What is a Career Portfolio? It is a job-seeking tool that you develop that gives employers a complete picture of who you are, including your experience, education, accomplishments, your skill sets - and what you have the potential to become - much more than just a cover letter and resume can provide. You use the portfolio in a job interview to showcase a point, to illustrate the depth of your skills and experience, or to use as a tool to get a second interview.
It will take some time to develop the initial portfolio, but once you've developed it, keeping it current and up-to-date should be fairly easy.
Your two biggest decisions in developing your portfolio are determining the format of the portfolio and the organization of the portfolio.
The portfolio should be kept in a professional binder. It should include a table of contents and use some kind of system - such as tabs or dividers - to separate the various parts of the portfolio.
If you want to be more cutting edge, you should also consider developing an online portfolio (webpage or website).
Here are the basic types of things that should be included in a portfolio:
Career Summary and Goals: A description of what you stand for (such as work ethic, organizational interests, management, philosophy, etc.) and where you see yourself in two to five years.
Traditional Resume: A summary of your education, achievements, and work experience, using a chronological or functional format.
Features / Accomplishments / Benefits Sheet:
(You may refer to a Sample FAB Sheet here.)
This is a detailed examination of your skills and experience. This section should include the name of the skill area:
- Features - the performance or behavior, knowledge, or personal traits that contribute to your success in that skill area.
- Accomplishments - your background and specific experiences that demonstrate your application of the skill.
- Benefits - how this might benefit a new employer.
Samples of Your Work: A sampling of your best work, including reports, papers, studies, brochures, projects, presentations, etc. (Besides print samples, you can also include CD-ROMs, videos, and other multimedia formats.)
Testimonials and Letters of Recommendation: A collection of any kudos you have received - from customers, clients, colleagues, past employers, favorable employer evaluations and reviews, professors, etc.
Awards and Honors: A collection of any certificates of awards, honors, and scholarships.
Conferences and Workshops: A list of conferences, seminars, and workshops you've participated in and/or attended.
Transcripts, Degrees, Licenses, and Certifications: A description of relevant courses, degrees, licenses, and certifications.
Military records, awards, and badges: A listing of your military service, if applicable.
References: A list of three to five people (including full names, titles, addresses, and phone/email) who are willing to speak about your strengths, abilities, and experience. Usually they are at a manager or supervisory level.