Portfolios enable job seekers to showcase their strengths, and they’re doing it in ever increasing numbers. Portfolios are not just for artists and designers; people in virtually any field can benefit from a well-constructed portfolio. They work for managers, professionals, blue-collar workers, administrative assistants, and recent college grads. Work samples can include spreadsheets you’ve developed, a newsletter you conceived and implemented, a drawing or advertisement you created, an engineering design you produced, or a mechanical part you machined. Job seekers have effectively used literally hundreds of different kinds of portfolio items in interviews.
Artists, photographers, actors, and designers have long used portfolios. In school they are often taught how to create a portfolio, but they are rarely taught how to present it. The principle with work samples: if you think that under some circumstance you would want to show the sample or artifact, take it with you to the interview.
While their use is growing, less than one percent of job seekers use portfolios in interviews. For that reason, a well-designed portfolio can set you apart from the competition and make the interviewers remember you favorably. A client described interviewing a candidate who sold herself well and also was the only candidate with a portfolio. She was the best remembered interviewee. She got the offer.
A picture is still worth a thousand words, and sometimes a portfolio is the only way to adequately sell certain strengths. One thing we know for sure—if you don’t bring a portfolio, you are guaranteed not to use it. If you do bring a portfolio, you will use it when appropriate.
Portfolios Sell People
An engineer designed electronic connectors for computers. When asked about his products at interviews, he would reply, “I can tell you, but let me show you.” He would then pull out samples and place them on the table. The engineering manager interviewing him would invariably pick them up and a conversation would ensue. At that moment they became two colleagues speaking about mutual interests. The interviews always went well.
A public relations specialist with a hospital was applying for a promotion within his own organization and discovered that his personnel records contained little about his successes. He had assumed he was the odds-on favorite to win the promotion, but after learning that those interviewing him would know little about his reputation, he decided to create a portfolio. In his portfolio he placed examples of the press releases and other writings he produced after the hospital received bad press due to medical errors. His portfolio contained the negative articles, as well as his responses, including press releases and the plan of action he prepared for the hospital. Finally, he showed the news coverage that came out after his press releases. These articles were much less critical, enabling the hospital to weather the storm. He won the promotion. These and other stories demonstrate the power of portfolios. They work. Employers are impressed. Employers will remember you.
CREATING YOUR PORTFOLIO
Many things can be effective in a portfolio. One client had pictures of himself standing in front of a $6 million piece of equipment he sold to an oil refining company. The unit was over 60 feet long and fifteen feet high. Interviewers not familiar with such equipment would immediately grasp its size and complexity. As interviewers looked at the photograph, my client described the sales process and how he would structure deals to beat the competition. Then he would close by saying he was number one in his company in selling that type of equipment.
Another person, with a background in HR management, uses his portfolio to show how his actions have improved the work climate and have cut recruiting costs. In the improved work environment, turnover has consistently decreased, saving tens of thousands of dollars each year in replacement costs. This person’s portfolio contains numerous charts and graphs that provide proof of the cost savings. It is very impressive.
Begin the process of creating your portfolio by considering all of the things you’ve worked on that you’re proud of. What visual item could you use to enhance a story or demonstrate a skill? Determine whether there are items you could give to the interviewer. Giving something to the person to handle, or even keep, can be powerful. Steve, an architect who wanted to concentrate on architectural renderings, spent many hours and a couple hundred dollars developing a brochure with drawings of five unique Pacific Northwest homes. That brochure left a lasting impression. Leaving something with the interviewer causes the person to think about you each time he or she sees the item.
As another step, list all of the results included in your resume. Then determine what artifact you might use to provide supporting evidence of your success. Try to have at least one document supporting each result. This is important because interviewers often request more detailed information about results.
It can be especially effective to tailor your portfolio for each interview. Select items that support the skills and strengths being sought in the position. If you choose to give each interviewer a copy of your portfolio, and you use a spiral binder, you could have all of your artifacts already photocopied. Before each interview, select the documents you want and take them to a copy shop or print shop for binding.
