The Secret to Creating an Online Portfolio That Gets You Noticed

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By Erin Kelly As someone in her senior year of college, I’ve been wondering: Will all the late-night study sessions, canceled dates and stress headaches that helped me secure a high G.P.A. and part-time jobs be enough to get a job when I graduate? What can I do to get an edge on the millions of college students who will shortly go from being my peers to my competition?

Throughout my college career, several professors have told me to invest in a website with a personalized domain, or URL, because it’s clean-looking and shows career commitment -- qualities any prospective employer wants to see.

See Related:How to Make Your Digital Profile Stand Out With a 'Not-Com'

I found a way to add ‘creative’ to this list of qualities by veering away from the traditional ‘dot-com’ (.com). My website is ErinKelly.info. ‘Dot-info’ (.info) was appealing to me because I'm a journalism major eyeing a career of providing the public with "information."

But there are hundreds -- literally, hundreds -- of new options to break the ‘dot-com’ status quo and stand out online.

You can be a ‘dot-vision’ (.vision), a ‘dot-expert’ (.expert), a ‘dot-guru’ (.guru) … the list goes on. I kept coming across more and more "not-com" portfolios as I was researching ways to make a great website while constructing my own.

The list below includes some of my favorite professional sites from this expanding community of not-com online portfolios. I mean, think about the reaction these people probably get when they serve up their portfolio URL in an email signature, on a business card or over social media. They definitely stand a better chance of being remembered.

Perhaps these examples will provide some inspiration for you, as they did for me.

www.ScottCleve.land

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 4.21.33 PM

Scott Cleveland must have picked his not-com website name because he hates unnecessary words. This copywriter from Florida cleverly leveraged the 'dot-land' (.land) domain so that is URL is, literally, his entire name. Cleveland strikes me as someone with a subtle sense of humor judging from the GIF he includes of himself eating a sandwich, and that sort of humor, combined with clever wordplay, must make him popular with clients, both current and prospective.

www.HMJ.graphics

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Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 12.15.36 PM

Mark Johnson is a graphic designer based in Chicago, Ill., and the HMJ in his domain stands for ‘Hire Mark Johnson.’ How straightforward! His site features all the prerequisite information necessary to make it great: contact information, resume, work samples and a short, colorful introduction. Oh, and a great design, of course.

www.DavidPearson.international

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Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 12.16.29 PM

David Pearson made his first film at the tender age of 12 -- it was about a ball of electricity that attacked children. He's gone on to become an award-winning writer, producer and director who has traveled around the world for his job. It looks like Pearson decided to reflect that global experience with the 'dot-international' (.international) domain.

www.Allison.house

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Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 6.31.54 PM

This "House" is a one-woman production machine, and her online portfolio URL is, literally, her name. Allison House is a successful designer and speaker who's worked for companies such as Dropbox, Codecademy and TreeHouse. House's succinct domain reinforces her visually appealing and well-organized site. I can imagine the fun networking at cocktail parties: "Hi, my name is Allison House ,and you can find me online at Allison-DOT-House."

www.tailor.digital

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 4.37.48 PM

Developer Patrick Colucci calls himself a "digital tailor." On his portfolio site, he describes a traditional tailor as someone who makes, repairs or alters clothing; as a digital tailor, he does much the same thing -- only as a developer/designer specializing in iOS and Android. Although people just use their given names in their portfolio website, which has its advantages, but Colucci’s definition of "digital tailor" helps him stand out.

www.Ambrose.holiday

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 4.39.20 PM

Here's another example of someone who used a not-com that matched his name. (Lucky you, if you can apply options on this list to match your name!) Holiday has a simple, clean and interesting website to match a simple, clean and interesting domain.

www.ChristianOrtiz.engineering

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 4.40.57 PM

Christian Ortiz engineered a perfect website. And it’s no wonder, since he’s an engineer studying for a master’s of science at Dartmouth College. Ortiz designed an “autonomous robot,” which is featured on the site. All productivity halted when I stumbled onto Ortiz's site. I moved the screen around to get a 3-D look at his robot and simultaneously fell in love with this interactive site.

www.Louie.land

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Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.52.38 PM

The name of this online portfolio is modeled after the "Happiest Place on Earth": Disneyland. Its owner, Louie Mantia, is a graphic designer who's worked on projects for Apple and Square. He chose 'dot-land' (.land) because he wanted a fun website to match the fun icons and graphics featured on his site.