Much like your CV and cover letter, a well-constructed professional portfolio is instrumental in setting you apart from the competition. This collection of documents illustrates and showcases your professional accomplishments and talents. It provides potential employers with concrete examples demonstrating the skills and experience you’ve acquired, and serves to show that you’re the perfect fit for the position.
When putting your portfolio together, you’ll need to make a list of all your various professional accomplishments, such as internships, education, previous jobs or community work. Once done, you’ll need to select the documents most relevant to the position you’re targeting. The best way to do this is to refer to the list of skills and qualifications sought after by the company or employer.
You’ll then need to decide which documents — texts, degrees, reports, letters of recommendations, certificates, awards, courses, etc. — best represent your skills. Once you’ve collected and organized all the relevant material, you’ll have the option of creating a paper portfolio (traditionally placed in a three-ring binder) or an online portfolio. And while portfolios vary from person to person, they all contain the same major components, such as:
- A cover page containing the date, your name and contact information
- A table of contents
- A statement regarding your career objectives
- A copy of your resumé
- Letters of recommendation
- A description of your skills relating to the position and an account of how you developed them during your professional career
- Work samples that provide concrete examples and evidence of your skills and accomplishments
Regardless of the format you choose, your portfolio must be professional, well structured and easy to navigate. It’s also important to tailor and personalize your portfolio to each and every interview. Certain positions might call for different skill sets or experiences, so you’ll want your portfolio to showcase the accomplishments that make you the best candidate for the job.