What Goes In A Portfolio
Quickly scan the list below to get a sense of the artifacts that people have included in their portfolios. The basic principle of a portfolio is that you include things that you believe will favorably impress employers.
Writing Samples (can include photos of cover)
Published articles (in a company newsletter, a professional association newsletter, a newspaper, or virtually anything with a readership of 50 or more)
Books (chapter or partial chapter, table of contents); include reviews
Published letter to the editor
Documentation of new or revised processes
Technical writing samples (include sample drawings)
Grant writing (the proposal, indicate if successful, possibly the amount)
Documents on how to assemble something (include drawings)
Examples of edited material (include your editing notations and include the final draft, thus showing the impact of your editing)
Translation (show the document in its original language and your translation)
Samples of recommendations made to a boss or group (shows persuasiveness and logic)
Business or work-related documents
Interoffice memos or emails expressing plans or recommendations
Timelines, schedules, PERT charts used in project management
Accomplishments (longer descriptions than what appears in your resume, see pages 46-48)
Photo(s) with captions
List degrees, diplomas, certifications
List courses completed
Describe class projects and include results
History student of the year
Employee of the month
Rookie of the year
Letter of commendation
Letters of thanks/praise from customers, clients, coworkers
Articles written about you or articles that include you (including In-house company newsletter, school paper, local newspaper, magazine professional organization newsletter)
Articles in which you are quoted
List application software experienced with (can rate on a 1-5 scale)
List operating systems experienced with
List computer languages experienced with
List things you can do with computers
Install peripherals like printers, scanners, hard drives, etc.
List computer-related equipment and software experienced with, including scanners, digital cameras, digital video recorders, voice recognition software
Examples of work done on computers
A design or chart done with Visio or a Visio-like product
A drafting example done with computer aided design software
A design done with computer aided design software
A three dimensional drawing done with drawing software
Computer generated graphics using Flash and other such programs
The coding of an actual program
Reports created with spreadsheets, database managers, accounting software, inventory management software, enterprise software, etc.
Letters of recognition
Photos of projects, programs
Offices held, include years
Committee chair or co-chair
Describe activities and results
Letters from people describing the successes of your projects or events
Article about you in a newsletter
Summary article of a talk you gave to the membership
Photos (almost always with captions)
Showing people worked with
Getting an award
Acting as a host or emcee
Things designed, built
Point of sale display
Trade show booth
Team with team project
Equipment can operate or use on job
Photo using the equipment
Of equipment sold
Happy customer with product in hand
Charts, flow charts, graphs (hand drawn or with graphics software)
Drawings, sketches, paintings, sculptures, photographs
Photos of art work
Show music (include lyrics when appropriate)
Reviews of art, graphics, music
Teaching in a classroom
Sample job interview
Demonstration of how to do something
People praising you or describing you
Speaking a foreign language or interpreting
Interviewing or counseling someone
List of classes, workshops, courses taught (could include how many times given)
Include descriptions, course syllabus
Summarize reviews from students/attendees (90% rated workshop good or excellent)
Quote from some of the reviews (“Jan’s talk brought this complex subject alive in a very understandable way.”)
Overheads, PowerPoint slides, photos
Audio or video clips
List key skills you possess (can include number of years of experience)
If you have many, break them into 3–6 categories
Provide short biographies of people who appear in your portfolio
Evaluations or portions of evaluations from supervisors (see page 223 in Resume Power)
Letters of reference from bosses, coworkers, customers, clients, professional colleagues, teachers, people who can vouch for your character
Letters should specify certain skills/strengths you possess
Pulling It All Together
Build your portfolio by selecting artifacts you may want in the portfolio. Your portfolio will primarily consist of written documents, drawings, charts, and photos that you can place in protective plastic sleeves and put in a three-ring binder. The sleeves already have three holes so you don’t need to put holes in your documents. In addition, a portfolio can include such things as talks recorded on audio tapes or video tapes. Tapes and videos should be loaned for a few days so the interviewer can review them later. Supply a self-addressed, stamped, padded envelope, making it easy for the interviewer to return them. Since the cost of reproducing 10-20 sets of an audio or video is fairly small, you can consider giving it to the individual. Your entire portfolio can also be put on a CD, which can then be left with the interviewer or used during the interview on your own laptop computer. More and more people are creating web portfolios in which the portfolio resides on its own website (see Resume Power page 142), enabling an employer to access it 24/7 just by finding the web address on your resume.
