Building a Professional Portfolio

Are you ever so nervous during an interview that you forget to mention something pertinent? Many people feel this way. Leave those days behind you and create your own professional portfolio.

A professional portfolio provides employers with an in depth look into your credentials, experience, and recommendations. An employer learns so much about you and your work history while they are thumbing through your portfolio. A portfolio that is assembled with care and consideration allows the employer to take a step into your past work history without ever picking up the phone or doing a background check. You are bringing your past with you to share so make it good!

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” ~Earl of Beaconsfield

Here are a few things to consider:

* Binder selection. Your portfolio should have dividers with your cover letter and resume in the front portion of the binder. You can purchase a clear view 3-ring presentation binder from Staples or Office Max for less than $10. You may also choose to use page protectors and this will come in handy during an interview.

* Sections. Your binder should have the following sections: 1) Letters of Recommendation, 2) Certifications, 3) Transcripts, 4) Exams/ Scoring, and 5) Additional Information. I would also make sure that you include photographs of you working, your projects, or other artifacts that help to represent the quality of work you do.

* Copies of Documents. You will want to use page protectors since they are able to hold several pages in neat and tidy way. Having copies on hand when an employer needs them is helpful for when they request a copy. It is impressive to be able to provide copies of your letters/credentials/documents right there on the spot.

* Keep it up to date. Keep your portfolio up to date with new letters or other documents. Get as many letters of recommendation that you can.

* Your philosophy. Many times an employer likes to learn about your philosophy or work ethic so that they know it matches with theirs. One way you can do this is through the use of quotes. Gather quotes that match your philosophy or are inspiring in some way.

* Be proud. Be proud of your accomplishments and show them off. If you assemble something that you are proud of, this will show in your interview and hopefully impress the socks off them.

There are many reasons why you should put together a portfolio, but the best reason of all is that it places you at the top. An employer wants to get to know YOU! A portfolio is your chance to help them understand your skills and experience. Prepare now for an opportunity to do so.

April Brown is a freelance journalist contributing to a variety of blogs as well at careermag.com. She enjoys writing about education, parenting, employment, economic conditions, and real estate. You can contact her at asbrown2@hotmail.com.

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