What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a document many professionals use in place of or in addition to a resume. It’s a way to showcase your work experience, training, education, and qualifications in a more detailed and organized manner. Portfolios used to only be primarily used in creative fields, such as photography and writing. But in today’s competitive workforce, they are used as an added tool to stand out in a sea of applicants in any profession.

Who should have a portfolio?

As previously mentioned, a portfolio is a much more detailed history of a person’s work and experiences. This makes it an effective tool for preparing for interviews, standing out from the crowd, and showing extra initiative. Many job-seekers use them as a way to showcase their talents in a way that’s not possible in resumes. For example, in a portfolio, someone can highlight a specific project they’re proud of in a way that simply can’t be done on a resume.

Items to include in a portfolio

Portfolios are much more flexibly designed than resumes, meaning that everyone chooses their contents differently. For example, a photographer might include a confidentiality statement in the beginning. This would be a formal request not to share any included work. Other statements that might be included are career goals, skills, a link to a resume, and work philosophy. Then, of course, it will include links to or explanations of previous work, certificates, degrees, trainings, and memberships.

Portfolio presentation

Portfolios are commonly presented online with customized websites. This makes linking to projects much easier. However, some employers still prefer hard copies. In these cases, presentation methods can be customized to fit the industry. Typically, they’re presented in 3-ring binders so that items can be added when needed. Just keep in mind that they should look as professional as possible. Quality paper and professional fonts should be used, with minimal images and graphics unless it’s for art.