Another type of artifact is one you carry with you and hand to the interviewer. This could include jewelry or a plastic part you designed or made—things that have a tactile impact. The interviewer can look at it from all sides. At the same time, you can be describing the history behind it.
Imagine five people who all show the same object in their interviews. The first person designed it, the second drafted it using computer-aided design software, the third marketed it, the fourth wrote ad copy, and the fifth sold it. You can see that the same object would work equally well for each of them.
Find a container that you can put all of your potential artifacts into. As you gather your items you will notice that they naturally fit in certain categories. Create file folders with the appropriate titles and put items into them. This will also help you organize your portfolio. If in doubt about whether to put something into your container, just go ahead and include it. To have it in your container does not commit you to putting into your portfolio.
Many people tailor their portfolio for each interview. Therefore you will want numerous things in your container so they are there when needed. Even if you will rarely use the item, keep it in the box so you’ll know where it is.
For a portfolio case, many people use a zippered three-ring binder so nothing can be lost. Others use high-quality binders that simply open like a book. Such binders can be leather or have the appearance of leather. The key is that they look attractive.
Appearance counts, so good graphics are important. Perhaps you have a chart that you created a year ago and it was effective at the time. As you look at it today, however, you realize it could be made to look even better, so you take the time to improve its appearance. If a document is a copy of a copy, clarity will have diminished, and you may want to recreate the document so it looks sharper. Color virtually always causes documents to have more impact, so print them out on a color laser printer, ink jet printer, or copier. Graphs and charts in color are particularly effective. If you lack a sense of design, or don’t have the necessary software to accomplish what you want, consider hiring a graphics professional. The extra cost could pay off big when you get the right job.
Even though in most cases you’ll be describing the document that the person is looking at, sometimes an interviewer will just be skimming through. Each document should be labeled in such a way that it is self-explanatory. If you have your document in a plastic sleeve, you can drop in a card which describes the document regarding its purpose and how it proved beneficial. These cards can be referred to as work sample overview cards. It contains a brief summary of the work sample and is placed inside the page protector. The card should be roughly business card size. It should contain the title or description of the project, the purpose or goal, its benefit, what skills it demonstrates, and the date. The date could be the year (2003), the season (fall 2003), or month and year (June, 2003).
Plan for moving 200 employees to new facility
February, 2003 to August, 2003
Goal: Move desks and equipment on Friday, August 15 so employees can start work Monday, August 18.
Result: Staff moved in on Monday with only minor glitches that were fully resolved by Tuesday. Staff and management were very happy.
Skills: Plan projects well, anticipate problems, and effectively use input from all those affected by a project.
Avoid using originals in your portfolio since they can easily get lost or damaged. Given the good quality of today’s copiers and color copiers, you’re better off keeping originals in a safe place.
Be careful with proprietary documents. These would be any documents that reveal confidential information about a past or present employer that might be of value to a competitor, or any information that the company does not consider public and might want to protect. In some cases you simply won’t be able to use the document, even though it could be useful to you. In other cases removing certain names and dates or other information will be sufficient. If you have changed information, tell the person interviewing you. The interviewer will appreciate your discretion. After all, if employers see you revealing proprietary information about past employers, they can only assume one day you’ll do the same to them. Be careful about competitors who interview you only to learn confidential or proprietary information about your organization.
