Have you thought about creating a career portfolio to highlight your accomplishments? While portfolios are expected in certain creative professions, jobseekers in the more traditional fields could also benefit from preparing one to display in an interview.
A portfolio or presentation binder illustrates your professional achievements. When beginning your portfolio, review your resume, your performance evaluations, and awards to identify and substantiate your qualifications. Start collecting this information and try to show off your accomplishments with images—for example, photos of your awards, your team or you in action, copies of letters of recommendations, events you’ve organized, etc. Choose only the best achievements and visuals and carefully cultivate items that provide concrete evidence of those skills.
Once you’ve gathered this information, then what? Find an attractive binder or portfolio to hold everything.
With your binder in hand:
• Create a logical order and structure—start with your most recent accomplishments and work backwards chronologically
• If you have more than 20 pages, include a table of contents and list the included documents.
• Depending on the breadth of your content, consider creating sections using divider tabs
• Use clear sheet protectors and make sure all printed photos and documents are the highest quality of color.
• Always use copies, never original documents.
• Consider tailoring your portfolio for a specific job/position (leave pages out if specific positions do not require certain skills).
How can you use your portfolio?
• Consider including it (or portions of it) on your LinkedIn Profile.
• Review it to prepare for interviews. Studying your portfolio is a good way to refresh your memory about your achievements.
• Bring it with you to your interviews. At the beginning of the interview, let the interviewer know you’ve prepared a “portfolio” that illustrates your qualifications and accomplishments.
• Do not leave the portfolio unless you are asked to do so.
Building your portfolio from scratch will take some time, but you can start small and improve it as you go along. Don’t forget to keep it updated and when an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready to share!