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How to Make a Professional Portfolio That Gets Results

You’ve finished your program, and now it’s time to begin your job search. You probably know that you need to perfect your resume and cover letter, but did you know that you can also compile a professional portfolio that will set you apart from other job applicants?

Here’s how to make a professional portfolio that will help convince employers that you’re the right person for the job.

Paper or Online?

Choose a portfolio format that suits your needs: paper or electronic.

  • Paper Portfolio: A paper portfolio is a bound collection of what’s most important to present your unique skillset. The benefit of the physical paper format is that you can use it as a tool for conversation, while also highlighting your main accomplishments. While often used in design and arts, a paper portfolio can also be used in the healthcare field or the trades. Imagine all your certifications in one easy place.
  • Electronic Portfolio: An electronic portfolio is completely online. You can include a link to it on your resume and on your LinkedIn profile. If you’re interested in a computer-focused profession like information technology or business administration, an electronic portfolio shows employers that you are computer savvy. It is also completely portable and convenient. And you can include more than what you would have in a paper portfolio. Just make sure that it’s easy to navigate with a clear hyperlinked table of contents.

What Should My Portfolio Include?

Here’s what employers look for in a portfolio:

  • Table of Contents: This makes it easy for prospective employers to find the sections of your portfolio that most interest them.
  • Career Goals: Include your goals to show that you’re serious about your career and how the position you seek is a match for your skills and long-term vision. Make sure that your goals align with the job description. For example, if you are applying to become a medical assistant, don’t mention that you want to be a nurse someday. Focus on why you want to enter the medical field and what you want to accomplish in your medical assistant role.
  • Resume: Make sure your portfolio includes your current resume with extra copies to distribute to your interviewers if it’s in paper form. Even though they have seen your resume, they might not have a printed copy for the interview. This will make you seem prepared and organized.
  • Special Skills and Accomplishments: It’s important that your portfolio highlights your special skills and accomplishments. These can include skills that you have learned through your coursework and externships, certifications, and any accolades you earned such as employee recognition awards.
  • Work Samples: Since you are applying for an entry-level role, your samples will probably be from your coursework and externship experience. Samples can include relevant writing assignments and projects. You can also include a description of your externship experience and what you learned while on the job.
  • References: Employers are likely going to ask for references if they are interested in hiring you, so including them from the start will make their job easier. These can include personal, professional, and academic references from people who know you well and will be able to tell employers why you are the ideal person for the role.

Just like your resume and cover letter, your portfolio is your chance to convince employers why they should hire you. That’s why it should look professional and include well-formatted and clear documents.

 

Are you ready to put your best foot forward and show employers how Charter College has prepared you for your chosen career? Stop by our Career Services department and we can help you build a portfolio that will put you on the path to success.