There is also information that poses no problem as long as the interviewer is not allowed to study it. You might show a document and describe what it represents, yet not allow the interviewer to study it in detail. Certainly this is not information that you would let the interviewer keep overnight, nor would it be included in the portfolio material that you leave with the interviewer.
Studies and observation indicate that two types of documents have the greatest impact on employers and are considered the most credible: direct demonstration and third-party validation. Direct demonstration includes writing samples, a computer program you wrote, or a marketing plan. In other words, the document itself provides evidence of your skill. Third-party validation would include a letter of appreciation from a customer, a letter of recommendation from a boss, portions of performance reviews, or transcripts from college. Both types are very valuable as you sell yourself. One client finds customer letters are particularly effective and they instantly strengthen his credibility. Some experts in the use of portfolios believe that showing good artifacts increases credibility tenfold.
Most portfolio experts recommend ten- to 20-page portfolios, but others have made effective use of 50- to 60-page portfolios. Those with longer portfolios typically organize them by subject and keep two to four samples in each category. Although they have a lot of material, they are able to go immediately to the information they want to share.
At the end of this chapter you will find the best books available on creating a portfolio. This chapter is designed to give you ideas on what should go into a portfolio, but only a complete book on the subject can cover the full details of creating a portfolio. Most books on creating portfolios are unfortunately short on how to present a portfolio, the very subject I am emphasizing.
USING YOUR PORTFOLIO IN INTERVIEWS
Using a portfolio during an interview requires practice and understanding of how to use one. The key is to know what points you want to make about each artifact. Artifacts can typically be used to sell several strengths, but it takes time to consider which strengths or competencies can best be demonstrated by each artifact.
Once you’ve selected your items, practice using them. Even practice how you will pick up the portfolio and move it close enough to the interviewer so he or she can read what you are showing. Practice describing what is being demonstrated by the item as you are looking at it upside down, or nearly so.
Know what points you want to make about each item. Explain what problem you were working on and what problems were solved. An engineer might explain that the problem was fitting all of the electronics in a small space. An artist or photographer might mention what techniques were used to create an interesting effect and how it required several tries to get it right. An engineer or product designer might bring the actual product, or, more likely, would bring drawings and photographs. Be selective. In any given interview you might show just a few items. Keep it interesting. Watch the interviewer’s face and body language to determine how interested he or she is in your material.
Know what’s in your portfolio and where it is. Nothing is more frustrating for an interviewer than to watch a candidate flip page after page, saying, “I know it’s here somewhere.”
Simply handing your portfolio to the interviewer to flip through rarely obtains the desired results. While that can lead to some interesting questions, most who effectively use a portfolio wait for the right question. Opening your portfolio for the first time might be initiated by a question such as, “How much experience do you have in process improvement?” Your response could be, “Process improvement has been one of my key functions for the past five years. Here’s an example of one of my major process improvement projects.” This is stated as the person simultaneously picks up the portfolio, sets it down close to the interviewer, and immediately opens to the right page. As the candidate describes the project, he also explains what the graphs reveal, as well as the significance of a photograph. Quickly explain what you are showing the person and why. Once you’ve explained the point, and perhaps a related story as well, close the portfolio and bring it back to you so you remain in control of it.
If you have included a ten- to 20-page report, you may need to let the interviewer flip through it as you are talking. Or, you can flip the pages, stopping to point out something of interest. Using colored post-it arrows can help direct the interviewer’s eyes to key places as you talk. Once you are through showing that part of the portfolio, bring it back into your possession.
Toward the end of the interview, you might consider handing the portfolio to the interviewer, suggesting that she might like to see some of the things that you had not previously covered. Since all of your documents will have captions, the interviewer can gain insight about you just by leafing through and stopping at points of interest. By watching her progress, you could provide a brief commentary on the significance of what is being looked at. It can even result in the interviewer asking you questions that were not originally planned. Since the questions are being driven by your accomplishments, the questions asked almost always enable you to shine.
