How to Create a Portfolio Website and Make Your Resume Stickier

This tutorial is part of the free remote job course that helps you get a full-time remote job. 🌴

Having an online version of your resume makes you stand out from other job applicants. What we’re going to do today is make you stand out even more.

In another tutorial I mentioned eight key elements of a successful resume. One element I mentioned is adding links to portfolio pages on your website that go into further detail about your experience at an individual company (marked as number 2 below).

Annotated version of my resume

Adding these links to your resume will make your resume sticky.

When I say “sticky,” I mean that hiring managers will spend more time looking at your resume and learning about you. And the more time they spend doing these things, the stronger impression you’ll make on them.

In this version of my resume made with VisualCV, when hiring managers click the Learn More link they are taken to a page on my portfolio site that looks like this:

Example of a portfolio page linked to from my resume

I call these showcase pages because they showcase all of your major accomplishments at a particular company. With these showcase pages, you can further convince hiring managers that you’re the right person for the job.

Having these showcase pages has significantly improved my chances of landing interviews. Hiring managers have even gone out of their way to tell me they like them. They’ve also been impressed that I have a website. (Having a website is just a must nowadays if you want to stand out.)

Today I’ll show you how to create showcase pages and how to build a professional portfolio site like mine above (you can change the appearance).

We’ll start by purchasing web hosting and a domain for your portfolio site. This will cost you around $65. If that sounds like a lot, consider the return on investment if it helps you land a full-time job. Plus, you can use your website to create a blog and other things down the road.

With that in mind, let’s do this — ✌

Note: Before moving forward I recommend having an online version of your resume. I show you how to create one in this tutorial.

Sign up for Bluehost

The first step to create your portfolio website is to sign up for Bluehost.

This is a web hosting and domain service that will provide everything you need to create your site. The web hosting service will store your website files and connect your website to the internet. The domain service will give your website a user-friendly name (yourname.com).

Note: Bluehost has two YouTube videos that teach you what web hosting is and how a domain works in 60 seconds. If these terms are new to you, check out the videos.

To begin: On the Bluehost homepage, click the Get Started Now button. This will take you to a page with three different plans. Select the Basic plan.

Bluehost web hosting plans

On the next page you’ll be asked to create a domain name. In the box that says new domain, select the name of your site. I recommend making it your first name and last name with a dot com ending. (My ideal domain would be robertgibb.com). When you’re done, click next.

If your domain name is available, the next page will be the sign up page. If your domain name is is not available, the next page will offer you suggestions for your domain. You can choose one of these suggestions, or try out another domain you prefer in the domain selection box.

Try using different extensions to your first name / last name combination. (I might try robertgibb.net or robertgibb.site.) You can also add your middle name and try the .com domain again. Play around with this until you find something you like.

Note: I’ve already created a professional website for myself, so instead I’m going to create a site for my hobby as a movie script writer. I decided to call my site scriptstories.net.

Bluehost domain selection box

After you choose a domain, you’ll arrive on the sign up page. Fill in your personal information under the account information section, then proceed to the package information section.

Don’t be alarmed by the total cost! We’re going to get this down to around sixty dollars instead of a couple hundred dollars. To do this, change your account plan to a 12-month plan and uncheck all of the additional feature boxes.

When you uncheck the Domain Privacy Protection feature box, Bluehost will warn you that your information online will be public. You shouldn’t worry about this because you’re only using your site for professional purposes. You can also enable the domain protection feature later on if you change your mind. (Personally, I don’t use the feature on my site.)

When you’re done, your total should be around $65 after tax. Fill in your payment information toward the bottom, check the terms and condition box, and finally click the submit button.

If your information goes through successfully, you’ll arrive on a page that says congratulations. (Ignore the advertising offer on the page if there is one.)

On the next page you’ll see your receipt and a green button prompting you to create a password. Click this button. Create your password on the next page that appears, then click the log in button.

After getting logged in you’ll be asked to choose a website theme. You don’t need to do this now. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click skip this step.

On the next page you’ll see a notification that says Bluehost is provisioning your WordPress installation on a temporary domain. This is normal. After Bluehost is done registering your domain, it will be attached to your site. This will happen automatically.

