How to build a career portfolio

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As students and recent graduates, we are constantly marketing ourselves online through profiles on websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but when we show up to an interview, a resumé is one of the only tools most of us use.

Sure, a resumé has nearly everything you need to get a job, but there are other ways to set yourself apart from others, such as a career portfolio. A career portfolio isn’t just words on a page, it’s actual proof of your talents, skills, and accomplishments.

By making a career portfolio, you will be able to keep track of all your accomplishments and, most importantly, be able to show potential employers your skills in an organized manner.

Making your portfolio

Present your portfolio in a professional half- or one-inch binder. Get report covers (plastic pockets with holes) to protect your portfolio from wear and tear, and to keep you from having to hole-punch important certificates.

Next, gather all of your certificates and make lists of your notable accomplishments.

Your portfolio is a representation of your personality, so don’t be afraid to use some colour and small graphics to keep the reader engaged and make it visually appealing. However, please remember that while you are showing your personality, you still have to keep it professional.

It is vital to include a list of contents for your portfolio so you can quickly turn to the pages you need during the interview. Your career portfolio should demonstrate a thorough, but brief, description of your achievements, goals, skills, examples of your best work, and recommendations. Do your best to include all of these  categories into your portfolio.

Plan ahead

Before the actual interview, decide which parts of your portfolio will be most relevant to the potential job. You could even take out the pages that are not relevant to avoid wasting precious interview time flipping through pages.

Don’t forget

Once you have taken the time to create a portfolio, remember to keep it updated. Adding your new qualifications and removing qualifications that are no longer relevant to where you are in your career will keep your portfolio usable on a moment’s notice!

A career portfolio is more than just an interview tool. It will force you to examine your talents and the way others see them. It should give you (and your potential employer) a complete picture of who you are, where you want to go, and the reasons you will be able to get there.

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