The Social Resume: What To Include In Your Online Portfolio

Social media is rapidly changing the way companies brand and market themselves as well as provide customer service. Though paid social continues to grow, organic social media management remains important as well! Since 2010, jobs with “social media” in the title tripled year over year, and the demand for these skills is not isolated to jobs with a social media title.

What Should Be in My Academic Portfolio? Your academic portfolio is a demonstration of your very best collegiate work and most notable achievements during your college career. Necessary components of an academic portfolio include: A short bio about who you are. This lets employers get to know a bit about your personality. Your portfolio can contain proof of your skills, samples of your work and letters of recommendation along with your resume. You can have a physical portfolio or create one online. Creating a portfolio can help you prepare for the interview process. You can review your portfolio before an interview to recall specific examples of your accomplishments.

Being a social media manager requires a bit more knowledge than simply growing up friending your classmates on Facebook and tweeting puppy videos. The trick is creating the perfect social media resume—or spotting one—which identifies the skills needed to be a brand ambassador on social. When you find yourself needing to polish your resume, I’ve compiled a list of skills you should include—or brush up on before you interview!

1. Highlight Your Communication Skills

Social media is all about connections and communication. As more companies utilize social platforms for customer service, branding, and influencing, it is highly important to be able to present a branded persona to solve problems and communicate for the company. Even more importantly, communication is imperative to being part of a team! You’ll most likely be a member of a marketing team that will need you to effectively communicate what you need from them and how you can help them achieve their goals.

Your social media resume should also highlight your skills to appropriately choose a social platform for certain posts—i.e. Twitter for customer service questions, Facebook for larger company press releases and photos, LinkedIn for job openings and conference news.

An easy way to state this on your resume? Place something similar to the below in your social media skills list:

  • Proficient in Social Media Targeting and Communication
  • Engage customers and target prospects on social platforms while leveraging influencers

2. Brag About Your Copywriting Skills

I am a firm believer that grammar and spelling knowledge go a long way in any profession, but if you make a living being a professional social media star, you better get it right! There is nothing more embarrassing than typos or grammar mistakes. Personally, I love using Grammarly—it’s a free plugin that spell checks as you go. When you’re dealing with an angry customer on twitter, you can make sure all your punctuation is in the right spot!

Moreover, copywriting should be exciting! You’re going to have limited space—or characters—to communicate an offer or witty update. Brush up on your vocabulary and be prepared to be a modern-day Hemingway on social media!

This should also take up residence in your “Skills” section on your resume:

  • Excellent copywriting and editing skills, close attention to detail

The Social Resume: What To Include In Your Online Portfolio Examples

3. Get Creative

Let’s face it, social media can be boring. Despite Facebook’s best efforts to make the Newsfeed show relevant posts, most people spend most their time scrolling to find something interesting in their feeds. As a social media expert, you should have the creative juices to make your posts stand out from the crowd, getting clicks and likes and retweets.

The easiest way to do this? Make your resume stand out! Check out these out-of-the-box examples of creative social media resumes:

4. Showcase Prior Social Media Success

The best way to make your social media resume stand out is to showcase your past success. Use metrics—maybe even graphs!—to show a potential employer that yes, you can be a great social media manager. Because you have grown Facebook likes by 200%, and your most popular tweet was retweeted 146 times, and your periscope received 5,000 views. Show that you have successfully built and engaged a community on various social platforms, because then you’ll be trusted to do it again.

How to place this on your resume? Like so:

  • Increased social media engagement significantly by increasing Facebook likes 200%, growing Twitter followers from 2,000 to 8,000, and regularly engaging with followers.

5. Get Analytical

Though it should be assumed that, if you have identified your success, you know your way around Facebook Business Manager and Twitter analytics, make sure this is at the top on your list of skills. It is important to show that yes, you manage social media, but here is how you know you’re good at it.

Do you add tracking from Google Analytics to your links? Add that to the list. How do you judge the success of your campaigns? What was the most important metric for you—and how did you find it?

  • Fluent in Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics
  • Experienced in analyzing metrics, identifying trends, and optimizing performance

6. Know Your Social Platforms

Obviously, a social media manager should be proficient in the basics: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest. However, the most important weapons in my social media planning arsenal are HootSuite and IFTTT. Any social media manager knows how important planning is, because there is simply no way to set up all those posts in real time. Make sure that a potential employer sees this listed on your resume, so they know you’re the real deal. Even better, go into detail about how you use different platforms to bolster your strategy.

The Social Resume: What To Include In Your Online Portfolio Sample

As a bonus, include any related platforms, too, such as Buzzsumo or SEMRush.