Now proceed forward and click the button that says Start Building. A new window will open with your WordPress dashboard.

Bluehost WordPress dashboard

Set up WordPress

If you don’t already know, WordPress is a backend platform that you build your website on. Instead of learning how to code and coding your website from scratch, you can use WordPress. WordPress is easy to use, so if you don’t have any website building experience, don’t worry!

Initial setup

On the main page you’ll be asked if you’re building this site for business or personal purposes. Underneath you’ll see a link that says I don’t need help. Click that.

There’s a lot of stuff on this page you don’t need to concern yourself with so don’t get overwhelmed. I’ll show you the only things you need to do.

To start, click the Launch button.

After this, cancel the advertisements and notifications on your dashboard. (The reason you see so many is because Bluehost partners with various companies. Some of them are good services but you don’t need them right now.

This is what an advertisement looks like:

Advertisement in the WordPress dashboard

Close it by clicking the X in the top right corner. Do this for other advertisements and notifications to clean up your WordPress dashboard.

Delete unnecessary features

Click the Plugins button on the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. (Plugins are features you can easily add to your site. Some come pre-installed with Bluehost and WordPress but you don’t need them now.)

On the plugins page you’ll see the plugins currently installed on your site. To delete them, first check the box next to the word Plugin. Doing this will auto-select every installed plugin. Then select Deactivate next to the Apply button.

Your screen should look like this:

Plugins page in WordPress

Click Apply to deactivate the plugins. After doing this you should see a message that says “Selected plugins deactivated”.

Now select all of the plugins again by checking the same box you did before. But instead of selecting Deactivate this time, select Delete. Then click Apply. If a message appears confirming that you want to delete the plugins, click OK.

After this, go back to your dashboard by clicking Dashboard in the left-hand sidebar.

You’ll notice that the sidebar is cleaner and that there are no more aggravating notifications or advertisements. This is because we deleted the plugins. We now have a clean environment to build in.

But not so fast! We still have some additional setup to take care of before we start building your portfolio website.

Change WordPress settings

Click Settings in the left-hand sidebar.

On the page that appears, change the Site Title and Tagline to something more appropriate. Then change the WordPress Address and Site Address URL to your domain URL with http:// in front of it. Finally, change your email address.

Here’s what I would do for my professional website, assuming scriptstories.net is my professional website:

WordPress settings

When you’re done, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

You should receive an email from WordPress asking you to confirm the email address you just entered. You won’t be able to complete the “Edit Your Profile” section below until you receive this email and click on the confirmation link.

Note: The confirmation email can take up to thirty minutes to send. Instead of waiting, proceed to the “Create a homepage” section of this article and return to the “Edit your profile” section later.

Now click Permalinks under the Settings icon in the left-hand sidebar. Under the section that says Common Settings select Post name. Doing this will make the URLs of your website cleaner and easier to comprehend.

WordPress permalinks

Now scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

Edit your profile

Note: If you haven’t received the confirmation email mentioned above, go to the “Create a homepage” section of this article and return to this section later.

Click Users in the left-hand sidebar, then click the Your Profile option that appears in the left-hand sidebar.

Under the Name section, fill in your information so it resembles something like this:

Profile section in WordPress

After doing this, at the bottom of the page click Update Profile.

Add a profile picture

On the same page, scroll to the section that says Profile Picture and click the link that says Gravatar. This will take you to a new site.

On the Gravatar site, click the Create Your Own Gravatar button toward the bottom of the page. On the page that appears, create an account with the same email attached to your WordPress website.

Gravatar signup page

Note: If the email is taken, that means you already signed up for a Gravatar account before and forgot about it. No worries. Just go back to the Gravatar homepage and log in to your account using your email. And if you forget your password, just request a new one.

When you create your account, a confirmation link will be sent to you. Click the link in the email and sign in to your new account using your email and password. (If you aren’t automatically signed in, go to gravatar.com and click the Sign In button in the top right part of the screen.)

Eventually you should arrive to a page that looks like this:

Page for managing Gravatars

Click the Add a new image link at the bottom of the page.