Showing progression is often helpful. With the printout of a design, you could describe the challenges you faced and explain how you came up with the final design. Including one or two earlier versions can help the interviewer better understand the challenges you faced and can appreciate how your efforts led to a very good product. Explain the benefits derived from your final design.
Any metrics, charts, graphs, tables, drawings or other items should have captions with descriptive statements so the reader has an understanding of what she is looking at, in addition to your own narrative. If captions are not practical, create a work sample overview card as described on page 85. Use the SHARE method described on page 30 when describing how you achieved your results. There’s a story behind each graph or chart and you want the interviewer to have a full appreciation of what you did.
Find someone to act as your interviewer so you can practice using your portfolio. Supply the person with questions that will give you an opportunity to use it. Then get feedback from the person as to whether he understood what you were explaining and felt that the portfolio contributed to understanding. Practice with others and by yourself until you are confident you can sell your strengths.
Outside of the art world, few managers have seen a portfolio. For this reason they can be hesitant to look at one or unclear what to do with it. Quickly overcoming any initial reluctance is important, and knowing how to bring your portfolio out at the right moment is essential.
Bringing the portfolio out for the first time in the interview is a key moment. Open your portfolio anytime you have a document that will help confirm your skill or experience. It could be in response to the question, “Can you work well with difficult people?” You might say:
I work well with all types of people, including those who find it hard to get along with others. People tell me they enjoy having me on their team. I work hard at understanding other people and their points of view. If people don’t warm up to me right away I try to figure out why. I once had dealings with a person who was skeptical that I really wanted to help his team succeed. Within several weeks he became a supporter. I have a short letter from him describing our relationship.
After opening the portfolio to the letter and letting the person read it, you could say, “Let me tell you the story behind it.” The letter will serve to make your story more believable.
Michael Mottola and John Knapp, both HR executives who have been using portfolios for years, always wait for an appropriate question before opening their portfolio. Since they know exactly where everything is, they quickly go to the proper page and position it so the interviewer can easily read the material. Neither asks for permission, they simply show the item. Out of curiosity or interest, everyone has allowed them to show the item.
When Mottola is asked a question about his labor relations experience, he might reply “I can tell you about that, but here is a complimentary letter from my former employer that should be revealing.” Interest in the letter creates an interest in other items in the portfolio.
Portfolio items help people better understand a point. When John Knapp is asked about his compensation experience, he uses graphs to explain how his compensation plans decrease turnover and aid in recruiting. Trying to describe it is difficult, yet with the color graphs, everyone quickly grasps what he did.
After you’ve used the portfolio to respond to two or three specific questions, interviewers begin to get a feel for the value of the portfolio. Then, if you believe it will be useful, ask the interviewer if you may show other related items. Few interviewers will decline the offer.
When you share an item from the portfolio for the first time, carefully observe the reaction of the interviewer. If the interviewer shows little interest or even disinterest, you could show another item to see if you can stir up some enthusiasm. If there is still no interest, this is apparently one of those few people who are unable to see the value of what you are showing. In such a case, use stories where appropriate, without resorting to the portfolio.
Mottola will occasionally hear, “That’s a lot of information,” when showing his 40-page portfolio. Since Michael always leaves a copy of the complete portfolio, he will respond, “I’ll leave it with you in case you’ll want to review some parts later.” This relaxes the interviewer, who is then open to whatever Michael shares.
Mottola finds that printing his portfolio in a spiral-bound format, available at most copy and print shops, works well. On the cover he simply has his name and “Human Resource Professional” below his name. He provides a portfolio for everyone who interviews him, including all panel members. There is obviously a cost, but he looks at it as an investment.
When someone asks, “Have you ever…?” or “Give me an example of a time when…” or “What experience do you have in…”, use a brief statement that then leads to opening your portfolio. Help the employer visualize you adding value to her organization.
