Recruiters and hiring managers are more sophisticated today in what they want to know about a potential candidate for their job searches. Talk is cheap, and sometimes they shy away from candidates without substantiated data that validates achievements listed in career documents.
A portfolio is primarily designed to be used in the job interview — both to illustrate your qualifications and (possibly) as a leave-behind piece. Developing a customized portfolio for use as a leave-behind can be a very effective strategy. It shows you prepared for the interview and leaves a memorable impression .
How do you decide what to include?
• Review your resume and identify any portfolio pieces that could substantiate your education, experience, training, or other qualifications.
• Think about the responsibilities of the position you are seeking. Are there any skills that the position requires that you want to showcase — for example, writing, photography, social media, or leadership?
Here are 6 things to consider:
1. Work-Related Documentation
• Performance evaluations (or excerpts of evaluations) from supervisors or managers
• Work samples (projects, newsletters, photographs, case studies, proposals, surveys)
• Papers/reports/publications you’ve authored
• Samples of communication/writing skills (writing samples)
• Evidence of computer/multimedia skills
• Logs/lists/charts that document your performance
• Sales information — be sure you are not disclosing confidential information
• 30-60-90 Day Plan — what you plan to do in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job in your new position
• A copy of your college or university transcript
• Copies of the certificates or diplomas for trainings/workshops/degrees listed on your résumé
• Example of major class assignments — report, presentation, or project (for recent graduates)
• Documentation of knowledge of a foreign language (certificate, grade, or test result)
3. Awards and Honors
• If you mentioned an award on the résumé, include a copy of the certificate or photo of the trophy
• Photos of individual or team participation in an event or award
• Scholarships received
• Include copies of any thank you letters you’ve received, including letters and emails from customers and/or co-workers
• Letters of recommendation from previous supervisors and managers
• List of references
• LinkedIn Recommendations — you can either select a few and put one on each page, or put together a page of Recommendation excerpts
5. Community or Organizational Involvement
• List of professional affiliations, including leadership roles
• Clubs or activities you’re involved with
• Photos of events you helped organize
• Newspaper clippings featuring you at work or your involvement in charity work or with a nonprofit organization
6. Other Documentation to Include
• Personal statement or philosophy
• LinkedIn summary
• Career overview (bio or list of positions/dates)
• Photographs of you in action (on the job, or involved in volunteer activities)
• Photo of you delivering a presentation
According to a 2012 survey conducted by Hams Interactive, 37% of hiring personnel use social websites to check on clients. A digital portfolio is one way to highlight what hiring managers will find about you online.