When I was applying for editorial jobs, I desperately wanted to show off all the stuff I’d written. Of course, some applications asked for writing samples. But many didn’t, and I had to wonder—was not sharing my work holding me back from landing jobs?
So, as the story goes (if you read this article’s title, that is), I decided to link to my portfolio and author pages on my resume.
But of course, I wasn’t entirely sure if this was something I could or was supposed to do. And, did I even do it right? And the bigger question I had was: Do hiring managers even like and look at them?
So, I reached out to Muse career coach and job search expert Clayton Wert for his thoughts. Luckily, I was in the clear:
It’s acceptable to use links in your resume, cover letter, or any form of the job application—assuming you’re submitting it online. I’m of the belief that 90% of applications are now online, and you should be adding links to your portfolio, your LinkedIn page, and possibly more depending on your industry and the type of work that you’ve done. It’s best to put as much out there as possible when applying to jobs, because attention is everything in the job search.
Wert, who works primarily in the tech space, says that it’s essential to show off your work if you’re an engineer: “It’s imperative that an employer or recruiter knows that you’ve built out various projects, and that they can easily click to and from them on your resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not important for other fields as well—editorial, production, marketing, PR, design, to name a few. Even webinars or speaking engagements you were a part of are sometimes worth including. And, as Wert suggests, it’s helpful for anyone to list their LinkedIn if it contains more helpful information.
The most important thing is to link to your proudest and best work, as well as projects that are the most relevant to the role you’re applying to.
But it’s key to note how you’re presenting your links. Like your resume’s font or format (a.k.a., whether it’s a doc or PDF), this element is crucial not only for attracting a hiring manager’s attention and making it easy for them to navigate your application, but also for looking polished and professional.
Wert says, “When including links, you should be hyperlinking the links on your materials. This means instead of the long URL strand, it should be a hyperlink. If you’re going in-person for an interview, or you’re at a networking event where you’ve brought your resume, the alternative should be the entire URL written out—but I would recommend staying away from that for a cleaner format.”
For example, here’s a before-and-after of what my own resume might look like:
With this, it’s probably smart to shorten and personalize your LinkedIn URL, and make sure your website has an appropriate domain name. Bit.ly is also a great, free resource for shortening long links.
If you’re struggling to decide what to include, or you have a variety of work you want to showcase, consider condensing them into a portfolio or personal website and including that link instead. Don’t scatter the page with an abundance of links—no recruiter’s going to open them all.
Where should you put them? Wert suggests that you “place your links in the header or beside your contact information.” That said, if they apply to a specific job or highlight some of the work you did at past companies, you can also place them under that role’s heading, like my resume above.
Finally, make sure you can actually click on them. Download your resume and have a friend test it out to be sure.
Like your resume bullets and list of accomplishments on your cover letter, links are another great way to show your potential and expertise—and there’s little risk in adding them into your application. But like any other aspect of your job search, just be sure they’re professional, relevant, and presenting the best image of you.