How to Format Your Career Portfolio

Career portfolios can be a case of too much information. Over time, you collect a lot of materials. Some information becomes obsolete or irrelevant, and new information has to be included. How you put your information together is important. A career portfolio has to be usable and contain enough information to cover all requirements.

Types of portfolios are also a major issue. Paper portfolios are necessary in some industries, where hardcopies of documents and professional materials are required. These things need good record keeping, and a strong sense of what's needed and what's not. Online and digital portfolios are easier to put together, but there's also the problem of organization and creating a usable portfolio of materials without creating an encyclopedia.

Content of career portfolios

There are several fundamental forms of information you must have in your portfolio:

Full records of qualifications: This means copies and scans of diplomas, hardcopies, and course information. This material is essential because in many jobs verification and accreditation of this information is essential. You need all the references contained in your qualifications records. Keep hardcopies secured in good record keeping folders, sealed to protect from deterioration. Back up all digital formats.

Full records of your work history and job descriptions: This may also include copies of contracts. The main reason for these records is to cover your duties and provide a detailed record of your employment where required. Job descriptions and contracts also contain useful information for description of your work.

Professional records and materials: These may be a record of your sales achievements, your creative portfolio, or a record of your work as an office administrator. This information provides the best examples of your work, the materials you use to show interviewers and clients. These materials, when in hardcopy form, should also be carefully stored and backed up in digital form.

Organization of career portfolios

The career portfolio order must be well planned. This is a example of a normal organized portfolio, either digital or paper based:

Table of contents. This should be kept current. Just note the contents in order. Use a separate page, computer file or folder for each category. (Note: This part is as much for your benefit  as for anyone else.  Don't include anything in your portfolio without amending it.) 

Personal records and references: These are basic ID materials. Important: Keep materials safe and secure at all times, to avoid identity theft. It's useful to have them handy for your CV, but never allow these materials to be at risk of loss. Don't store these details on a computer unless absolutely necessary and unavoidable. Remove all computer records after use. Do not, ever, disclose this information online.

Qualifications: Keep your records current, and organized. Keep copies in your portfolio and your originals secure.

Professional products: For those who use a professional portfolio on a regular basis, use copies in the career portfolio.

Additional materials: You may want to include particular information or portfolio materials which doesn't fit into the above categories. Keep these materials in separate folders to avoid clutter and loss.