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In today’s job market, you need an edge over the competition. A career portfolio may do just the trick!

Learn how to inventory, present and self-market your skills through this innovative product. A career portfolio will give you confidence in your employability skills by having physical evidence to demonstrate each attribute. Interview like a pro!

Creating a portfolio is really an exercise in marketing. It involves the same steps as marketing any product... except this time the product is you!

What makes a portfolio?

A portfolio:

  • Demonstrates concrete proof of skills and learning.
  • Is a marketing and self-promotional tool for job seekers to use in interviews or for the self-employed to present to a prospective client.
  • Is a performance appraisal and promotional tool for individuals employed within an organization.
  • Is a tool for students to track and record their learning experiences, to identify transferable skills, and to use for job search while in school and after graduation.
  • Showcases competencies.

A portfolio can help you answer these questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
  • Why should we grant you credit for your prior learning experience?
  • Why should we keep or promote you?

Powerful portfolio ingredients

Like your resume, a career portfolio is a work in progress. Right now you may not have all the items listed below, but start with what you have. Once your portfolio is set up it’s easy to add your new documents.

Table of contents and introduction Letters of recommendation/references Records of community service/volunteer work
Career and professional development goals Certificates, diplomas, degrees and awards Work in progress or work samples
Skills assessment Letters from customers Association certificates
Aptitude test results Curriculum Translation assessments
Resume and cover letter Transcripts Professional memberships
Business card Position description Networking contacts
Training applications Evaluations Questions to ask the employer
Co-Curricular Record    

Organize your portfolio

Once you have collected your items, be sure to:

  • Analyze the samples: what, when, why, how, with whom?
  • Group the samples: note the skills and personal qualities the samples reflect.
  • Organize samples chronologically by date, function, skill, importance to potential employer, or even theme.
  • Write captions and narratives for each work sample.
  • Use titles at the top of the page and a caption below. 

Additional portfolio tips

  • Target your industry.
  • Research the needs of the prospective employer.
  • Adjust portfolio contents for each opportunity.
  • Include a caption for each of the items.
  • Keep the portfolio contents to a maximum of 10-15 items.
  • During the interview, direct the employer to documents that will meet specific needs.
  • Keep a consistent format for portfolio material.
  • Keep extra copies of material as backup.
  • Position your portfolio so that it is appealing and memorable to prospective clients.
  • Market your personal style.
  • Package it all nicely. Buy the best that you can reasonably afford or that suits the industry.
  • Use page protectors.
  • Print in colour and reduce oversized documents such as diplomas.
  • And anything else that demonstrates skill!