I’d like to show you an example of a key project I was involved with while at Beckwith Medical Devices. We were having problems hiring high-quality people because our recruiting procedures often took so long that our top candidate frequently found another job before we could make an offer. I created a flow chart showing all the steps that were currently required to make a hire and also the time typically required for each step.
(Here the candidate shows a flow chart and takes 30 seconds to interpret it.)
I then created a chart showing the cost of not getting our top candidate. By showing our CEO all of the costs associated with not getting our top choice, the CEO gave me a mandate to cut the time from 85 days to 45 days. With this mandate I was able to remove some steps and also got commitments from key managers to complete their portion in half the time. There was some initial resistance but it switched to total support when they started getting their first choice.
* * *
I was a fairly new executive assistant when I was asked to help in the planning and organization of the annual sales meeting, including speakers, entertainment, and working with the hotel staff. My boss got involved in another project so I was given responsibility for almost all aspects. I was able to get Tom Peters to speak at a significant discount because he had a speaking engagement in the area the day before ours. The meeting was judged a big success by everyone, and I received thanks from the president, my boss, and the national sales manager.
While talking, the candidate shows photos of Tom Peters speaking and a photo of her with Peters. She also shows a photo of herself standing with the company’s president, along with his letter of appreciation. Each photo has short, descriptive captions.
Tailoring your portfolio can be very useful. For an interview with an HMO that was having trouble retaining its nursing staff, John Knapp prepared a tailored portfolio that emphasized his ability to recruit and retain staff. He had a portfolio for each person on the panel and each one showed genuine interest in the contents of his portfolio.
Artists, photographers, and designers are trained to create portfolios, but they rarely use them effectively. Too often they simply hand the portfolio to a person and then try to answer whatever questions come up. According to managers who interview lots of artistic people, less than ten percent use their portfolios effectively. This observation of artistic folks seems to be true of job seekers in all fields. Since the bar is set so low, it provides a significant opportunity to anyone willing to spend the time to differentiate himself from the rest.
Planning your interview
To plan an interview using a portfolio, you must first predict the questions that will be asked and determine with which questions you’ll use an item in your portfolio. Begin by analyzing the want ad or job description (see pages 137-139). Skills, knowledge, education, or experience that are mentioned as required or desirable are likely to come up in an interview. Then list questions you’ve been asked in the past. Next review the list of 101 questions (see page 190) and select questions you think might be asked. Finally, list your agenda points (see page 55) and the stories associated with those agenda points. With all of these questions and potential questions, determine if you have artifacts that can demonstrate your ability in those areas. It is not too much to say that you should build the portfolio around your agenda. For every agenda point, work hard to identify a portfolio item that would support your claims.
In most interviews you will not share every item in your portfolio. Your first goal is to use artifacts that help substantiate agenda points. While virtually all agenda points have an accompanying example or story, it is not always necessary to have a portfolio point since the example will probably be quite vivid as it is. Many times, however, the artifact will make the story even more memorable. You will work hard to share items associated with agenda points in the interview, along with the story.
To know which items to use, first gather information about the organization you are interviewing with. This will give you clues about points you will want to emphasize. During the interview, listen intently to the interviewer in order to gain insight into problems, challenges, and opportunities, as well as abilities and qualities he is particularly interested in. Ask a few questions to gain further insight. With all of that information, decide what in your portfolio you especially want to emphasize. Based upon your development of your agenda, you will know what types of questions will enable you to share those points. This is similar to the salesperson who makes a recommendation or offers a solution only after learning the customer’s needs.
Using Your Portfolio For A Wrap-up
There are usually opportunities during an interview when you can offer to take the interviewer through some key parts of your portfolio. This often comes near the end of the interview, and it might give you five to seven minutes to share some important aspects of your background that you had not yet covered.
