Portfolios – Content & Platforms
Portfolios are common, especially among mechanical engineers and architects, to visually highlight accomplishments and projects. They can be used when applying to jobs, internships, graduate schools, fellowships/scholarships, and design competitions. Some opportunities, such as in product design, will expect a portfolio along with application materials like your resume. Create a portfolio to show your work, demonstrate skills, and help you stand out!
When selecting what to put in your portfolio, consider who might be viewing it. Spend some time thinking about which projects will be of most interest or relevant to your audience.
Content that can be included:
• a cover sheet with name & contact info and table of contents
• a summary
• the “right” projects (for your audience)
• a balance of group work vs. individual responsibilities
• skills (& software/hardware/machining/drafting)
• visuals and media
• personal projects, artwork, or “passion projects”
When sharing group projects, clearly state what your role was and what your specific contributions were for the project. Avoid having a group project on your portfolio where you might not have done much work at all on it as it may be difficult to speak much about your skills on that project during an interview.
• Is all information up to date? Review your portfolio content if you’ve had one for a couple of years. Often summary information may need an update as you gain experience, refine your interests, or graduate.
• Can your portfolio be linkable from your resume/LinkedIn? Do all links work?
• If you are using a webpage base as your portfolio, think about multiple audiences that might view it and how it would be best organized, especially if you are attracted to different industries and roles. Make it easy for different audiences to find what is valuable to them quickly.
As you’re reviewing the overall content you have selected, ask yourself, Are you reaching your target audience?
Potential Places to Build a Portfolio
Here are a few options that we have seen students use, along with potential pros and cons. None of these are endorsements or discouragements – pick a method that works best for you!
|Wix||• Free option exists
• Large template selection
• Intuitive interface
• Ease of use over squarespace or weebly
|• $13/month or free option with banner ad
• It is not possible to download site
• Can’t export to other sites
|Weebly||• Free option exists
• Some customizable templates
• Some drag and drop editing
• Allows exporting to other sites
|• $6-$12/month for Personal or Professional
• Free version includes weebly in the domain
• Some things may not be customizable
• Weebly branding on page
• Photo editor may be more basic
|Squarespace||• Very visual platform
• Flexible templates
• All plans are ad free
• Your own domain name
|• No free option, lowest cost is $12/month
• Editing face more complicated
• Ease of use may be lower than wix or weebly
• Quick and easy to put together
• Savable as a pdf and can include as an email attachment or can print it
|• Can’t link to it as you can with websites, however, you could upload to another service, like dropbox, and use a public link
• Websites allow for more interaction and ease of incorporating different media
• Not as visually appealing
• Easy to input information quickly
• Searchable skills and tags
• Links to specific projects
• Download Profile as PDF, export a one page summary or resume based on profile
|• Very static – cannot move content around
• Not as visually appealing
• Newer platform
Additional Options: Build from scratch, use an “MIT domain” or personal domain name or Google site. Issuu – (more common among architecture students) The info in the table above was updated June 2020