Job Search Support: Creating a Portfolio / By Alan Bernstein, President and Chief Human Resource Consultant of HR Office Savers, Inc.

Having a collection of your best work available in a portfolio is a great way to not only tell the employer what you are able to do, but also to show them what you have done for others.

Portfolios are not only for artists. Writers, accountants, computer programmers, financial planners, web site designers, painters, housekeepers, marketing and advertising agents and others can all benefit from a well-organized portfolio of their best efforts.

Any time a visual presentation of what you have accomplished is possible, a portfolio is a vehicle to present yourself well.

Pro-tip: Depending on the position, online portfolios can be just as attractive and effective as physical portfolios.

Display Portfolio

A display portfolio includes the best samples of completed work related to the position.

Utilizing a display portfolio may be the most suitable for the task of showing the employer that you are confident in your ability to be a part of the success of the company and have previous work to back that up.

Display portfolios typically include pictures or presentations that show the employer work you have completed.

Pro-tip: Show only completed work. Employers want to see what you have done, not what you might be able to do.

Assessment Portfolio

Assessment portfolios are generally used as a way of documenting what one has learned.

This is helpful for a student who is being judged on areas related to the success of a curriculum or professionals looking to advance their career.

Assessment portfolios typically include report cards, performance reviews and letters of recommendation that show the employer what others think of your work.

Pro-tip: Show only positive assessments. If the assessment is not positive, do not include it.

Elements of a Portfolio

If you are creating a physical portfolio, be sure to invest in a quality binder to house the portfolio contents. If you choose an electronic portfolio, be sure you use a neat and accessible format.

Include only the best samples of work that are specific to the position for which you are applying (text, diagrams, photos, etc.).

Try to include three to five samples of your best work related to the position with each sheet separated by a plastic sleeve to give the interviewer an accurate picture of who you are and what you have to offer.

Pro-tip: Have someone else review your portfolio for spelling, grammar and overall appearance.

In Conclusion:

A portfolio is a strong marketing and job search tool that can go a long way if created in an effective manner.

Alan is the owner of HR Office Savers, Inc., an independent human resource consulting firm that supports small local businesses and individuals with their human resource needs, including staffing, compliance, and job search. Prior to launching his business, Alan held a series of Human Resource positions of increased responsibility at Harris Corporation, Honeywell International, GTSI Corp, and Verizon Wireless.  Alan holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Buffalo, is Six Sigma Green Belt Certified, and is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resource Management.HR Office Savers offers a full range of human resource support options, from employee relations to termination, including performance improvement plans and progressive discipline policies. Contact us today at positive and sustained employment for both workers and employers!