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What’s a Portfolio For? Who Needs One and 5 Tips for a Good One
April 27th, 2010 by Guest Author  Posted in Job Search, Most Popular, Resume Writing

Fire the fingerA portfolio is not just for artists any more. It is simply a collection of work you have done, displayed in a visual manner. Your portfolio can be hardcopy or digital, but it should definitely reflect the best you have done in a relevant work role.

It can include items done in school or even volunteer work, but they should be professional quality, have a clearly stated purpose and include results, when possible.

Professionals who could benefit from the use of a portfolio include anyone in marketing or advertising, writers, editors, anyone who works on websites in any capacity, and even those responsible for financial planning or accounting, with those nice colorful graphs and detailed plans. Anything that you put a lot of work into that can be represented in a visual way will work in a portfolio. A computer programmer, for instance, can include a visual of the code of a project alongside the final user visual. An interior designer can use before and after shots. A lawyer can insert newspaper clippings along with their briefings.
  1. Make your portfolio items relevant – rotate them so that the most relevant items are up in front for each position you are interviewing for.
  2. If it’s a hardcopy portfolio, invest in a good quality case – not a cheap plastic one with pages that will rip. Make a good impression, because you want them to think that you are worth every penny.
  3. If it’s digital, make sure that you know how to operate it well in advance of any interview. Make sure you know how to manage all the views. Bring your own laptop and make sure that your power source is fully juiced. It’s best to have the portfolio operate from your hard drive, because you don’t want to have to rely on wi-fi from your prospective employer.
  4. Make it easy to read. Include bits on each project about what the piece was trying to accomplish, and what the results were. But don’t overdo the text element; it should be primarily a visual display.
  5. Practice. Walk through your portfolio out loud – several times. Don’t let questions swerve you off course. Ask a friend to play the employer, if possible. Slow down, and be sure that you are allowing your audience to see what you are displaying (for instance, don’t have the book or screen turned towards you – turn it towards them).
Notice the key word that kept cropping up above – relevant. You can and should remake your portfolio for every interview for every company. Make an effort to find things you can present that will excite this next prospective employer. Many people are really very visual, and if you have samples that can give your interviewer a tactile element, all the better. You will stand out from the crowd and they will come away with a good impression of you.
author-linda-whiteAbout the Author: Linda White has been a writer and editor for over 15 years. She provides communications services to businesses to help them put their best foot forward.  These include writing, editing, publicity and marketing services for businesses large and small.
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