Creating Job Portfolios

Creating a job portfolio is essential for interviews. This article explores how to make a good impression on an interviewer, and get the job.

Recently, I talked with a friend who was preparing for an interview for a teaching position. I asked her if her portfolio was up to date, and whether she needed help with it. She looked puzzled, and responded:

"Portfolio? Do I need a portfolio?"

Perhaps the answer should be, "No, a portfolio is not absolutely necessary. But if you want to look good, make an impression, get an edge, and ultimately do everything possible to procure a job, than yes you really do need a portfolio when interviewing for professional positions."

The portfolio should be housed in a sturdy 3 ring binder. This will allow you to add or subtract documents as needed. The binder should be neat and orderly, and the contents well organized.

The first page of the portfolio should be your index. This will give the interviewer a concise overview of what is actually contained in the portfolio. It will enable him/her to look at the documents of interest, and quickly get an idea of what you have done.

The first personal document should be your personal resume or vitae. This concise document should outline all relevant credentials, education, work experiences, and activities. The next section of the portfolio will include all licensees, certificates, and other credentials. The most relevant, or the most recently gained should come first in this section. Following this should be educational degrees, achievements, club recognition, or volunteer acknowledgments. This section may come prior to the credential file if a person is just entering the professional world, or just graduating from college or trade school. The remainder of the portfolio can be personalized from here. Depending on personal activities many articles may be included here. Some examples might be:

Pictures of activities that might be relevant to the job.

Writing samples, or previously published works

Brochures from conferences attended

Thank you letters from volunteer organizations for community service

Individual letters of recognition or recommendation

Evaluations from past jobs.


Descriptions of past activities that need to be explained further.

Again, these should be considered as to their relevance to the position currently being sought, and should appear in chronological order.

The ultimate portfolio should be organized, neat, and present a clear picture of who this person is that is applying for the position. Many people choose to use translucent coverings on each document to enhance the appearance of the portfolio; this is fine as long as it does not make it impossible to read or access the documents. It is important to remember that the interviewer is busy, so the portfolio should present a person in the best light without too many frills or time consuming inclusions.

The portfolio, like the resume, should be fluid. It needs to be tweaked for each position sought. It is important to keep the portfolio updated and complete. In the back of your mind, keep looking for documents to add to your notebook. This portfolio is your best chance of demonstrating skills and experience to a perspective employer. Make it good, and most of all make sure you have one.

© High Speed Ventures 2011