Many professions require a portfolio of previous work in order to get the position. When you send a portfolio to an employer, you are basically packaging yourself up in a binder and sending yourself to analyzed and judged. If your potential employer doesn’t like the packaged up version of you, they aren’t going to be likely to give you a chance in the interviewing office. Applicants can talk and talk about how good they think they are, but it takes a portfolio to back up words with evidence.
Here are a few ideas for making yourself more appealing to your dream employer.
Have a backup copy
You never know when you’re going to get your portfolio back. Never send out your only copy of all of your work. Have at least one (if not several) backups just in case the worst case scenario becomes reality.
Make sure that you have digital copies of everything that you hope to use in your resume. This goes to the backup copy policy. This may mean scanning documents into your computer. Our world is experiencing a dramatic digital trend. Some people predict that within 10 years we will have become a virtually paperless society. Keeping your portfolio up-to-date is a good way of ensuring that you yourself stay up-to-date with current trends.
Keep a copy of everything
Make sure that you make a copy of everything you produce for college and each of your jobs. This is especially important in college. You never know when that article you write for your sophomore English class will turn into a portfolio piece. Don’t be afraid to keep editing and improving upon projects that you’ve already completed.
The work that you do as a paid employee of a company or other organization legally belongs to them. Be sure that you get permission (preferably in writing) prior to using any materials that may contain sensitive information.
Clearly identify portfolio pieces
Make sure that with each portfolio piece, you explain the context within which it was used. Your role in each piece should also be clear. For example, in a brochure, you should explain who you made it for, the need that it was addressing, and your part in its creation—did you take the pictures, write the text, design the layout or do it all?
Very little is more embarrassing than a typo in a portfolio. If you can’t get your spelling right in the piece upon which your employment hinges, then how can an employer expect you to get your job right several months into the job after it becomes a boring routine?
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