Do you want to prove that you can do what you say you can, stand out in a job search, take advantage of career opportunities that come your way, and easily demonstrate why you deserve a raise or promotion?
Then you need a professional portfolio!
Your professional portfolio is a representation of who you are and what you can do, supported by tangible evidence, such as work samples, visual aids, certificates, etc. It can include any combination of the following items:
- Cover letter
- Letters of recommendation
- Work samples
- Awards and recognition
- Proof of training and education
- Annual performance reviews
- Personality profile summaries
- Professional associations
- Conferences attended
- Volunteer work or community service
- Photos and/or graphics to represent events, projects, organizing systems, etc.
3 Types of Professional Portfolios
There are three types of professional portfolios: print, social, and digital. Each type helps set you up for success. But when you combine all three, you create your Comprehensive Professional Portfolio Strategy®. The compound effect is powerful and each version of your professional portfolio serves a different purpose.
- A print portfolio is useful in face-to-face meetings where you can physically present it in a three-ring binder or other professional format. An executive, hiring manager, interviewer, or recruiter can go through this cohesive, easy-to-read collection of career highlights and instantly see the value you bring to an organization.
- A social portfolio helps you stay in front of current and prospective employers. Hosted on a social media platform (typically LinkedIn), it’s a way to attract attention, share your accomplishments and expertise, and create a professional global network. You can include the link to your social portfolio in your resume header so that recruiters can easily connect to your profile and work samples.
- A digital portfolio is great for situations where face-to-face interactions are difficult. It lives on your own website and highlights your top achievements so that you can quickly showcase them in a visually compelling way. It makes it easy to share information with anyone, no matter their location. It can also be a fantastic way to pique interest and get people to contact you.
A Comprehensive Professional Portfolio Strategy allows you to maximize your visibility and capitalize on important career opportunities.
4 Primary Uses for Professional Portfolios
Now that you know what a Comprehensive Professional Portfolio Strategy includes, here are some ways you can leverage it to your benefit.
1. Career Planning. A career isn’t just something that happens on its own. It takes hard work, dedication, and plenty of advance planning. Fortunately, your professional portfolio is a huge help in this area.
By documenting your accomplishments as they occur, you’re creating a permanent record of everything you do, ensuring that nothing is forgotten. And when you look back over those accomplishments, you’ll start to see areas where you shine, which can help guide the direction of your career.
Your portfolio also helps you set and track your goals. For instance, if you notice that one section is lacking, make it a priority to focus on and improve in that area.
And there’s nothing like looking over your professional portfolio to give you the confidence boost you need to see how far you’ve come and how much further you can go!
2. Performance Reviews. When it comes to your annual performance review, you can’t beat the power of a professional portfolio. In a sense, it actually becomes your performance review.
When you show up to your review with your portfolio, there’s no need for your executive to ask questions about what you’ve done all year. The proof is right in front of them. And if you consistently document your accomplishments all year, there’s no need to worry that you’re forgetting something important.
A lot of executives dislike performance reviews, so anything you can do to make the process easier is a point in your favor!
3. Job Interviews. Most people who show up for a job interview are going to say that they can do the job. (Why else would they be applying?) But people who show up for a job interview ready to present their professional portfolio aren’t just saying they can do something – they’re proving it.
Always include the link to your social profile on your resume. This gives prospective employers time to review some of your top accomplishments before you ever set foot in their office. Then, during the interview, you can present your print or digital portfolio to really impress them.
Here’s a real-world example of how important portfolios are during the hiring process. As a high school freshman, one of my colleagues beat out several upperclassmen for a coveted internship at the local newspaper. Why? Because she had the foresight to put together a portfolio that included her transcript, a letter of recommendation, and a few mock newspaper articles she’d written.
The editor later told her that the decision to select her over older, more experienced candidates was heavily influenced by the fact that she was the only one who showed up to the interview with a portfolio.
4. Business Development. When I stopped working corporately and went into business for myself as a virtual assistant, my print portfolio was no longer enough. Because I was working with clients who lived in different cities and states, I needed a digital portfolio that I could share online. And that digital portfolio was the foundation that I’m still building on today.
While you might not have any intention of starting your own business now, you never know what the future holds. And if you decide to branch out, you’ll be glad you have a professional portfolio that can be easily adjusted for business purposes!
Go Anywhere With a Comprehensive Professional Portfolio Strategy!
There’s a common misconception that professional portfolios are only for jobseekers. Obviously, that’s false! Your portfolio will be instrumental during every step of your career and even into retirement. Start creating yours today!
© 2023 Julie Perrine International, LLC
HOW TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE
Want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or website? You can — just as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.