What You Should Include in Your Portfolio

ID-100186587Do you have a professional portfolio?  If you don’t, it is worth your time to create one.  A professional portfolio is a unique way to demonstrate your skills and experience and to stand out from your competition.  If you want a portfolio, but don’t know what to include, here are some guidelines to help you get started:

What you have done.

First and foremost, employers want to know if you are capable of doing the job.  Any documentation that gives the employer a clearer picture of your work history will strengthen your portfolio.  Some examples include annual reports or newsletters for companies that you have worked for, letters of reference, any special recognition that you have received, and work samples.  The type of work sample that you include will completely depend on the nature of your job.  Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with it as long as it accurately represents the work that you have done.

What you know.

Before making the decision to hire you, employers need to know that you are qualified for the job.  If you include all of your education documents in your portfolio, you can present them to the employer conveniently and professionally.  Your education documents include degrees, diplomas, certificates, licenses, transcripts, as well as documentation from any workshops or training sessions you have attended.  If you don’t have much work experience, you may even want to include samples of a few school projects that demonstrate your knowledge of the industry.

Who you are.

There is more to you than what appears on your resume and your portfolio is a great place to showcase that.  If you like, you can include information related to your hobbies, interests or community work, but never forget that this is still a professional portfolio.  Everything in your portfolio should at least indirectly relate to the position.  For example, if you are seeking a marketing position, photos of your paintings may show off your artistic flair.  Similarly, if you are seeking a job in corporate sales, a golfing award could demonstrate that you are well-equipped to network on the golf course.  The key is to use your portfolio to show the employer that you are the complete package.

It takes a little bit of work, but once you have a professional portfolio you may wonder how you ever survived interviews without one!

(Written by:  Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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