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11-callie-portfolio-interview     An old job-hunting tool is making a big comeback. For decades, artists, photographers, architects, designers and writers in search of work, have used portfolios to showcase their abilities and qualities. Finally, others are discovering how portfolios can help them in their careers. Portfolios can help people in business and industry organize and document events in their lives. This information can greatly assist employees in moving within their current work environment more freely. More individuals are acting as independent contractors, selling their skills and capabilities whenever they can fill an employer’s needs. Realistically, few people work for only one employer for the length of an entire career.

     Career portfolios are used to organize and document events in your life and contain very specific and critical information that’s relevant to your intended position as well as map out a plan for future success. It is a job-hunting tool that gives employers a complete picture of who you are, your experience, your education, your accomplishments, your skill sets, and what you have the potential to become. Your Career portfolio contains much more than a cover letter and resume can. It can be used in job interviews to showcase a point, to illustrate the depth of your skills and experience, or to use as a tool to get a second interview.
     The most common items contained within this portfolio include (but are not limited to) personal information, evaluations, sample work, awards and acknowledgments. They are more in-depth than a resume, which is used to summarize the above in one or two pages. Career portfolios serve as proof of one's skills, abilities, and potential in the future.
Some benefits to creating a career portfolio are:
  • Helps prepare for interviews
  • Convince others of your skills, abilities and qualities
  • Communicate clearly (focusing the interview conversation).
  • Showcase your skills
  • Demonstrate the results of your work
  • Establish the habit of documenting your accomplishments and results
  • Create a personal data base
  • Assess your own progress in your career development
  • See and evaluate the patterns in your own work preferences and values
     Career portfolios are often kept in a simple three-ring binder or online as an Electronic portfolio and updated often. How do you make a portfolio? You start by developing a “collection” that contains all of your information. Much like a resume, you want to focus the temporary portfolio you’ll use for a specific event so that all the items are relevant to your audience and support your purpose. If your audience is an interviewer (for a job), you’ll want to focus the “job” portfolio so that evidence of your ability to do that job is crystal clear. Your “purpose” is to demonstrate that you have successfully accomplished the tasks represented in the portfolio (which should parallel the job description), to support your assertion that you can do the job.

portfolioWhenever you make a portfolio, your choice of items from your collection will depend on your specific audience and your purpose.
  • Use professional binder or notebook that takes clear page protectors
  • Use clean copies, rather than originals.
  • Create a table of contents.
  • Organize by categories relevant to the job.
  • Use dividers to separate categories.
  • Insert a summary caption that explains the significance of each artifact.
  • Use graphics, visuals and color, if possible.
  • Should be no longer than 20 pages.
  • *Bring duplicates of some artifacts so they can be left with employer, if requested.
What types of things go in a portfolio? The basic categories are listed below. Don't feel the need to use these exact category titles for your portfolio. Keep in mind that you want to give reasons for the employer to hire you. You want to showcase your education and work experience by showing examples and evidence of your work, skills, and accomplishments.
  • 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.
  • Professional Philosophy/Mission Statement: A short description of the guiding principles that drive you and give you purpose.
  • Traditional Resume: A summary of your education, achievements, and work experience, using a chronological or functional format.
  • Scannable/Text-Based Resume: A text-only version of your resume should also be included.
  • Skills, Abilities and Marketable Qualities: A detailed examination of your skills and experience. This section should include the name of the skill area; the performance or behavior, knowledge, or personal traits that contribute to your success in that skill area; your background and specific experiences that demonstrate your application of the skill.
  • List of Accomplishments: A detailed listing that highlights the major accomplishments in your career to date. Accomplishments are one of the most important elements of any good job-search.
  • 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.
  • Research, Publications, Reports: A way to showcase multiple skills, including your written communications abilities. Include any published papers and conference proceedings.
  • Testimonials and Letters of Recommendations: A collection of any kudos you have received -- from customers, clients, colleagues, past employers, professors, etc. Some experts even suggest including copies of favorable employer evaluations and reviews.
  • Awards and Honors: A collection of any certificates of awards, honors, and scholarships.
  • Conference 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.
  • Professional Development Activities: A listing of professional associations and conferences attended -- and any other professional development activities.
  • Military records, awards, and badges: A listing of your military service, if applicable.
  • Volunteering/Community Service: A description of any community service activities, volunteer or pro bono work you have completed, especially as it relates to your career.
  • References List: 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. At least one reference should be a former manager. One size does not fit all
  • Because those skills, qualities and knowledge can come from so many different places, even the portfolios of twins could be drastically different from each other.
            Your biggest time commitment will be the initial development of your portfolio. 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. Once the development is complete, you then have to gather, write, copy, and assemble the material that goes in the portfolio. This process will not only result in a professional looking portfolio, but should help you be better prepared for your job search.
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