What is a Career Portfolio? In essence, a career portfolio is your personal record of achievements—specific examples of when you have demonstrated your knowledge, skills, and abilities; these can include work samples, copies of your annual self-assessments or accomplishment reports, your resume, professional bio, and references you may have with up-to-date contact information, and copies of your performance evaluations. Other things you may want to keep in your portfolio might be copies of certifications / licenses you have received, publications, award write-ups, a professional headshot, and assessments you have taken (Myers-Briggs Type Instrument, DiSC, etc.). And, if you are involved in volunteer or related activities, don’t forget to keep relevant information about those as well.
Why Should I Create a Career Portfolio?
Getting in the habit of collecting this information is important; this way, when updating your resume or preparing for an interview, you’ll have everything you need in one place. And, it will keep you from forgetting some of the important contributions you have made. Finally, your portfolio provides that actual proof of your achievements.
How Should I Maintain My Career Portfolio?
Depending upon your job, you may want to keep your portfolio in hard-copy and offer to share it in person. You may also want to consider whether you want to create a personal website; obviously, if you do this, many people will have access to your information so be sure to remove Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and of course, nothing proprietary or classified should be posted. Another idea is to maintain your portfolio using Dropbox or Google Drive. Using these tools will allow you to control access to your information.
LinkedIn is another way to share carefully curated parts of your portfolio. The more you use LinkedIn, the more likely you are to come up in the site’s algorithms. And if you are pursuing private sector opportunities, LinkedIn is essential. It is a professional way to establish an online presence, create your brand, and establish yourself as an expert. Again, be sure scrub your documents of any PII or other inappropriate information before posting.
Updating Your Career Portfolio
Your career portfolio should not be a “one and done;” instead, you want to keep your portfolio up-to-date, weed out the old and no longer relevant, and focus on those items that will help you further your career. Only publicly share that information that is relevant and supports your career goals.