What is a career portfolio?
What does a career portfolio look like?
- Choose a presentation folder suitable for your needs
- Identify who your audience will be e.g. Potential employer or client, current employer, college or university, professional recognition body etc.
- Decide on the sections you will include
- Create a Table of Contents
- Gather evidence materials e.g. certificates, photos, letters, articles, awards etc.
- Insert evidence materials in folder being sure to display them in as professionally and visually pleasing ways as you can.
- Add dividers to distinguish different sections using introductory title pages if appropriate
- Show your completed career portfolio to someone for feedback – ask them if they find it easy to read, understand and navigate
What does a career portfolio include?
- Education, Qualifications and Training
- Ongoing Professional Development
- Employment/Work History
- Volunteering/Community Involvement
Another interesting and creative way to present your Table of Contents is to break it down into the demonstration of key skills and abilities.
- Include any degrees, certificates, diplomas or other awards (originals or certified copies) along with course outlines, learning outcomes and transcripts of academic record/results
- Academic achievement awards and any college or university related achievements can be included
- Professional development activities where you received a certificate of attendance
- Conferences, seminars and other events can be evidenced by including a flyer, programme or outline
- If you use an e-portfolio programme to record your continuing professional development (CPD) you can include a print out to demonstrate your commitment to your ongoing CPD. Information about current or future professional development activities can be included, e.g. an accountant working towards CPA certification
- Evidence your employment such as employment contracts, position descriptions and job advertisements
- Performance review documents, recommendations for promotion and operational documents such as sales figures etc. (don’t include any commercially sensitive information)
- Samples of your work e.g. if you’re applying for a job as an Illustrator you should include examples of the kinds of illustrations you have produced and the projects you have worked on
- Accolades received for your work e.g. a favourable product or service review or special awards received
- Photographs, business cards, staff profiles and media relating to you starting in or progressing in the role are other forms of evidence you can include
- Any written references or letters of recommendation you have from past employers, supervisors or colleagues
- Recommendations from LinkedIn can be printed and included
- Testimonials from past or present customers or clients are another great way to boost the references section of your portfolio
How do I use my career portfolio?
Be mindful that like your CV, you may need to tailor your portfolio to suit different roles you apply for. If you're applying for a managerial role for example, make sure your portfolio is loaded with examples of your key skills and abilities most applicable for the role. Likewise, if your portfolio is full of managerial skills evidence and you're applying for a lower level position, consider removing some of the items that show you are over-qualified for the role.
TIP: Like your CV, your career portfolio will constantly evolve. You should regularly review its contents and add (or in some cases remove) items as your career develops.
Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(HumServ&Couns), DipCG, MCDI is a Career Counsellor & Career Coach at CareerWorx www.careerworx.co.uk.