio is a great way to showcase different software and apps you've developed over the years. Dunked is a good choice for showcasing your apps or programs since it's geared to a more visual and artistic experience. You can product screenshots, share information about the development process and what you hope to accomplish with the app.

It's also a great place to include links to where visitors can download your app or get in contact with you if they want to learn more or even hire your services. Dunked pricing starts at $7 per month for a basic account, which gives you space to upload 10 projects, 10 pages and 100 images; for just $1 more a month, you can upgrade to 100 projects, 100 pages and 1,000 images.

[ Related story: CIO Career Coach: How to build your professional brand (video) ]

WordPress

A blog is a great way to position yourself as an industry leader, but you don't necessarily need an entire website to run a successful blog. WordPress is a well-known and long-standing blogging platform that also lets you create and build out an entire website if you want. But with the basic service, the focus is mostly on blogging. You can register a new domain or bring a domain you already have, and enjoy the same all-in-one hosting that services like Squarespace provide. It's also the cheapest option at just $2.99 per month, which will get you all the basic features you need to get your industry blog up and running.

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This story, "5 sites that help you showcase your professional talents" was originally published by CIO.

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