A new client asked if I thought there was value in having an electronic or physical career marketing portfolio and if so, which one. My answer? It depends!
There are fields that a portfolio will definitely be an asset and others that though it wouldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t have the impact.
What kinds of fields need portfolios?
- Teachers – Still often part of the job posting and part of the curriculum for an education degree, a teacher is often encouraged to have a portfolio to prove lesson planning, creative teaching strategies, and even classroom management methods. While this was once a paper portfolio, the benefit of an electronic is that it is less expensive to reproduce and can easily be left.
- Architects and Engineers – In these professions, a portfolio is almost essential. You want to be able to showcase drawings and projects to show your skills. Electronic would be best.
- Graphic Designers – Like the Architects and Engineers, you certainly want a portfolio with projects represented. While a paper version have an impact in an interview, the electronic will let you show your mastery of programs too.
- Models and Actors – Models and actors are often out there with photographs and even photo layouts. Electronic portfolios let you use video too as part of the presentation, which is often key in this world.
- Writers – Writers particularly benefit from portfolios and again, today, electronic would be great. Showcase articles, show links, and give diversity.
- Web Designers – The best electronic portfolio for a web designer is an actual site showcasing the many sites they developed. It also becomes a potential sales piece. When I am looking for inspiration, I look through the Headway Showcase.
What other fields could benefit from a career marketing portfolio?
Almost any field that produces something that can be shared could benefit. You need to make sure that what you share is yours to share. If you are sharing projects you developed for a company, you need to make sure you are not violating confidentially or other company rules.
What would you use to present the electronic portfolio?
This question reflects that electronic portfolios could be many things. At one point, your electronic portfolio might be dropped on a CD and perhaps you printed multiple ones for each employer. You might have had the cover designed or perhaps you used software and designed the cover yourself. Years ago, you might have saved your portfolio to a floppy disc.
You can also put your portfolio in a PowerPoint presentation on a jump drive or email it to the hiring manager.
One longer-term method is to develop your own website as your portfolio. You can incorporate all kinds of information. If you are in one of the above occupations, you can use the website to show your work but even if you are not, you can use it to show your resume online, certifications, and other projects.
LinkedIn now offers the opportunity to link files and URLs to your LinkedIn Profile. You can add graphics or examples of your work or link to your publications. However, if a person is viewing only your public profile, they can’t see your links or files so you need to make sure that you are allowing access to your profile in your settings.
There are online apps too just shop around. Today the options are endless.
When do you use the portfolio?
I would never present a portfolio with an application or resume unless it was specifically requested. I would save it until there was a request or share it in the interview phase.
No matter what you decide to do, you can find plenty of ways to use a portfolio to help your job search and career.
Julie Walraven can help you achieve results through using a personalized job search and resume writing strategy to take the mystery out of the process. To find out how, simply click here!