Most everyone is familiar with the importance of crafting a good resume, writing an appealing cover letter, and getting through the big interview successfully; however, an additional tool to add to one’s career development toolbox is the career portfolio. What is a career portfolio? A traditional career portfolio showcases an individual’s skills in a certain field through a succinct, organized binder or folder. With the rise of the digital age, online portfolios are becoming popular – as they are more accessible and convenient.
Why would one choose to create a career portfolio? To answer this question, Darren Noble, Director of Career Services at Crown College, chimed in, “Many employers regularly utilize LinkedIn to network, vet applicants, and hire. So, if a student isn’t leveraging LinkedIn (or perhaps is in a field such as graphic design, art, or music) it’s an absolute must to have some sort of online presence to house academic/work samples, pictures, videos, and other relevant documents during the job/internship search process. It’s really easy to have both–a job seeker is then part of the world’s largest professional network and is able to include a portfolio link in their profile.”
There are several benefits of having a career portfolio. One benefit is that it can set an individual apart from other candidates in the interview process. Also, a portfolio shows a potential employer tangible proof of the skills and abilities listed in a resume or cover letter. An additional benefit of having a portfolio, especially an online portfolio, is that it can be easily tweaked and edited based on new experiences or jobs.
There are many options available for creating online career portfolios. Fortunately, Crown College students can build an online portfolio on the Crown Career Network website (collegecentral.com/crown) by creating or logging into their student account. After logging into one’s account, select the “My Career Portfolio” tab on the left-hand side of the website and then select “Create a Career Portfolio”. There are several career portfolio templates to choose from: General (e.g. Business, Nursing, Education, and Communication), Art & Design, Theater, Dance, and Music. Clicking on the plus sign reveals a drop-down menu – which lists the majors that particular career portfolio is geared toward, provides a few samples of completed portfolios, and lists the accepted uploading formats. After choosing a specific career portfolio style, click the green “Create” button and begin adding information and documents. A helpful feature of using this particular resource is that one’s portfolio can be updated even after graduation.
Once a career portfolio is created, then it is ready to be shared with potential employers. One way to share an online portfolio is to post the URL link on social media platforms: such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a personal blog, or even Google +. An individual can also include the URL link in their resume or cover letter. In preparation for an interview, one should rehearse talking points that reference their portfolio and practice interviewing techniques with a colleague. Having a comprehensive career portfolio will support one’s resume and validate the statements made in a cover letter by showing tangible evidence. This in turn will set one apart from other candidates and give them the best possible chance to get called in for an interview or to receive the job offer.
Kaylyn Strange in an intern in the Office of Career Services. She is a Communication major graduating in 2017.