Create a Portfolio that Makes an Impression

Your resume and cover letter are excellent tools that you can use to show the employer that you are the right fit for the job, but sometimes you need to stand out a little bit more.  A professional portfolio actually shows the employer what you can do.  Your portfolio is a document that includes work samples, certificates, publications, and anything else that you feel would effectively showcase your skills and expertise.

How to Create a Portfolio

The most effective way to present your portfolio is in a 1 to 1.5 inch binder.  Fill it with report covers to protect your documents.  Make it a conservative colour like black or navy blue because you don’t want the binder to pull the focus from what’s inside it.

What to Include in Your Portfolio

Include anything that you feel would help demonstrate that you are a good fit for the job.  Here are some examples of documents that are commonly found in portfolios:

  • Work samples
  • Certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Publications
  • Brochures
  • Company descriptions
  • Reports
  • Charts/Graphs
  • Letters of Appreciation
  • Conferences you attended
  • Training sessions
  • Photos

After you put everything in, make sure that it looks neat and professional.  Include a table of contents so that you can quickly flip to the page that you need.

How to Introduce Your Portfolio to the Employer

Even though your portfolio is perfect, you don’t want to be the candidate who is thrusting it into the employer’s face.  It is important that you wait for the right moment.  The key is to refer to one of the documents in your portfolio and ask the employer if you can show it to them.  They may then continue to flip through it.  Try to be casual about it and let them take the lead.

In this competitive job market, you need to stand out from the crowd.  By creating a professional portfolio, you distinguish yourself as someone who is passionate about their career and you give the employer a clear picture of what you have to offer.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by:

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