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Your Portfolio: A Stepping Stone to Your Dream Job

Friday, January 25, 2013

When looking for a new job, your portfolio could be the key that opens the doors to success. The following guide can help you create a stunning portfolio that highlights your expertise while capturing a potential employer’s attention at the same time.

The idea of portfolios originally came from artists who needed to show their work. Soon after, graphic designers started to create electronic portfolios to showcase their work via the Internet. Students then seized the idea to present their work, their achievements and, in some cases, their favorite pastimes.

You can hardly define a portfolio by the hodgepodge of your achievements. The design of a portfolio requires thought and clearly defined objectives before you even start to build it. Therefore, it’s important, first and foremost, to take stock of the knowledge and skills you have developed during your studies or career.

A portfolio is, by definition, a set of pieces of creative work assembled to display a person’s skills. We could say that it is an organized storage space. It’s primarily used to provide evidence of what a person can do. While a resume focuses on training and experience, a portfolio usually focuses on skills. Unlike a resume which is most often created to respond to a specific need like a job offer, a portfolio generally develops over time.

Shaping is a very important element to consider when building a portfolio because it reflects your personality. Showing originality is a good thing but if the portfolio is meant to be sent to an employer, you should not overdo it. A portfolio may contain written materials (texts, graphics, prints, copies of assessments), photographs, drawings, images or multimedia elements. As for its appearance, the possibilities are endless: paper, binder, folder, box, briefcase, website, blog, PowerPoint presentation, animation, video, etc. There are no limits to your imagination!

As the portfolio is developed, it may need a little tweaking if you intend to submit it to a potential employer to properly showcase the skills related to the job you are applying for. You may not want to send the exact portfolio to different employers if the jobs are different, and you may not want to include everything you have either. As a result, this is what you should always consider before sending your portfolio to an employer:

  • Do a search on the employer and the desired position by identifying the most important skills;
  • Gather the documents relevant to this position from all the ones you have in your portfolio;
  • Organize all the relevant documents in a structured way, in the appropriate medium, so that the employer has easy access;
  • Evaluate your portfolio and do not hesitate to ask your friends and family for advice.
It goes without saying that the portfolio is a tool that is most commonly used in some areas, such as design, for example. CDI College considers that having a portfolio that properly showcases your strengths is essential if you want to start a career in this field. That’s why all Art and Design programs include courses on the development and presentation of a professional looking portfolio. For more information on Art and Design programs or other career training programs at CDI College, fill out the form on the right.
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