Career Now Series: Creating a Portfolio

Pop Quiz: What do you bring to a job interview or career fair?

If you answered ‘my resume’…you’re on the right track! However, we think there is a lot to be said for bringing a little bit more with you on the big day. You might want to consider putting together a career portfolio.

So, what exactly is a career portfolio? Think of it as an extension of YOU – a physical representation of your accomplishments and the things you’ve created in school and at work. If you’re thinking, “isn’t that what my resume is for?”…you’re partially right. Your resume is there to give your background information and an overview of your experiences and how they make you a fit for a job. BUT, a portfolio really shows so much more.

Think of it as a way to give you – as a job candidate – some personality. It’s a chance for you to share what you’re proud of, your special accomplishments and the fruits of your labor. This is where you show off what you’ve worked on for a potential employer, so that they can understand you fully and know what you’re capable of. Now why wouldn’t you want to include that at your next interview!?

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What to Include

  • Table of contents
  • Your updated resume
  • An ‘about you’ or a short bio that will give a potential employer an idea of who you are as a whole
  • What you’ve done and where you’ve been (this can be a quick paragraph summarizing your past work)
  • Your professional mission statement; career goals, where you see yourself going and what you want to be doing with your skills
  • Your accomplishments or any awards you’ve earned
  • Professional associations you’re a member of, conferences you’ve attended, or any extra classes you’ve taken to further your skills
  • Any volunteer work you’ve done or are currently doing
  • Any references or letters of recommendation you may have
  • And finally, samples of your work

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How to Create One

Splurge on a good quality binder and some plastic cover inserts and get printing! Once you’ve typed up and collected everything you want to include, it’s just a matter of organizing and assembling, and voila! You’ve got your portfolio ready to go! Don’t forget, make it memorable, this is your chance to shine.

While a traditional paper portfolio is a great thing to have on a job interview, it doesn’t really do you much good when you’re applying for all those jobs online. How to remedy this? An online portfolio, of course! No, you don’t need to be a website developer in order to do it yourself! Depending on your background and what you want to share with potential employers, there are plenty of places out there that provide free (or very inexpensive) portfolio or personal website platforms.

Trade out the binder and paper, and instead upload all your info to a pre-made template! An online portfolio allows you to be a little more creative with the look and feel of your page, but this is still professional, so make sure it’s representative of you, but keep in mind it’s not your Instagram or Twitter feed.

Check out Wix, SquareSpace, or Journo Portfolio to get an idea of what you could be doing with an online portfolio!

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Do you have a portfolio of your own? Have additional questions? Post a comment below or tweet at us using the hashtag #CareerNow!

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