The Value of Career Portfolios in Your Job Search

Career portfolios can be of great value in your job search. Unlike resumes that just list your qualifications and your previous work experience, career portfolios actually show potential employers the quality of your work.

In the past, only people working in certain fields compiled portfolios of their work. Some of these include graphic designers, artists, writers, editors and architects. But in today's competitive job market, people in all fields should consider putting together a work portfolio that they can show to a potential employer during a job interview.

Students

If you are currently attending, or even just graduating from high school or college, and don't have a great deal of work experience, you should locate former papers and projects you completed that show what type of work you are capable of doing. You should also make copies of any certificates and honors you received. You could also make a list of all your extra-curricular activities, including sports you participated in and any clubs you took part in, making sure to list any titles of responsibility you held.

Non-Professionals

If you consider your creativity, you can come up with accomplishments for each of your non-professional jobs that are worthy of mentioning in a portfolio. Maybe you never missed a day of work or you waited on more tables than any other server. Possibly you had an outstanding "on time" delivery record. Whatever it is, see if you can get your former employer to write a letter of recommendation that you can include in your portfolio.

Professionals

All professional white collar workers should have a portfolio. For example, if you work in an administrative type job, you could include any correspondence you edited and typed as long as it is not confidential. Also, if you are specifically looking for administrative work in a law firm, and you have worked on any kind of brief or other law related piece, you should definitely include that as one of the first things in your portfolio.

Maybe you happen to be a lawyer looking for work in a prestigious firm, and you're wondering what you should have in your portfolio. You should definitely include a list of all the cases you won. You should also make copies of your law degree (especially if it is from an impressive school) as well as recommendations from other lawyers and judges. Basically you need to put in anything that you think will set you apart from the other lawyers applying for the job.

Tips

No matter what type of job you are trying to get, you should definitely create a portfolio of your work. If you have specific pieces that are relevant to the position you are currently applying for, you should include them at the beginning of your portfolio. You should also place your most impressive work early on in the portfolio. That way, if the person interviewing you doesn't have a chance to look through your entire portfolio, you can make sure that the pieces they do have time for are the ones that give you the best chance of being hired.

Also consider adding special booking style titles, pictures, captions, etc. to make your pages stand out and to make them easy for someone to understand at a glance. Basically you just need to make sure your portfolio reflects your personality and sends the message that you are the best person for the job.