  • Proficient in Buffer/HootSuite, IFTTT
    • Planned and scheduled at least 10 posts per week through Buffer, set up 4 applets through IFTTT

7. Show Off Your Image Formatting

First things first, do you use Canva? Because you should! As most social media marketers know, any posts with images perform way better than posts without—which makes social media managers into experts at searching for the perfect meme, gif, or creating one of their own.

These are so important for driving positive brand sentiment and developing a branded persona. Show this skill off on your resume! Not necessarily the 50+ Beyonce .gifs stored away in a folder labeled “For Social Engagement”, but feel free to showcase your most creative and best-performing posts on your resume.

If you follow these resume guidelines, you’ll be set for your social media job search and interviews. Good luck!


by Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP

Some undergraduate and graduate social work programs require their students to have an academic portfolio as part of graduation requirements. The purpose of this collection is to provide evidence of student learning in practice and as a tool for measuring a student’s growth and mastery of social work competencies.

This collection can range from a few to 100 or more pages long and can include a résumé, classroom or internship presentations, papers, self-evaluations, reflections, and other school assignments.

Is this the same as a professional social work portfolio? No, not really.

What is a professional/career portfolio?

Although the academic portfolio in social work education is a great measurement of a student’s understanding of social work competencies, a professional or career portfolio is visual representation of your experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities—and it represents your potential as a professional social worker.

This collection of tangible materials will show your progress, achievements, and contributions from academic and work-related positions. Your professional portfolio will provide evidence of your potential by demonstrating what you have accomplished in the past.

Your career portfolio is not just something to update during your job search periods. It also provides you with a convenient place to keep a record of your professional development and can help you create effective strategies for achieving the goals you have set in your career as a social worker. When I prompt social workers to make sure they include accomplishments on their résumés, their response is usually, “I can’t think of any professional accomplishments I have made.” A professional portfolio will enable you to establish the habit of keeping track of your career achievements and documenting them in one location.

Why should I have a portfolio?

Résumés and cover letters only give employers a taste of who you are and what you have accomplished. Even an interview brings out limited information about your professional background. Why not give employers something concrete they can see about your professional achievements? Having a professional portfolio can:

  • help you prepare for interviews
  • give you an edge over your competition when interviewing
  • communicate your worth to potential employers
  • help you provide supporting evidence when asking for a promotion or raise
  • help you organize your professional accomplishments
  • allow you to assess your own career development.

What should my portfolio include?

What to incorporate into your portfolio will depend on you—where you are in your career, what field of social work you are in or want to be in, and the job to which you are applying. It is important to be very thoughtful about what you include in this collection when using it for your job search. Keep in mind that more is not always better. Just as with a résumé and cover letter, you want to be clear and concise, so potential employers can find what you want them to know quickly. Among the items you may want to include in your professional portfolio are:

Table of Contents: Organize your content and help your readers find what they are looking for quickly.

Social Work Summary and Goals: Similar to the professional summary on your résumé, this could include information about who you are as a professional, your professional interests, and where you see yourself in three to five years.

Extended Résumé: Did it just break your heart to trim your résumé down to two pages when applying for certain jobs? If there are jobs, job accomplishments, honors, or publications you didn’t include on your application résumé to keep it to a manageable and scannable length, this is where you can include a longer version with more detailed information. But again, keep in mind that more isn’t always better.

Educational Background and Achievements: If you are getting ready to graduate or have recently graduated and don’t have a wealth of professional experience, this is where you can include some of the achievements from your social work programs. Were you in your social work honors society? Did you serve as an officer for your student association? Was your poster presentation or research project accepted for a national conference?

Transcripts, Degrees, Licenses, and Certifications: Your professional credentials are probably the first thing an employer checks for when hiring you. Make a copy of all your diplomas and licenses to have available, if requested. Most social work licensure boards have an online searchable database, but it is good practice to have this information handy and in your personal records.

Professional Accomplishments and Growth: Consider including a detailed listing of your accomplishments and promotions. These should be included in your résumé, but outlining them in a separate document with more detail can be impressive and help you articulate your value to the organization when thinking about asking for a promotion or raise.

Skills, Abilities, and Competencies: A detailed examination of your skills and competencies will not only help articulate your potential value to employers, but it will help you assess your strengths and weaknesses as a professional social worker. If you have certain skills you can highlight that fit the jobs you are looking for, this document can help to outline them. In general, it is a good exercise to spend time inventorying your professional skills and providing concrete examples. Examples can include your therapy skills, management/leadership skills, language, communication, and organizational skills.

Professional Artifacts: Don’t forget to include samples of your work, if you have them. Did you create a resource guide, client forms, reports, an agency video, or a newsletter for your internship placement or place of employment? If you were interviewed by a local newspaper or television station or gave a presentation to a local, state, or national audience, be sure to include the links or documentation of these accolades.

