As you ease into internships and job searching, besides a resume, cover letter, and a great outfit, there’s one other thing you should be sure to have with you at any and all interviews: a portfolio.
A portfolio is a folder or case of physical evidence of related work you’ve done, paid or unpaid. A lot of colleges have classes which teach students how to put these together, so check with your school as an easy way to get it done while still earning a credit or two. Some types of things that go into a portfolio are transcripts, letters of recommendation, awards, internship jobs and responsibilities, and work samples. It’s basically an extended resume. Start collecting work samples at the beginning of your college career or as soon as possible.
When it comes to buying a portfolio, don’t just go for the most affordable. It should be professional and good quality (my favorite). Make sure to buy one that has room for everything, including room to take notes during the interview and a pocket for extra copies of your resume. If you have business cards, throw them in there too! Check craft and office supply stores, or online. Amazon has some good deals. Before you buy, you can double check with your major’s department to see what they recommend, or ask your classmates.
Now the big question: do you need a portfolio for your specific major? It’s safe to say all creative media (filmmaking, journalism, advertising, photography, graphic design, etc.), fashion and music majors need one. Don’t fall into any of these categories? If you’re a business, law, anthropology, or teaching major, you will probably be safe without one, but check with your college’s career center first.
Remember to keep your portfolio updated and error-free. You don’t want any mistakes showing up when your potential employer is flipping through your samples.