Building your portfolio
Here are a few tips on putting together a portfolio that will help you stand out on the job market.
What is a career portfolio?
A career portfolio is a collection of all your professional work that serves as proof of your skills, abilities and potential.
Portfolios complement resumes; they don’t replace them. They should give a person an idea of your work, your mindset and your creativity. A resume is simply a summary of your education, past work experience and training.
Creating a portfolio
1. Selecting a web platform
Are you tech savvy? Have at it!
Are you less inclined?
- Try a user-friendly online platform like Wordpress, Wix or Weebly.
- If you can’t afford a professional, ask a tech-savvy friend and offer an exchange of services.
2. Selecting the work to include
Your portfolio mustn’t contain everything you ever did, just the most significant work that applies to the job you are seeking.
Your intended career path should influence your selection.
Make sure the information is clear, curated and convincing because most recruiters don’t spend more than 30 seconds looking at a portfolio—make sure it makes an excellent first impression.
Quality of work always trumps quantity. Fifteen or so of your most recent realizations should suffice.
If some of your work seems dated, then rework it to make it fresh again.
Be sure to get your manager’s or client’s approval before including a sample in your portfolio. Always respect confidentiality as well as your business relationships.
3. Showing your versatility
Are you applying for a graphic designer position? Build a portfolio that shows that you are up on the latest trends.
If you spent the first part of your career doing print media, but are applying for a web design position, make sure to select your samples accordingly.
What if you don’t have any professional realizations? Then include personal ones, as long as they apply.
Use a variety of samples to showcase the scope of your talent and experience.
4. Explaining your realizations
Use succinct vivid vignettes to describe your work.
- What was the project?
- Why was it commissioned?
- How successful was it?
If writing is not your strong suit, then ask for help.
Remember, your portfolio is what sells you. It’s part of your personal branding strategy. Give it all the attention and care it deserves.
5. Preparing a paper version
Sending an actual physical portfolio—in addition to a digital version—has the following advantages:
- Should the company’s firewall block your digital version, the recruiter will receive the print one.
- The recruiter can easily share a print version with other people!