Architects, drafters, artists, designers, photographers, models, and writers, use portfolios to help sell themselves. They often make the mistake of placing too little emphasis on a top-quality resume, assuming the portfolio alone will sell them.

As important as your portfolio is, don’t shortchange yourself. There are lots of talented people out there with outstanding portfolios. Taking the time to develop an equally compelling resume will make an important difference to your job hunting success. Your resume can reveal qualities and background that may not be apparent from the portfolio alone. A portfolio can express your technical or creative ability, but a resume reveals where you’ve been and how you developed your ability. In fact, without an effective resume you might not get the opportunity to show that fantastic portfolio you so painstakingly assembled.

Consider reproducing two or three samples of your work on 8½” x 11" paper to enclose with your resume or hand off to employers when you meet them. The benefit of this is to leave a visual reminder of your work for when the employer reviews applicants’ materials in the future. Writers can do the same with clippings.

While we normally recommend minimal use of graphics in resumes, here’s a case for an exception. Those in the visual arts can use the resume as a sample of their creativity and proficiency. Of course, the danger, as usual, is in obscuring the message in the medium.

Bobbie’s resume adds a personal touch the portfolio itself could not provide. We see she is organized and responsible with a wide range of communication and customer service skills. She comes across as a real person, not just a mix of artistic abilities.

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