Continuing Education: Whether you have been to one conference or 30, you should be actively documenting your continuing education (CE), even if you are not licensed or certified. Including an annotated list in your portfolio will show employers you are keeping up with the latest developments in practice and are organized about your professional development. Don’t forget to include information about the provider of the CE, how many hours of CE or CEUs you received, where and when you received the training, and the learning objectives of each session.

Honors and Awards: A collection of certificates of awards, honors, and scholarships can be a great addition to your portfolio.

Letters of Support/Recommendations: A collection of any positive feedback or support from your professors, field instructors, past employers, or colleagues is always helpful. If you have them, include your positive performance evaluations from your past employers.

Volunteering/Community Service: Include a description of any community service activities, volunteer work, or pro bono work you have completed, especially as it relates to your career. This is especially helpful if you are new to the profession or if there are breaks in your employment timeline.

Reference List: Compile and include a list of three to five professional colleagues or professors (including full names, titles, addresses, and phone/email) who are willing to speak about your strengths, abilities, and experience. Include information about how you know them and if they supervised you.

How long should each of these documents be, and how far back should I go in my professional history?

If the portfolio is for your personal record-keeping, it can be as long as you want. If you intend it to be a supplement for your job interview, an employer is not going to have the time to read a lengthy tome, so it is important to be succinct and only include material relevant to the job for which you are interviewing.

The Social Resume: What To Include In Your Online Portfolio

What should a portfolio NOT include?

Do not include your personal history or narrative. This collection is strictly about your social work education and professional accomplishments. Photos should not be included, unless they were published in a newspaper or newsletter or highlighted in some other professional way. This document is not your social media profile.

Format: digital or hard copy?

Should I print and take my entire portfolio to every interview? Many career experts recommend that your portfolio be presented in a sleek binder organized with dividers and taken to every interview. Keep in mind that you will probably never get this collection back, and the likelihood that your interviewer will have time to read your entire collection is slim, but possible. It definitely can’t hurt to put this much effort into your portfolio, but at the very least, print some of the most relevant supplemental material to leave for your interviewers.

Retaining a digital copy of all your portfolio items is crucial to keep this collection updated. Be sure to convert the documents to one PDF file if you choose to email it to potential employers. Scan any brochures or newspaper articles of your work that you can’t find online. If you were featured in an article in your local online newspaper or on your university website, be sure to download copies for safekeeping. Linking to articles in your résumé is a great idea, but nothing is forever. Online newspapers archive their articles fairly quickly, and they won’t be available online long-term.

The Social Resume: What To Include In Your Online Portfolio For A

Online portfolios

You should definitely consider an online professional portfolio if you are in the job market. Why? Because employers may Google you anyway. You may as well put the information out there that you want them to see. It is also an easy way to allow them to see this collection without spending a cent on printing costs and fancy binders. There are a handful of online portfolio websites that are free and relatively easy to create: I have mentioned the value of LinkedIn multiple times, and if you still haven’t created a profile, now is the time. LinkedIn is THE place to build your professional identity online and stay in touch with your professional network. LinkedIn has added some great features in the last few years, including a portfolio feature. You can now add documents, photos, links, videos, and presentations to each of your work and volunteer positions and educational institutions. There is also the option to add sections, such as certifications, interests, projects, and posts, to increase your visibility and improve your professional brand. Let us not forget that employers can easily see recommendations on your profile written by your professional colleagues. However, I am not fond of the “Endorsements” feature. I have 36 endorsements for “Grant Writing” on my profile, and I think only two of those individuals have actually seen a grant I have written and secured. Be aware that actual “Recommendations” will carry more weight. LinkedIn is free and easy to use and has some decent privacy controls.

Blogs: If you are somewhat computer savvy, blogs can be an excellent starting point for creating your own website/online career portfolio. Blogs tend to be easy to set up and use. They are often free, but most have subscription options with advanced features. Blogs may be a good option if you need a simple portfolio. I have used both and, and both are fairly straightforward and easy to use. There are many other blog sites, but some have limited features. Some are better for personal blogging than for a professional profile.

Digital Portfolio Websites: There are a number of career portfolio websites. However, I found during my research that around 90% of these sites are for graphic designers, photographers, and other creative professionals to display their visual art. The one I found to be most useful is called It is free with available upgrades. Your site can be public or private, and you can give employers the password to access it.

The Social Resume: What To Include In Your Online Portfolio Template

I think a career portfolio is an underutilized tool for social workers. It can help you keep your professional accomplishments organized and allow you to strategically plan your career trajectory. Your professional portfolio is a living collection that you will continually update throughout your career.

The social resume: what to include in your online portfolio examples

Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP, is the Associate Executive Director for the National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC). She received her dual degree in social work and public policy from the University of Minnesota and currently provides membership support, including résumé review, to the members of NASW-NC.