On the next page that appears, click the Upload New box to select an image on your computer. If you don’t have an image of yourself on your computer, you can select the From Webcam option and take a picture using the camera on your computer.

When you have an image, position it to your satisfaction and then click Crop Image. On the next page, select a G rating for it and click Set Rating.

And that’s it. Now you’re good to go. Return to your WordPress dashboard. If you successfully created your Gravatar account, you’ll see your image next to the Profile Picture section on the page located at Users > Your Profile (the page you were on in the previous section of this article).

Note: If you’re having trouble getting back to your WordPress site, go to bluehost.com and log in to your account. On the left-hand sidebar in your account, select My Site. Then hover over your site box and click Log in to WordPress.

Build Your Portfolio Website

Create a homepage

Your homepage is the main page of your site. When you enter your primary domain in the web browser, it’s the page that will appear.

Because this is a professional website to support your job search, your homepage should explain who you are from a professional standpoint. This doesn’t mean you can’t include interesting information about yourself outside of work. In fact, you should do this. Doing so will give you an edge over other job candidates.

Here is what the homepage of my own portfolio site currently looks like:

Homepage of my portfolio website

This is what your homepage will look like in a little bit after you change your website theme in the next section of this article. But for now we’ll focus on adding the actual content: a picture of yourself and the text about yourself.

To enter the text, click Pages in the left-hand menu in your WordPress dashboard. Then click Sample Page. This will take you to the page editor.

First we’ll change the title and permalink of the page. Right now the title is Sample Page and the permalink is /sample-page/.

For now, just call your page About to keep things simple. After all, this is a page about you. Then change the permalink from /sample-page/ to /about/ by clicking the Edit button and then OK.

Wordpress page permalink and title

After this, delete the text that is currently in the editing box below. Using my homepage as an example, write a few paragraphs about who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re interested in.

When you’re done, click Update in the right-hand sidebar.

Now click Settings in the right-hand sidebar. Under the Settings menu in the sidebar, click Reading.

Next to where it says Your homepage displays, select the option that says A static page (select below) and in the dropdown next to Homepage, select your About page. (Leave the Posts page dropdown as is. You can change this later if you decide to create a blog on your website.)

Make homepage a static page in WordPress

When you’re done, click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

Choose a theme

Now we’re going to change the look of your website. To change how your website looks, you need a new theme. For now I recommend using the same theme I use for my professional site but you can change it later.

To get a new theme, click Appearance in the left-hand menu of your WordPress dashboard. On the page that appears, click the Add New button in the top left.

In the search field that says Search themes… type Independent Publisher (the name of the theme we’re going to use). The theme called Independent Publisher should appear. When it does, click Install. Then click Activate.

You should be taken to the main Themes page and see a Customize button next to the theme you just activated. Click that button.

Independent publisher wordpress theme

This should take you to a new page with a customization menu on the left and your homepage on the right.

Customize your theme

Personalize your site with your face

In the customization menu, click the rectangular box called Site Identity. Confirm that the Site Title is your name and the Tagline is the professional headline you want. (It should be the same as the headline on your resume.)

Under Site Icon, upload the image of yourself you used for Gravatar by clicking Select Image. In the box that appears, select the Upload Files tab and then click Select Files. Open the image of yourself, then click Select. When you’ve cropped it to your liking, click Crop Image.

Now go back to the main customization menu by clicking the arrow at the top.

Wordpress customization menu return button

Leave the Colors box as is for now. You can come back and change this later to customize the colors of links and text on your website.

Below Colors click Header Image.

Under Current header click the Add new image button. You should see the image of yourself that you uploaded for the Site Icon. Select that and then click the Select and Crop button. When you’re done, click Crop Image. This will replace the blank face at the top of your site with your face!

Add menus to your site

Again, go back to the main customization menu by clicking the same arrow you did before. Then select Menus.

First we’ll add a menu item that will link to your LinkedIn Profile. To do this, click the Create New Menu button. Under Menu Name, type in Social using your keyboard. Then, under Menu Locations, check the box that says Social. Click Next when you’re done.

Now click the + Add Items button. At the top of the new menu that appears, click the box that says Custom Links.

