Why Are Portfolios Important?

Portfolios are a great way to demonstrate the competencies you would list on a resume or talk about in an interview, they allow you to show and not just tell. During a job search, the portfolio showcases your work to potential employers. It presents evidence of your relevant skills and abilities.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a variety of work samples and professional documentation that provides proof of your accomplishments or samples of your work. It can be a physical book or binder that organises samples of your work, or an online portfolio with electronic files.

Why do we use portfolios?

Portfolios are a great way to demonstrate the abilities that you would list on a resume or talk about in an interview, they allow you to show and not just tell. During a job search, the portfolio showcases your work to potential employers. It presents evidence of your relevant skills and abilities. Portfolios are also helpful for independent contractors, consultants, or business owners who need to provide work samples to potential clients.

When do we use portfolios?

We need to use portfolios to archive samples of your work as it is a great way to keep track of your accomplishments and make note of when you acquired key competencies. Portfolios are needed when applying to a new job, a promotion in your job role and to showcase your work to potential clients. Having it all together in a portfolio can be useful during your yearly review or helpful if you decide to go for a promotion. It can take quite a while to put together a portfolio, so make sure it’s up-to-date to prepare you for unexpected situations like layoffs and sudden changes to your job.

How to create a portfolio?

For online portfolios, you can build your own website from scratch or use a web-based portfolio builder. Just enter for online portfolio builder into your favourite search engine and you’ll get loads to choose from.

If you want to be found by employers you should be using LinkedIn as an electronic portfolio as this could be a good option. LinkedIn often shows high up in online searches which is helpful in building your online brand.

For hard-copy portfolios, you can use anything from a simple three-ring binder to a professional, leather-bound padfolio. It’s best to organise your physical portfolio into tabbed sections that demonstrate different key abilities or showcase your work by type or topic.

Anything that demonstrates your accomplishments and abilities should go into your portfolio. Think you don’t have anything to put in a portfolio? Think again. What major projects have you worked on recently or over the years? Add it to your portfolio.

Here are some items you may be able to include in your portfolio:

  • Current resume or CV
  • Diplomas, certificates, and transcripts from post-school institutions
  • Reference letters, awards, testimonials, and LinkedIn recommendations

Work samples that you have created, for example:

  • Curricula
  • Proposals
  • Marketing materials
  • Spreadsheets or reports
  • PDF presentations
  • Graphics or layouts
  • Project plans
  • Evaluations or performance appraisals
  • Published articles and writing samples
  • Link to blog or sample of blog post
  • Thank you notes or e-mails from clients or co-workers