A portfolio is a reflection of your professional and educational achievements to date. Bringing a portfolio of your work to an interview will enable you to demonstrate to the interviewer, your skills, and previous experience with tangible evidence. A portfolio is an effective marketing tool and should be used where possible.
What should a portfolio include?
Typically, a portfolio will include relevant work samples, writing extracts, creative pieces including video or audio tapes, certificates of educational or professional qualifications, CV, letters of reference, to name only a few.
Preparing a professional looking portfolio is important for any job interview that may require you to show evidence of your skills to back up your CV. A professional looking portfolio is vital, as a poorly compiled one will imply you take no care in your work. You should buy a ring binder, or any form of professional folder and label it according to your related field i.e. copywriting portfolio, teaching portfolio, engineering portfolio, etc. You then need to compile the most relevant documents to demonstrate all areas of your expertise, experience and skills, in a concise and constructive manner.
Including too many, or irrelevant documents, can irritate an interviewer as they will typically have a set period of time to review your portfolio. Be sure to only include 10-15 pages of your most relevant and diverse work.
Although it is important not to overload your portfolio with unnecessary items, there is no exact list of things which you can or cannot include. The following list briefly outlines an example of the types of documents a portfolio could include:
- CV and personal statement
- Letters of references
- Licenses, education certificates and professional awards
- Work samples either written or audio
- Evidence of professional organisation affiliations
- Emails or letters of compliment from clients or customers based on your work
- Transcripts or artwork
How your portfolio should look
It is advisable that when compiling your professional portfolio you use high quality paper and use sheet protectors between the pages to ensure your work is kept safe and secure. The layout of your portfolio should keep a level of consistency – the pages should have a header, description of what the document shows, and each page should include your name or your input into the creation of the document.
Ensure your grammar, spelling, and sentence structure is correct, as this will display to the reviewer that you are capable of quality writing and that you take care and consideration in your work.
A good tip is to cut out the actual published extract of your work i.e. if you wrote an article for a magazine, use the cut out in your portfolio rather than the original word document. Provided the documents you include in the portfolio show your skills in a positive light, it is likely they can be included. Interviewers will view a number of portfolios for each job vacancy they have available and so it is important to make your portfolio stand out from the crowd. Show the interviewer why your work is the best – the more creative you are the better!