How to: Perfect Your Portfolio

17 Nov

So you’ve landed a job interview! This is it. The job of your dreams. Of course, you plan on

Your portfolio is what is going to make you "shine" above the rest

winning them over with your stellar personality, charming wit, and dazzling smile. But you can’t just walk in there empty-handed.

Your portfolio is going to be what truly sets you apart during your interview. In an earlier post, I wrote on how to make your resume stand out. The resume is great for getting an interview by showing a snapshot of your work. However, the portfolio gets you the job because it provides examples of your work and is a guide during your interview so you can speak on your accomplishments. This is great when the employee interviewing you asks a question such as, “Do you have any design experience?” And you can say yes, and then flip to some samples of your work.

With your portfolio, you need to realize that employers want to see varied but specific skills. It isn’t the who you’ve worked for, but what have you done how did they benefit. It’s all about results, results, results! If you have an evaluation from the overseer of the event, then you should include that (only if it is a positive one, of course).

It’s important that your portfolio is organized! One way to stay organized, is to use a 3-ring binder with dividers! Remember to include…

  • Resume
  • Tailored cover letter
  • Career summary and professional goals
  • Samples of your work (writing, photography, graphic design, videography)
  • Awards and honors
  • Client feedback and letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts (you don’t have to)
  • Certifications, degrees, licenses
  • Volunteering/community service
  • References

A professional, organized portfolio is a must.

Being able to show your work IN PRINT is best. So try submitting your articles or press releases to local newspapers, and see if they print your submission! Another great idea, is to have an online portfolio. That way, if they ask for your work, you can give them the URL to your website. And remember, always bring copies of your work in case they ask to keep one!

Now get out there and make your portfolio! But seriously, do it. Like right now.


6 Responses to “How to: Perfect Your Portfolio”

  1. njtedeschi November 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Great post! For us as students, half the work of putting a portfolio is getting out there and accomplishing things. I know for myself it can be difficult at times to identify varying strengths and skills, but I like how you mentioned the necessity for examples of varied but specific skills. An online portfolio is a great idea. Thanks for providing a check list as well!

  2. tholding November 19, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    I am very glad you wrote this post. I am currently in Comm Seminar class this semester and my portfolio is coming up to be due very soon so this is a very helpful post for me. Thanks Rachel!

    • Tara's Blog. November 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

      Perfect! There is so much information that I almost don’t even know what to do with it. Its a good thing that you put it all so eloquently. Thank you. There are a lot of people who are afraid of doing things to get the job of their dreams because of their portfolio. This is great!


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