Portfolio for real - looking for critiques on suitability

Portfolio for real - looking for critiques on suitability
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#1

This is a link to a for-real portfolio.(NOT the FCC challenge.) I am looking for contractor jobs.

I would greatly appreciate critiques of this portfolio, both from a look/content perspective, and also suitability for a job search.

I have run it in Chrome and Safari on a MacBook Pro, and in my iPhone7.

This portfolio is continuously resizable, and fits on any device, any size screen where width >= 300px. It is running from my own server deployed on Heroku, and there may be performance issues with a few screens. Comments on performance also solicited.

https://powerful-ravine-22665.herokuapp.com/index

Thank you

Steve


#2

A few scattershot thoughts:

  • From looking at the portfolio, it’s not clear what type of work you’re actually looking for. Front end web dev? Back end? Full stack? Given that you also mention your management experience, it could equally be that you’re looking for management roles… but a prospective employer won’t know either way.
  • Be more selective about what you show:
    • A lot of the stuff under “other” looks really cool, but has limited relevance. Not suggesting you should necessarily remove it, as having broad-based interests and experiences can be a bonus, but it’s not central to your message. Consider moving it to a page entitled “Other Interests” and then linking to that from the homepage.
    • Is your experience with C++ and Smalltalk relevant to the jobs you’re hoping to get? That’s an open question — maybe it is… but equally, after 15 years, can you still use them fluently?
    • There’s one bullet point you can definitely remove — social media. There’s no point mentioning it if there’s nothing to see there.
  • Visually and structurally emphasize the most important things for an employer to see — things that showcase the best of your skill in the areas you want to specialize in. Having some big, clickable screenshots of your best projects at the top would be great. As it is, your very first bullet point forces the reader to click it to view what’s inside, and even then you don’t link to any projects within it. Only by the third bullet point do they get to see live projects.
  • Consider personal branding. I’m guessing you’re not aiming for highly design-oriented jobs, but it might not be a bad idea to ask a friend with strong design skills to spruce up the front page a bit. Also on the subject of branding, your URL looks to be randomly generated — consider switching it out for your real name or online moniker.
  • The resizing idea is intriguing, but it makes the text look beautifully clear on my laptop and unreadably small on my Huawei P9 phone (5.2" screen). I imagine it’d look even tinier on an iPhone.
  • Typing in the hostname part of the URL with no path doesn’t redirect to /index (you’ll lose viewers if they try to access the page by typing it into their browser).

With all that said, it looks like a solid body of work, and there are a lot more interesting projects in there than most of the portfolios I’ve seen on here.


#3

Thanks Lionel for these perceptive and really useful remarks.

I’m looking for companies hiring contractors for a specific purpose. I thought maybe a short sentence in a “cover” email or pdf would do, but I really don’t know how to go about this. The kind of jobs available is so diverse, I hate to close anything out by being too specific. Having Javascript, Node, React, etc I think says a lot. Obviously full-stack. Maybe I should add “full stack” up front.

I made the “portfolio” boring on purpose. It’s really just a bunch of keywords with links. I think hiring people get so many submissions that they just look for keywords initially. Pictures, for example, would just distract. Anyway, if someone is looking for pretty pictures on a portfolio submission, it’s probably not someone for me. Again, I don’t know.

I agree wi†h you that there is some work involved going deeper. From the perspective of someone filtering through lots of submissions, is having a much more sprawling page better? I wish I knew the answers to these questions.

I thought a lot about the “other” category. It IS at the bottom. I’m actually looking for something where programming and math competence are required in an actual human being and not a super-geek (ie, not very close to the machine). So this is kind of my filter.

C++, Smalltalk - I don’t know, so I’ll leave it for now.

The text is quite small on my iphone… I can actually make the minimum size larger - it’s just a constant in the application. The structure is already completely vertical, so I don’t know how else to modify it for an iphone. What would you suggest? Do people look at portfolios on iphones?

Thanks again for these very thoughtful comments.


#4

Yeah, maybe just a brief phrase or two that could complete the sentence “I am a…” Doesn’t have to be limiting in terms of what you can’t do, but should give some ideas of your specific strengths.

Picking up on keywords is likely automated. Just having them somewhere on the page is enough. People, on the other hand, are easily swayed by psychological elements. It’s entirely your choice what to emphasize to them, and psychology/structure/aesthetics matter. Think of how the most successful e-commerce sites direct your attention where they want — upselling, recommending things that are likely to interest you, configuring default settings calculated to make the most profit.

The best way to deliver information is often a layered approach. For a casual viewer (perhaps a recruiter looking to forward as many resumes as possible), just give them the most important details. Then, people that want more specifics can click through to more information. Preferably direct them to the live project, then the source code, then the documentation (not necessarily sequentially like that, but in terms of emphasis/level of interest required).

No idea. Probably, especially if they’re working on the move. But the reason I even checked this in the first place is because of the emphasis you place on the resizing framework.


#5

Lionel

I can see that you are correct about a lot of this. I will modify my resume accordingly. Thanks a lot for taking the time.

Steve


#6

Lionel

I have incorporated many of your suggestions and I see that the portfolio is greatly improved.

I have added a contact section, rearranged the list order, specified what I am looking for, removed the social media section, shortened the “other” section, no need to put “index” in the url, the font is bigger on a phone, I corrected problems with some of the resize framework examples. However, instead of adding images, I added the following comment in 2 of the popups:

This is purposely a boring, nuts-and-bolts portfolio. It conveys basic information about me, my capabilities and experience, and has links to several projects. To follow up, go to “Contact” below.

To be honest, I have worked for many many managers (too many), and am using this as my filter to weed out some who may be too strongly influenced by psychological factors (they just won’t respond). At least that’s my theory. I have reviewed many resumes and I have an aversion to enthusiasm on paper (it’s fine in real life). It’s boring and trite and very hard to pull of, even by good writers.

BTW, I would like to make the “resizing framework” an open source project. I would welcome collaborators, as I am concerned about going too far off course on my own, and anyway it will be too much work for one person to make it more general and bulletproof. But I have to figure out how to go about it.

No need to reply, just wanted to let you know how much you have helped me. Thanks again.

Steve