Sharp Dressed Demo: How To Highlight Your Work Online

It happens to all of us. You click on a link or video and get a “Not Found” or “Deleted” error message. Bummer.

As the keeper of Talent Pages and personal websites in the STAA Talent Search, I see this all the time. Sportscasters relying on external websites, only to discover their content has been moved or worse, is no longer available.

When your income depends on access to your demo and multimedia samples, don’t allow another business to control how and when it is available.

Looking out for number one

Other businesses don’t share your career priorities. University Athletics websites and services like SoundCloud often make changes that impact your content. In some cases, you won’t even receive a notification.

Plus, external websites always have features that distract from your message. If your message is “please hire me,” don’t send a potential employer to a page that might have something more interesting than your stuff.

Ideally, you’ll build your own personal website on a custom domain that also hosts all of your demo and supporting material.

I know that cost and technical knowledge might be cramping your online style. Let’s look at some ways you can external websites while limiting potential problems.

4 best practices for presenting your work online

If the option is available, customize your video embeds
YouTube and Vimeo both allow you control how your video embed appears on your website.

For YouTube: uncheck all the options except “show player controls.” Include the demo title in the body of the webpage, above the embed. For Vimeo, uncheck the “title” and “byline” options, plus everything listed under “special stuff.”

Use Google Drive to host your demo material
In terms of cost (free!), presentation and ease of use, Google Drive is the best spot to store your radio or TV demos. After you upload your material, right-click on the file to copy a shareable link that’s easy to add to your personal website.

shareable Google Drive links

Dropbox is another alternative you might already be using, but you will more likely need a paid account.

Save writing samples as a PDF file.
The quick and easy way to preserve your writing ability and the credibilty of the outlet that published your piece is to File > Print in your browser and “Save as PDF.” This common method is better than a direct link. Unfortunately, the formatting is usually awful.

The best option takes a little more time. Use your word processor of choice to create a clean, easy to read document. Include the date your article was published and the direct URL to your story on the publishers website. Something like this should suffice:

“Originally published on March 8, 2017 by STAA
https://staatalent.com/highlight-demo-online/”

Always upload or attach resumes as PDF files.
Strange things happen in transit. Don’t risk your carefully formatted resume looking crummy when an employer opens the file. Lock that formatting in by sending a PDF.

A little extra effort goes a long way towards ensuring your online application material presents a clear message.