Job seekers outside of the creative fields are now seeing the value of utilizing portfolios in their job search. Traditionally, only artists and writers have used portfolios when seeking freelance work. With job security less certain, workers need to continually update and enhance their skills, while keeping a record of what they’ve accomplished. Employers like to hire someone whose work they’ve seen. A portfolio can support a resume with concrete evidence of an applicant’s work.
Showcase your accomplishments with a portfolio that contains a sample collection of past work and achievements. The following list contains items to consider including in your portfolio.
- Professional organization involvement
- Community service involvement
- Certificates of completion
- Documentation of leadership experience
- Charts and graphs
- Thank you letters
- Positive work performance evaluations
- Agendas from committees you’ve served on
- Flyers, brochures, or newsletters you’ve designed
- Photos of you at work
Students or those with little work experience can include in their portfolio transcripts, presentations, evidence of community involvement, internships, academic scholarships, awards, and writing samples.
The Proof is in the Portfolio
Organize your portfolio to tell a story, including those items that are relevant to the job you are seeking. Be sure to use a table of contents and a caption by each item. The items can be put into a three-ring binder with plastic sleeves.
Practice using your portfolio in mock interviews. When answering interview questions, point to items in your portfolio that demonstrate your achievements. Offering employers proof of what you have accomplished can be more powerful than just telling them. The more you practice, the more confident you will be when using your portfolio in a real interview.
In 1998, Joan Runnheim, M. S. , formed Pathways Career Success Strategies. Joan applies nearly ten years of career consulting, job search training, and curriculum development to her practice. She draws from additional lifework experience as a freelance writer and from first-hand familiarity with career transition, lay-offs, and the job search. As a career consultant, workshop facilitator, speaker, and writer, Joan helps men and women develop an effective career development plan or job search strategy.
As a career advisor for Monster.com, Joan has been able to reach out to millions of people with her career-related articles and advice. As a freelance writer, she has written numerous articles, with a focus on career-related issues. Joan has been sought out as an expert in her field, being quoted in local and national print and online publications. She publishes the bi-monthly newsletter, Strategies for Career Success, filled with tips on how to successfully manage your career.