As you set out on your job hunt, it's important to be prepared with more than just a professional resume. Whether you're a marketing hopeful, aspiring author, web developer or fashion designer, a professional portfolio gives you the opportunity to show off your talent and convince the hiring manager of your skills. Find out how to create a portfolio that suits you best and what to include to create a stellar first impression.
Craft a Printed Portfolio
When assembling the printed documents for your physical portfolio, you should include a variety of information that expands on your professional resume. Begin with a personal statement that describes your career goals and work ethic. Draft a list of your skills along with an explanation of related work experience. Create a document that details awards or significant achievements. Include community service work or volunteer positions you've held. Finalize your professional portfolio with a list of references, letters of recommendation and testimonials.
Your completed portfolio contains a great deal of information about your professional career, so it needs to be organized in a way that's easy for the recruiter to read. Use a three-ring binder to collect your documents, separating the sections with dividers. Create a table of contents page, and clearly label each category.
Include Work Samples
Your professional portfolio needs to include more than just documents detailing your professional career path to convince a recruiter that you're worthy of a job. Work samples provide real-life examples of your skills and capabilities. A writer might provide samples of short stories or other transcripts. If you're a fashion designer, collect several sketches of your designs.
When deciding which work samples make the cut, follow a few simple rules. Make sure your samples are of high quality and are printed on the proper paper for a crisp, clean presentation. Solicit feedback from friends, family members, classmates or professors to determine which pieces of work are your best. Remember that you're only including samples of your work, not everything you've ever done; choose a variety of pieces that show your range. For example, if you're in marketing, share a radio jingle you wrote, a magazine advertisement you created and a colorful brochure you prepared. If you have an abundance of samples, choose those that are most relevant to the employer.
Prepare the Presentation
When you provide your portfolio to a potential employer, you need to know how to present it properly. Tuck a copy of your resume in the professional portfolio so the recruiter can keep it. Don't feel as though you need to narrate as the hiring manager reviews your portfolio, but do be prepared to answer any questions they may have about your documents or samples. Keep business cards on hand to give to the recruiter before you leave. Consider selecting one impressive and memorable sample that you can leave with the potential employer as a reminder of your professional skills.
Create an Online Portfolio
Are you looking for a more modern way of presenting your skills and samples? An online portfolio makes your information easily accessible by potential employers, and it's well-suited for technologically savvy professionals, such as graphic designers, programmers or web developers. Create a simple, professional website that serves as your resume and includes an online gallery of your samples. Certain resources are available online, some at a cost, including portfolio creating and hosting sites that help you build your professional presentation. On your business card, add a QR code that the interviewer can scan and view on their smartphone.
Think of your professional portfolio as a collection of proof designed to convince a recruiter that you're the best candidate for the job. While it's important to select the perfect exhibits to include in your portfolio, it's also vital that you present the material professionally.
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