How To Create A Portfolio

How to Create a Portfolio




Home / D.A.T. / Internships Guides / Links / web Board

What Is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is a binder or book that shows off your work and abilities. It goes beyond a cover letter and a résumé. A portfolio is a job-hunting tool that you develop that gives employers a picture of who you are—your experience, your education, your accomplishments, and your skills. Not only does it show the employer who you are, but it also displays what you have the potential to become. It is designed to do one thing—to support you as you market yourself!

Top Six Reasons to Have a Portfolio

  1. Distinguish yourself from the competition.
  2. Turn the interview into an offer.
  3. Increase the salary offer by impressing the interviewer.
  4. It is tangible proof of your abilities.
  5. It might help you get promoted.
  6. It can help you find the position that is right for you!
Where to Begin

You should start developing your portfolio by first doing a self-assessment. Evaluate what you have to offer and what the best ways are to market your assets. You should decide which skills and experiences you have will relate to the needs of the interviewer, or what you would most like the interviewer to see. If you have don't have much work experience—most students don't—you'll need to mine your school work, volunteer work, and hobbies for evidence of the relevant skills you know you have. For example, if you did event promotions for a campus organization, include a copy of a flyer or poster you designed.

The following is a list of items you may want to include:

Organizing Your Portfolio
  1. You should keep your portfolio in a professional three-ring binder.
  2. Come up with an organizational system of categories to put your items together. Sample categories are as follows: Work Experience, Education, Awards and Certificates, Special Skills, Personal Accomplishments, Background. Use tabs or dividers to separate the various categories.
  3. Your portfolio should be no more than 25 pages. The shorter it is, the better because an employer will only really absorb 6-10 samples.
  4. Every page should have a title, a concise caption, and artifact. Captions should explain the process you went through and the resulting benefits, such as: "This is a flyer I designed for the promotion of the American Marketing Association Membership Drive. We gained over 50 new members that year." Use the same type of action verbs you would in a résumé.
  5. Photocopy full-page samples to a smaller size, if needed.
  6. Make the layout and design consistent, and don't get overly decorative—keep it clean and use lots of white space.
  7. You may also consider including a disk or CD with samples of your work. An on-line portfolio is another option.
  8. Once you have put together your portfolio, you should create a title page, table of contents, and introduction. The introduction is your opportunity to tie together your portfolio contents and summarize your qualifications.
Finishing Touches How Do I Use My Portfolio During the Interview Process?