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Creating a Career Portfolio™

Creating a Career Portfolio™

Joan Burge advises that a career portfolio is a professional way to show yourself off.

By Joan Burge, Founder & CEO, Office Dynamics

Whether you decide you want to move up in your chosen field, move out of the profession, or stay where you are, a career portfolio will be a valuable asset to you.

Why would it be beneficial to create a career portfolio?
• Shows you are proactive.
• You’d have a hard copy of your accomplishments; permanent history.
• “Shows” people what you are capable of doing.
• A tool to receive higher levels of recognition.
• Shows your creativity.

When and where can you use it?
• During your performance review.
• When writing your professional development plan for the upcoming year and tracking accomplishments.
• Competing for an internal job.
• When a new boss comes on board and you want him or her to quickly gain an overview of your talents and experiences. • Asking for additional responsibility.
• Outside work – if you are trying to obtain a leadership role.
• When being considered for committee work.
• External interviewing.

What can you put in this portfolio? Many things but here are some suggestions:
• Professional photo of yourself (no larger than 4 × 6)
• Record of any outside work; volunteer or committee work.
• Thank you notes from customers or clients on a job well done.
• Thank you letters from other divisions or executives on a job well done.
• Examples of your work: graphic work; spreadsheets (be careful you do not divulge confidential company information)
• Past evaluations (not more than 3 years)
• Your mission statement and vision
• Customer appreciation letters
• Resume (have extra copies in the back pocket if you use a 3-ring binder)
• Emphasize results and accomplishments vs. job duties!

Be sure to place this in a nice leather portfolio, possibly with your initial on it. Or you might want to use a three-ring binder. Be creative. Remember the outside packaging also represents you and will send a message to the person viewing your portfolio. Think clean lines, professional looking, and quality products. Also think about the font style and size you will use—again keep it professional and the type and color paper. You might want to use some nice sheet protectors as well.

Extras could include a Table of Contents, cover letter, and an information CD!

Note: Do not leave this portfolio with the interviewer or others reviewing your portfolio. That is why you might want to leave an informational CD, have extra copies of your resume and a cover letter.

Read all of our ‘Career Advancement’ Articles.

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    about 7 years ago


    I think in today's technological world, it may be better to have something online that future employers can view. You can easily create an online portfolio at There, you can upload work samples, history, drafts, photographs, presentations etc. It is a lot easier then carrying around a big binder. You can then give a URL link to view it. That way others can view your work with out you even being there, or having to leave a disk with them. I think it is something definitely needed in an age of computers.

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    over 7 years ago


    I think this is a great idea. Still being a student and looking to become an admin, I would not have thought of doing something like this. I think this is a very useful tool.

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    almost 8 years ago


    I would think to pull something together like this on my own, but these guidelines are great. I am DEFINITELY going to make a Career Portfolio.

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