Showing is almost always more impactful than telling. Listing your experience, skills and achievements on your resume is important, but presenting visual evidence of your work in the form of a portfolio reinforces your credibility and brings your experience to life.
Though often associated with creative positions like graphic design or photography, going the extra step to create a portfolio can be invaluable in any field of work, and helps you stand out that much better in interviews.
How To Present Your Portfolio
When going for an interview, take a physical copy of your portfolio and be prepared to leave it with the interviewer. You can present your portfolio in a folder, duotang or binder, with a nicely formatted title page and table of contents. Or you can display your portfolio digitally on a tablet during the interview, and then email a copy to the interviewer afterwards.
Other digital options can showcase your portfolio on a dedicated website. Website builders such as Wix, Squarespace and WordPress have templates you can choose from, and can be a low-cost, if not free, option. Other sites such as Behance, Flickr or YouPic are also great for hosting portfolios, as long as your work samples are formatted as images.
What To Include In Your Portfolio
In your portfolio, include samples of your best and most recent work, such as:
- Reports, research or spreadsheets you’ve created
- Processes or procedures you implemented
- Presentations, videos, photographs design work or other multimedia
- Sales results, ideally with graphs and charts
- Case studies outlining projects you’ve worked on, including the problem or need, how you addressed it and the tangible results you achieved
- Positive reviews or testimonials from employers or clients
- If relevant, you can also include general letters of reference, transcripts, licenses and awards
Where possible, include an explanation of the who/what/where/when/why/how of the samples you include. In particular, elaborate on what you contributed to the project and any tangible results.
When creating content for your portfolio, it’s important to be wary of privacy and confidentiality of personal information, financial figures and intellectual property, especially if you have signed any non-disclosure agreements. Obscuring or redacting names and sensitive information is one option, but that can be visually unappealing. An alternative to consider is replacing factual elements with fictional ones, such as referring to a person as Jane Doe, a business as Company X, and replacing real numbers with approximate or made-up values.
Thoughts from a Recruiter
Allison Ford, Vice President and Recruitment Consultant at The Headhunters, shares some thoughts on portfolios:
“Having a career portfolio is a great way to wow a recruiter or potential employer. Recruiters and hiring managers interview dozens of candidates, so a portfolio can help you stand out from the pack. It shows that you take the hiring process seriously, and that you’ve put in the extra effort to showcase your work in a thoughtful and memorable way.”