Okay new college graduates; are you ready for your next job interview? You may have a resume, a cover letter, and bought some sharp business attire, but do you have a career portfolio? Do you even know what a career portfolio is? If you want to make sure you get the job, consider building a career portfolio.
This short guide will help get you started on what to include in a portfolio:
1. What Is A Career Portfolio?
Where a resume provides a snapshot of your experience and background, and a cover letter focuses on why you’re applying for a job, a portfolio is the culmination of all of your career’s work organized in one place. It can be physical or digital, and can help fill in the gaps between your resume and cover letter, or even emphasize accomplishments and skills. It is a way to express who you are as a professional, so make sure it looks its best and presents you in the best light.
2. What To Include
The truth is, you can put whatever you want in your portfolio, but keep in mind that this is a reflection of your career, so choose wisely. You want to include things that back up your resume with physical evidence. If you mention an article on your resume, feature it in your portfolio to show your potential future employer. You should also summarize your career so far and mention what your business goals are for the next 3-5 years. Your career summary is also a good place to talk about your own values and ethics in the workplace. Include a copy of your resume after your career summary, and then get into the samples of your work and any awards or honors you may have earned. Letters of reference are also a great resource to include here.
3. Presentation And Format
Don’t forget it’s not just about the content – the presentation and organization of it all is just as important. You want it to appear like a well prepared PowerPoint: simple, straightforward, and not too elaborate. If you are creating a physical portfolio, consider buying some kind of nice organizational binder to give it that professional look. A digital portfolio may be a better option if you need to send anything in an email or include to a personal website. Digital portfolios allow a little more flexibility in design and you can always print one as a physical copy too. I recommend bringing the physical copy as a backup to the digital copy just in case anyway. Just make sure your overall presentation is professional and memorable.
Having a portfolio will allow you to showcase your skills firsthand rather than just talk about them. It’s easier for a potential employer to realize you are qualified for a job if you show them samples of work that you’ve already done that they are looking for as part of the job description.