In today’s job search, it can be tough to stand out amongst the plethora of job seekers applying to the same positions you are interviewing for. One way to stand out from the crowd is by creating a professional portfolio. A professional portfolio is a binder or folder that holds any items of recognition, awards, proof of top-notch skills, etc. There are several reasons why you should consider putting together a portfolio before you begin your job search.
1. Showcase your skills
A professional portfolio can showcase your skills, backing up your resume and interviews. By including awards, rankings, or any recognition that you received from past employers, you are providing proof to a potential employer that you are a top performer.
Perhaps you do not have formal awards to showcase. What about any notes or emails from previous managers stating a job well done? While your portfolio should look professional and neat in appearance, it can include simple things such as a photocopy of a handwritten note from a manager or a printed email of congratulations.
Another item to consider including in your portfolio is a video resume. With the ever growing popularity of technology, video resumes are a great way to visually show off your skills and expertise, while also showing to a potential employer that you are technologically savvy. Including a video resume in your portfolio can be just the ticket that sends your application and interview to the front line of consideration.
2. Stand out from the crowd
While a portfolio or brag book is a popular item in the sales industry, you would be surprised at how many sales reps lack the focus and desire to put together one of these portfolios.
By having a well prepared professional portfolio, whether you are in sales or another industry, you will stand out from the rest. The hiring manager will be impressed with your preparation as well as your ability to demonstrate your skills in a non-traditional way.
3. Just in case…
How many times have you provided references to a potential employer, only to find out the contact information you have for one of your best managers is no longer correct? This is not uncommon and I have seen it delay the hiring process and even eliminate candidates from consideration.
When you have tried everything from Whitepages to Facebook and LinkedIn but still have been unable to track down your previous managers, it can be helpful to provide documentation from that manager.
Keep track of all emails, notes, and performance reviews from your managers that show their satisfaction with your work and skill. Including these items in your professional portfolio can be a make it or break it for you receiving a job offer when your references are not so easy to get in touch with.
Do you have a professional portfolio? What are some of the items that you include in your portfolio to help you stand out from the crowd? Please share your tips in the comments below.