In many professions, it is commonplace to develop a working portfolio and edit and modify it as one moves through his or her career. I suggest conducting some research on the topic to see how your field views portfolios. You will find there are various styles of portfolios depending on industry, so it is important to tailor your portfolio to your field and your strengths. It is a good idea to read a few articles on the topic and view some samples for your profession.
Since I have had two different careers, I have two different portfolios – I have done research and reviewed samples to see what employers are looking for, but I strive to add my personality to my work. Though these are opinion articles, I think they are a fine place to start: About.com (http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/resumes/a/portfolio.htm) and eHow.com (http://www.ehow.com/how_2193326_organize-work-portfolio.html). Both offer valid points and links to examples. Keep in mind that your strengths should be the focus. If you are a writer, the core of your portfolio should emphasize your writing style and publications you have written for in the past. Likewise, if you are a graphic designer, potential employers will want to see your creativity.
Though these articles are a starting point, it’s important to make your portfolio unique. For example, if you are in education, I recommend videotaping your lesson plans. You will want to provide something tangible to show during an interview. If you are in public relations, it’s crucial to include any articles you’ve helped place, the media outlets you work with, and a sample of your various skills as a writer. If you are just starting out in your career, I still recommend creating a portfolio. You should include school assignments and work completed at any internships you held. To really stand out, find a company you admire and create something for them (i.e. a marketing tool, a business plan, or a press release). This will show you are innovative and willing to go the extra mile.
In this high-tech world, I also suggest creating an online portfolio. You can find a free hosting site and the content can be basic. You can omit your resume or any other personal information but include salient aspects of your portfolio. You may want to include the URL on your resume. Then, if employers are inclined to view your work (before or after interviewing you) they will have your virtual portfolio handy. Always make sure your portfolios are neat, concise and free of errors. Remember, your portfolio should be fluid and grow with you.
By: Amy Muldoon
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