When you are hunting for a new job you should always highlight your past achievements. As well as having a good CV template it can be very beneficial to have a portfolio of your work to show a prospective employer.
There are many different professions that you can create a portfolio for. Journalists keep a portfolio of their written work, designers and graphic artists keep a portfolio of their images… the list goes on. Depending on your chosen career path it could be a good idea to start collating previous work to show to potential employers.
Why Are Portfolios Helpful?
An employer will want to see a copy of your professional CV and being able to write a cover letter well will also help with your job application.
But often a portfolio can take your application one step further. It shows you are dedicated to your career, it shows you have experience in your sector and (more importantly) it makes you stand out – not everyone will have a portfolio so this could really improve your chances of gaining employment. If you have had some successes in your career or want to highlight any achievements there really is no better way. You can demonstrate this during a job interview by showing your portfolio to an employer and they will then be able to visualise the impact you will have on their company.
When to Use a Portfolio
Your portfolio is primarily to support your application and your experience. The best time to use a portfolio is when you are at the face-to-face interview stage. Ensure you take it along. An employer might not feel it’s necessary to look through it but having it with you further demonstrates how prepared you are.
What to Include In a Portfolio
This really depends on your profession and how long you want the portfolio to be. A portfolio doesn’t need to be pages and pages of text or images. You want to give the employer a flavour of your work but they will not have all day to sit down and look through it. Here are some ideas of what to include:
- Covering letter. Head your portfolio up with a cover letter introducing the reader to your work and your expertise.
- Images. If most of your work is written try to include some relevant imagery – an interviewer will not want to scan through lots of text and you need to keep their attention.
- References. Perhaps they are quotes or perhaps you have a formal letter but adding any relevant text from past employers or colleagues can be a good idea.
- Facts and figures. If you are including different types of work you might want to add in some facts and figures to highlight your success e.g. If you are creating a PR portfolio about PR campaigns you have worked on you should include facts and figures about the reach, demographic, conversion rate etc