DO I NEED A PORTFOLIO?
I always think of resumes as the most essential career document. If you have an up-to-date resume, you are ready when the opportunity presents itself, often with only a few tweaks required. However, the resume is only part of the entire package.
You will also need easy access to a list of references, your diplomas and transcripts, your past performance reviews and anything else that you think might be of interest to an employer. This includes anything that will support your claim that you are the ideal candidate for the position.
In the old days, portfolios were only for artists or people in creative professions, e.g. photographers, designers and writers. Now anyone will benefit from having a portfolio.
What does a portfolio look like?
A portfolio is an organized collection of your career documents that demonstrate your Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Attributes. It can be paper – in a binder (in page protectors) – or a zippered case, or it can be a series of files in a folder or on your computer. If you decide to take it with you to an interview it will need to look professional.
Ideally, your portfolio will contain sections or tabs that you can use to organize your material. This will help you find key pieces of information to show in the interview. Note, employers will not want to read your entire portfolio.
E-portfolios are also gaining popularity. These are digital versions of your portfolio documents and can include videos, blogs and personal websites. However you may not want everyone to have access to your documents or personal information, so use and share this wisely. Many people use LinkedIn since it acts like a digital portfolio. And remember – always protect your privacy when working online.
Note: If you are planning on coming to Canada from another country, develop your portfolio before you arrive. This will be easier than trying to collect your career documents once you have arrived in Canada.
Sections of your portfolio can include:
- Resume, references and letters of recommendation
- Professional development/training
- Credentials/academic, diplomas, transcripts, notes from professors or teachers
- Work history – performance evaluations
- Examples of your work – blueprints, letters, reports, social media posts, PowerPoint documents, pictures, spreadsheets
- Personal or work memberships – clubs, associations
- Personal – volunteer, interest courses, community involvement, articles, awards, organized events
For a full list of career documents that you may want to add to your portfolio, visit our ‘Career Documents‘ blog post.
Value of a Portfolio
A portfolio has many uses.
- It can help you organize your documents so they are all in one place
- It will continue to grow as you progress in your career
- It can be used in an interview – to support your answers
- Note: select only the documents that will support your application for this one specific position, the rest can be left at home
- It can help you with an application for training or help you work through the Prior Learning Assessment process
- It will help you manage your career when you are working
- You can show your progress when it is time to apply for a promotion
- It can demonstrate your success during a performance review
- You can use it to help you identify gaps and set career goals
The documents in a portfolio will create a picture of you in action.
- Rather than telling an employer you are creative you can show them an example from your portfolio
- Rather than saying you write well, you can provide an example of your writing
- Rather than saying you were valued by your last employer, you can point out a summary of your last performance appraisal
- Rather than saying you are a good carpenter, you can show pictures of your work
- Rather than saying you know how to use Quickbooks, you can provide an example of a report you have created.
If you would like more information about developing a career portfolio or an e-portfolio, contact Resume Pro Canada by phone at (705)745-1607 or send an email to .