- Workshops and Events
- Work and Volunteer Opportunities
- Resources and Support
- Faculty and Staff
People use portfolios to collect information that represents work-related events they want to show their future employers. This material can include past accomplishments, potential directions for future work, talents, expertise, projects, and experiences. Like a resume, building a portfolio is a never-ending process of discovery and fulfillment. It is a work in progress, documenting one’s career journey and exploration and aiming to showcase one’s growth to the audience.
A career portfolio visually represents one’s abilities, skills, capabilities, knowledge, qualities and potential. They can reflect soft skills (e.g., communication skills) and/or technical skills (e.g., HTML/CSS). The purpose of a career portfolio is to reflect one’s qualifications and experiences in a designated field, showcasing one as a promising candidate for work in the industry.
Traditionally, a portfolio is valued in art, design, and technology industries; vocations like artists, make-up artists, hairstylists, models, photographers, programmers, and software engineers have relied heavily on the portfolio to showcase their projects. However, anyone in a professional role can benefit from having one.
Creating A Portfolio
1. Collect your information
Gather all the materials that can demonstrate your past projects, such as photographs, artifacts, and drafts. Consider information about you that you would like to highlight: formal and informal education and training, work performance, people skills, communication skills, technical skills, professional development and lifelong learning, personal management, etc.
Depending on your industry, some might be more essential than others. For example, if you are in a creative industry, people msy place more importance on the demonstration of work samples. You can do some research by viewing sample portfolios in your industry. If you don’t have much work experience yet, you can use the projects you’ve done for schools, clubs, or other practices.
To respect recruiting employers’ time and keep their interest, employment portfolios should be slim files with examples of your best accomplishments, not big, bulky books with every work document you’ve acquired. Use a combination of text and visuals to show them your growth process and how you face challenges in a project. Show, don't tell.
2. Organize Your Materials
Categorization refers to grouping your work into a logical, easy-to-follow manner. Categorized examples are best for visual portfolios, such as photography, makeup, interior design, and graphic design.
Group your content into themes that inspire you and can potentially attract employers. You can even start with a tab named "past projects" and list all projects when you first started. Depending on your industry, it is best to search sample portfolio pages representing your industry to evaluate the expectation.
Case studies allow you to describe singular projects. They are best for professions where pictures can’t do all the talking, such as marketing, UX design, or teaching. If you go with this format, you should dedicate a separate section or page for each case study.
A great tip is to accompany your text with images to show the context and process of your project, the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them, and your contribution to the project and team. Great feedback from other professionals can also help!
3. More About You
Besides experiences, what else would you like your audience to know about you? Try tackling the about page, introduction, photo, thumbnails, etc. to demonstrate a well-rounded image of YOU.
Things you can consider: a short introduction (cover page), photo, about page, contact page, social media, media files, graphic or web design, etc.
Depending on the industry you are applying to don't be afraid to show off your unique style! Customize your template, fonts, and colors, and try to make them consistent throughout the entire portfolio.
Don't forget to maintain your porftolio by constantly polishing and keeping your projects up-to-date!
4. Highlight Your Status
Are you actively looking for opportunities? If so, what types? Which industries? What are your career goals?