When You Lose Control Of Your Portfolio
While using your portfolio, be prepared for anything. Although you will be trying to maintain control over your portfolio, this is not always possible. While you attempt to hold onto the portfolio and turn the pages, the interviewer may pull it away from you. As he or she turns pages, provide insight about each item. While I do recommend maintaining control of your portfolio, there have been many positive outcomes when employers took possession of it. For example, one interviewer began to look through an applicant’s portfolio and was so intrigued that the rest of the interview consisted of the interviewer asking question after question about items in the portfolio. All of the previous line of questioning was dispensed with in order to concentrate on the portfolio. The candidate got the job.
Panel interviews typically create higher stress than meeting one-on-one. Therefore you want to do everything possible to reduce the stress if you are taking a portfolio with you. Visualize yourself facing four to 12 people, each asking one or two questions. Imagine answering a question by directing them to an item in your portfolio. Some candidates have a portfolio prepared for every member of the panel. Carrie Straub, an author on portfolios and one who has used them for years, prefers to have copies of pages. She passes out the appropriate pages to panel members as she describes what is on each page. Bring extra copies in case you meet more people than originally planned. Both techniques—handing out the entire portfolio, or just the specific pages—will work. Passing out the pages as the example is used, however, provides more control. If you simply pass out the portfolio at the start of the interview, some panel members may leaf through it rather than listen intently to your answers. Candidates who do pass out the entire portfolio have not found this to be a problem; just be aware of the possibility.
PORTFOLIOS HAVE IMPACT
Portfolios definitely have an impact on employers. One manager, seeing a portfolio for the first time, said, “I’m going to create one of these.” Another asked, “Can I keep this for a couple of days? I’d like to show it to the rest of my staff.” Portfolios have advantages beyond the interview. Those who produce portfolios consistently report that they feel more confident after creating a portfolio. Portfolios can be used to keep your managers up to date on your contributions and cause them to appreciate your work more. The examples you’ve read about should get you thinking about what your own portfolio could do for you.
EXCELLENT BOOKS ON CREATING PORTFOLIOS
Because my focus is on how to use a portfolio in an interview, I would direct you to four excellent books on creating portfolios: Portfolio Power and Portfolio Sampler by Martin Kimeldorf (both are e-books that can be downloaded at Amazon.com), Creating Your Skills Portfolio by Carrie Straub, and Creating Your Career Portfolio by Anna Graf Williams and Karen Hall.
While the vast majority of portfolios are of the hard copy type, you should become familiar with the concept of electronic portfolios. An electronic portfolio could be a portfolio on the web or a portfolio on a CD. A web portfolio is very much like an artist’s portfolio online—but the online version is more useful in obtaining interviews, while the physical or CD portfolio is more useful during or after interviews. A physical portfolio, as discussed previously, allows you to graphically share your accomplishments with an interviewer; a CD portfolio could contain the same material but could be left with the interviewer to view at his or her convenience.
A web portfolio is always available for viewing. It is primarily intended to get you interviews. In essence, a web portfolio is your own website (with its own URL, or web address), designed specifically to sell you to employers. Using a web portfolio can result in more interviews, but using a web portfolio during an interview is a little more difficult. If you choose to try, be sure in advance that you will have Internet access during the interview. That usually means taking your own laptop with you. Relying on using the interviewer’s Internet access can be awkward and will probably require the two of you to take turns at the computer. You must also be sure you can get the technology set up quickly. Because of these potential problems, a physical portfolio or a CD portfolio will be easier to use in an interview.
To check out some web portfolios you can visit these sites:
www.workfolio.com/stars/twashington This represents my first attempt at a web portfolio.
www.pritchardschool.com/portfolio At the site you will find an index of the web portfolios of several people. Visit Martin first. Martin is Martin Kimeldorf, the author of several of the best books on creating portfolios. You’ll get an excellent sense of the possibilities offered by a web portfolio. Also check out Todd, Charmaign, and Karen.
To learn more about web portfolios read pages 142-147 in Resume Power.