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How to Create a Professional Portfolio

How to Create a Professional Portfolio

A professional portfolio is an asset that you can use to
sell yourself and your services to a potential employer and you can use it to
set your self apart from the competition. A well put-together portfolio backs
up everything you have written on your CV and it can demonstrate your talent
and expertise during an interview. It can also be used to showcase your
suitability for a role. With this in mind, let’s discuss our top tips on how to
create a powerful portfolio, what to include and how to structure it.

Why You Need a Professional Portfolio

A portfolio is the
ultimate representation of your skills, achievements and experience and it can
be useful in a number of situations. It can demonstrate industry experience in
a job interview, it can be sent to potential employers via email when pitching
your services and it can also come in handy when
negotiating a pay review
or a salary increase with a current employer.

What Type of Portfolio Should You Choose?

The first step to
creating a professional portfolio is to decide what type of portfolio will
complement your specific needs. Would you prefer a scrapbook style portfolio
that you can carry around with you that includes paper copies of your CV,
previous work and references or perhaps an online portfolio would better suit
your needs?

What to Include

A portfolio should include relevant examples of your work,
an updated copy of your CV, awards, certificates, educational achievements and
letters of reference. However, if you have been working in the same industry
for a while, you may find that you have an extensive amount of documents. The
key is to only include your best work and the achievements that show
transferable skills. When deciding which documents to include, ask yourself if
it applies to the industry and if it is relevant to the job you are
interviewing for. Always take a tailored approach when cherry picking the
documents to include.

Make It Personal Yet Professional

Personal touches make a portfolio stand out from the crowd. Add
a photo of yourself, but always make sure it is a professional image suitable
for a work environment. What you include, will of course, depend on the
particular role you have your heart set on. If it is a social media related
job, be sure to include any links to social channels you have built up or worked
on and if you have a personal blog don’t forget to include a link to it if the
job is in the creative industry. Lastly, include a few short testimonials from
clients you have worked with or previous employers that show off any positive
traits. 

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How to Structure It

Buy a sturdy ring binder in black and
use dividers to showcase each section. Begin with a copy of your CV followed by
a brief introduction that tells a potential employer why they should hire you. The
first page should be an at a glance account of your career path so far, your
education timeline and any academic achievements that make you stand out. Then
include examples of your most recent work. Ensure that the pieces you pick
showcase all of your talents and above all, show variety. Create a section
following this for your testimonials and references. Lastly, prepare two
physical copies of your portfolio so you can leave one with the interviewer.

Review It Regularly

Your portfolio should be ever-changing and as your career
progresses, your portfolio should too. Before you attend an interview, always
review the content of your portfolio and ensure it contains only your best and
most recent work. Update any stats and include any new awards or achievements.
If you are presenting an online portfolio or a paper-based one, make sure all
of the links work and proofread it to eliminate any mistakes relating to
punctuation or grammar. Lastly, does it look professional? Is the design of
your online portfolio outdated? Is your paper-based portfolio looking a little
shoddy? A clean design or a pristine paper copy is essential to make a great
first impression.

Have you mastered the
art of creating a professional portfolio? Let us know on Twitter at 
@viking_chat.

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