In the URL field enter the web address of your LinkedIn profile (ex: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-gibb-iv/). In the Link Text field, type the word LinkedIn. Then click the Add to Menu button. This will add a LinkedIn icon to the top of your website.

Note: You can also add icons for other social media properties like Twitter following the same process.

When you’re done, click the arrow that would typically take you back to the main customization menu. Only this time it will take you back to the Menus menu. (We’re almost done with all this menus talk! 😛)

Now we’re going to add a menu that includes links to your VisualCV resume and homepage.

To do this, click the Create New Menu button again. Under Menu Name type Primary and under Menu Locations select Primary Menu. Then click Next.

Click the + Add Items button and then click Pages box in the new menu that appears. Then click your About page (your homepage). Doing this will add your about page to the main menu.

After this, click Custom Links and add the public web address of your VisualCV resume in the URL field (ex: https://www.visualcv.com/content-marketing-rob). In the Link Text field, write Resume.

Note: You can add more pages to the menu later. For example, you can add a link to your site’s blog if you decide to build one (which is really easy to do with WordPress).

When you’ve added your menus, click the back arrow twice to return to the main customization menu.

Now there’s just one last thing to do here before we can hit Publish and update your site with all these great changes!

Remove unnecessary widgets

Click Widgets in the customization menu and then click Sidebar. We want to delete all of these widgets because they’re currently making the bottom of our About page busy with nonsense. (Widgets are good for when you have a blog.)

To delete the Search widget, click Search and then click Remove. Do this for all of the other widgets.

When all of the widgets are removed, click the +Add Widget button and select the widget called Text. Don’t add anything in the text field. (The reason we’re doing this is kind of a long technical story so don’t worry about it.)

After you do this, click the blue Publish button at the top of the customization menu. Then exit out of the customization menu by clicking the X in the top left part of the screen. Now you should see your beautiful new homepage!

As a final step, hover over the Caching option at the top of your screen and click Purge All. This will refresh your website with the new changes.

And that’s it! When you’re done your homepage should look similar to mine.

Note: If you’re not crazy about the theme design, you can change the theme later. This theme is just to get you started. It will serve the primary purpose of making your resume stickier with showcase pages.

Speaking of showcase pages…

Create Showcase Pages

The showcase pages are the pages you’ll link out to from your resume. They’ll provide deeper insight into what you accomplished and created at different companies throughout your career.

To create your first showcase page, return to your WordPress dashboard. You can always do this by hovering over the title of your site in the top left part of your screen and clicking Dashboard.

WordPress dashboard menu

When you’re in your dashboard, click Pages in the left-hand sidebar. Then click the Add New button in the top left.

Name the title of your page the name of the company you worked for. Make the permalink the same. For instance, this is what it would look like for the company MaxCDN I worked for:

Permalink and title for showcase page

As for what to insert in the text box, I recommend following this example of what I wrote for my MaxCDN showcase page.

For a hiring manager interested in my experience at MaxCDN, this gives them more insight into what I did during my time there. It includes specifics, along with samples of my work and testimonials from the people I worked with.

Include as much information and specifics as you can without making it overwhelming.

If you have a testimonial, you can use the blockquote feature in WordPress to give the testimonial a better feel. To do this, highlight the testimonial, then click the quote button in the text editor menu.

Create quote with blockquote button in WordPress

And you’re done. Now click Publish.

Your first showcase page should look something like this:

Example of a portfolio page linked to from my resume

Repeat this process for other companies you’ve worked at. You can also create showcase pages for internships and projects if you haven’t been employed by many companies.

When you’ve created all the showcase pages you want to link to from your resume, proceed to the next and final step.

Add Links to Your Resume

And now the time is here. This is what you came here for in the first place, so if you’ve made it this far, grab a beer, pour yourself a glass of wine, or eat some sweets. You deserve it.

This is the last step and it’s also the easiest.

When you’re ready, open up your online resume in VisualCV. Under each company section of your Experience, add text that says Learn More after your bulleted list of accomplishments. Link the Learn More text to the respective showcase page on your website.

And that’s it. Your resume will now grab — and keep — the attention of hiring managers.

If you have any questions about Bluehost or WordPress, please let me know in the comment section below.

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