A portfolio, also known as a professional or career portfolio, is an organized collection of works used to show one's capabilities and accomplishments. Unless specifically requested by an employer, a portfolio will not be a part of the initial application process. More conventional materials like a resume, cover letter, and/or job application are most often used in the initial selection process. There are though some career fields where a portfolio will be utilized during the initial application process (e.g. Teaching, Graphic Design). Either way, when interviewing, networking, or simply keeping yourself current on your own qualifications and accomplishments, having a portfolio can be of immense value.
Traditionally, portfolios have been a collection of paper materials thoughtfully organized in a professional binder. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in electronic portfolios (e-portfolio), also known as digital portfolios. You may choose to employ one or both of these options.
Portfolios may include, but are not limited to:
- Cover Letter
- Proof of recognition
- Proof of accomplishments
- Proof of leadership
- Proof of performance
- Career goals
- Letters of recommendation
- Writing samples
Depending on your major or career field, there may be additional career field specific sections or works you could include in your portfolio. For example:
- Lesson plans
- Teaching philosophy
- List of classroom management strategies
Graphic Design Portfolio:
- Publications created (e.g. brochure, newsletter)
- Graphic design software certifications
- URL to website(s) created
Electronic Portfolios (e-portfolio)
E-portfolios include information typically found in a paper portfolio but allow for a more dynamic presentation style. Web-based e-portfolios are the most accessible to employers and can be shared by simply adding your website URL to your resume and cover letter. It is very important that your e-portfolio has a professional appearance, is easy to navigate, and is updated regularly.