Elements of a Strong Career Portfolio

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Depending on what field you’re in, you may want to consider creating a career portfolio to use during your job search. For instance, chefs can create a showcase of their menus and recipes, topped off with reviews and training certificates. Accountants can create example pages of their reports and include statistics about how much data they typically get through. Even construction workers can develop a portfolio that includes photographs of projects they’ve been on and the work they’ve completed, as well as their training and safety qualifications. With resumes becoming increasingly professional, portfolios offer a way to stand out as a job applicant. When you show an employer something in your portfolio, you let your work speak for itself, and that can be a powerful accomplishment when they’re listening to one applicant after another tell them why they should get the job.

A good portfolio should include several aspects. First, you need to have a copy of your complete resume. Second, you need examples of the work you’ve done or, if that’s not available, samples of the kind of work you’re capable of doing. You can include letters of commendation or testimonials, as well as your best performance reviews, with your examples. Graphical representations of your work, such as photos and diagrams, will often be the most effective way of communicating.

Much of the rest of your portfolio will include information that doesn’t quite fit in the short space of a resume. You’ll want to prepare a list of accomplishments that demonstrate that you have gone above and beyond the duties of your previous jobs. You should also make a list of things you can do but haven’t had the opportunity to do in previous positions and the benefits you can bring to your employer. Once you have everything prepared, put it together in a portfolio case or a three-ring binder. You may or may not have the opportunity to use it during a job interview, but having it with you just in case will give you another tool with which to wow a potential employer.

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