How To Source Using Online Portfolios

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Sep 15, 2011

I’m going to reverse the sourcing process a little bit. Often the sourcing approach goes like this:

Job Boards –> LinkedIn –> Groups  –> intitle: –> Resume Search

Then you run out of resumes and you get stuck. That’s when I start to work backwards, because if you think about it, hiring managers want to hire candidates with a particular skill set, not because the candidate can write a great resume. In fact, it is the candidate’s work itself that defines the candidate’s skill set they write on a resume. The “resume” or “profile” of a candidate is simply the end result of their work right? So, let’s get to the source…

I call it Portfolio Sourcing, but more explicitly it is sourcing candidates where they present their work.

The interesting thing about these portfolios is that they can’t always be found with a traditional resume search. Often the results are not resumes at all, simply pure representations of a candidate’s skill set. And in my experience, portfolio sourcing is great for creatives, such as professionals in communication, multimedia, mobile apps, designers, and those hard-to-fill open source development spots. I’ve also found this is a great way to get out of “resume & profile only” mode, by looking for a representation of a person’s work.

So once you find some portfolio hosting sites, you can use their terminology to locate the human capital data. Here is just a small sample with some of my favorites:


My favorite site for Portfolio Sourcing is probably the most obvious. Seen below, most candidates that add references in the Links section don’t often customize the verbiage.

Using the LinkedIn standard verbiage you can target LinkedIn for personal websites or portfolios (and contact info!).

  • php “personal website” “greater boston area” Bing results
  • java “website * blog” “new york city area” Google results
  • “front end” portfolio “san francisco bay area” Bing results

The added bonus is that this is a great way to combat low LinkedInMail acceptance rates. Most of the destination sites will have contact info, or could easily be referenced using


GitHub is essentially a large collaboration site for developers to share code and ideas. And of course where they are showing off their code, we can figure out in which languages the developer may be strong. The original site does have a search, but some of their operators just don’t work to fulfill the needs of a sourcer.

For example, the “language:” operator only works if the language you want is recognized by their database. So good luck searching for HTML5. Also, you can’t search multiple languages because the Boolean OR operator doesn’t work on the site {(“language:perl OR language:python) doesn’t work}. To get around this, x-raying GitHub is probably the best way to go:

  • “location * ma” (php OR ruby OR coldfusion OR “cold fusion”)Google Results
  • “location * ca” python django Google Results

Coroflot is a portfolio hosting site geared primarily toward designers and right now boasts 244,584 portfolios hosted on their site. Coroflot has an internal search function with filters that works fairly well but if you are looking to make RSS feeds from your results there are some open web strings that work too:

  • inurl:profile Google Results
  • inurl:profile (actionscript OR as3) Google Results
  • inurl:profile (actionscript OR as3) intitle:Pennsylvania Google Results

In the results above you can see that all portfolios follow similar templating that make the site fairly easy to x-ray, as all users have a ‘profile’ page in the URL and their location is shown in the webpage title.


CarbonMade claims over 393,000+ portfolios on its homepage. The site has lots of painters, photographers, designers, and the like, but there are a fair share of techies too as seen in the web design category. The

  • (inurl:projects OR inurl:about) “ruby on rails” Google Results

Not everyone fills out the “About” section, so by including “projects” in the URL as well, you get the keywords from the pure project explanation itself.

Creative Hotlist

Creative Hotlist is another graphic design and multimedia portfolio hosting site but one of my favorites because their content provider listings include zip codes. Google’s NumRange operator works great here in tandem with a site x-ray.

  • flash (ui OR “user interface”) 90000..90600 Google Results

A colleague turned me onto Krop, a portfolio hosting site for creatives and techhies. I’ve found keyword rich content on portfolio, resume, and general landing pages here so basically as long as the jobs section is excluded it’s pretty much all human capital data.

Many of the portfolios have an attached PDF resume that makes sourcing on this site convenient.


StackOverflow is a very rich and active technical Q&A site where developers can share ideas. Users have tags based on the technology they discuss or are influential in. Here you can see an x-ray search for open source developers in the state of Illinois:

  • (python OR perl OR lamp OR php OR ruby) “location *  IL”Google Results


Code:Keep is similar toGitHub as a code repository and content sharing site but without some of the social aspects. It seems that all the repositories are tagged with a primary language that an x-ray targeting this tag can easily find:

Also, with Code:Keep we know it searches all the tech specs associated with each repository so you can start to dig deeper into keyword rich selections:

  • “language * c#” (3.5 OR sp1 OR sp2 OR “service pack” OR linq OR “integrated query”)Google Results

Google Code Search

I saved this one for last because Google sees pretty much everything, even code. Seen here ( one comes with its own set of operators like “lang:^actionscript$” So needless to say this one is wide open in terms of how you want to search it, and it’s a beast to try toget any location or contact info. Developers sign their work, and here’s one attempt at finding contact information:

For Portfolio Sourcing, the above websites represent only a small percentage of the sites available to index. There are tons more out there, and if you want to source them all your best bet is probably a Google CSE or some other automation. Watching these sites grow it seems to indicate that it will only get easier and easier for professionals to get online and start sharing their work. Much like a sports talent scout is out at the games, running drills, and evaluating talent, the sourcer will determine skills from portfolios by finding and evaluating candidates’ work.

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