Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 17, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Create a Career Portfolio

portfolio
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A career portfolio is a compilation of information about a candidate which he or she provides to a prospective employer. It is a comprehensive representation of the candidate. Typically a resume should be no longer than two pages. The exception to this rule normally applies to those with doctorate, medical, law degrees and expert witnesses for court proceedings. Recent developments in career planning have created the career portfolio to work in conjunction with the two page resume. Portfolios solve the problem of trying to figure out what to jam into a short resume. You can include samples of all your best work. For example, if you’re a writer applying for a copywriting position at a company, you should include writing samples. If you’re a photographer or graphic designer, you should include photographs and artwork.  

Decide on the Format and Design of Your Portfolio

The first step is to decide what type of format you want your portfolio in and the design. Portfolios will differ for each career type. You need to decide how you are going to utilise the portfolio. One option is to take it with you to a job interview. Another option is to have several copies which can be sent along with your resume or job application. A third option is to have an online portfolio. Sometimes this online portfolio is used in conjunction with either of the first two options. For the first two options, you need to decide on what type of presentation binder you will use. Presentation is everything as they say so take the time to make a good impression.

It’s Time to Shine and Showcase Your Skillset

This second step to creating a career portfolio is to realistically examine your skills. Evaluate all that you have done professionally. One option is to take screen shots of work you’ve done, save them in a document and print them out in color to be added to your compilation. While you are working on this step, you need to think the way the prospective employer or client thinks. What are they looking for? Do you fit the employment needs? The candidate who gets the job is the one who fits all the criteria of the prospective job. Pay attention to even the smallest details which showcase your experience. You don’t want to include too many examples of your work, but just enough of the best pieces which make your skillset shine. Each job that you apply for has different requirements so be specific in your consideration of what work samples you include.

Think About the Most User Friendly Experience

The third step is important. You need to use some common sense. Of course you want to showcase your experience. However, you don’t want to provide so much that you have a counter-effect and bore the prospective employer. The main purpose of a portfolio is to provide visual examples of your work—drawings, photos, diagrams, writing samples etc. Less is more. For example, you should include an excerpt of a novel not a larger portion. If the prospective employer is interested in reviewing more, he or she will request it.

Resources to Create Career Portfolios

Espresso Work is an online resource tool for collecting and organising your work portfolio. It’s a way to showcase your achievements to prospective employers and clients. There is a minimal cost for utilising this system. However, the system is simple and easy to use and they offer a free two-week trial. There is no programming required and you can input an unlimited number of projects. Through this program you can securely share the portfolio with any of your contacts. All file and drafts are archived forever. You will receive your own domain name as well as SEO optimisation and Google Analytics. Your blog can also be imported. Wix and Square Space are free online resources to create career portfolios.

Creating a career portfolio is a simple task if you follow the steps described in this article. The process begins with deciding on the right format and design of the portfolio for your job search situation. Then you can begin the process of showcasing your experience and skillset. Always remember to think like your prospective employer or client thinks and provide a user-friendly experience with your portfolio.

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