Having a portfolio for an interview distinguishes you from other applicants as it renders pictorial evidence of job done, qualifications, and accomplishments in the simplest terms. This goes on to save you the stress of having to say and explain every bit of your professional life.
Most job seekers simply bring a copy of their resume and CV into the interview session hoping to explain each item on them. Imagine the impression you’d make if you came in with a file that showcases a collection of your work, qualifications, awards, and additional documents.
In this post, we’ll give you key tips on how to use portfolios for interviews. Before we go on to define what an interview portfolio is, let’s take a quick look at the table of contents below.
What Is An Interview Portfolio?
A portfolio for interviews is a collection of your best-completed work that shows how you’ve used your relevant skills, education, training, experience, and accomplishments. You have the option of displaying your portfolio as a website, PowerPoint presentation, or a collection of printed documents.
For instance, people working in creative jobs such as writers and designers, developers can include samples of their published articles or designs. On the other hand, someone working in a bank or any other corporation may create a portfolio that includes successfully developed and implemented annual reports that highlight how they contributed to achieving these results.
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Why Do I Need A Portfolio For Interviews?
By having your portfolio ready for an interview, you stand the chance to sell yourself just by simply highlighting your previous completed works. It affords you the opportunity to have proof of all your claims. It gives you the chance to own the interview session. See the 10 Best Answers To ” What are You Passionate About?” Question In An Interview
Here are some benefits of having a portfolio for interview:
#1 It’s handy
Building a portfolio saves you the time of explaining how you are a perfect fit for the job simply by highlighting your previous works. This way, you don’t have to soak your time studying your skills, knowledge, etc.
#2 It builds confidence
A portfolio can help dispel any doubts about who you are, what you have done, and what you can do by supplying all of the photos, stats, reports, awards, and details needed to back up your claims. Testimonials from previous managers, supervisors, clients, or even community organizations are very valuable because it’s always easy for someone to trust you when there are so many positive attestations.
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3. Makes you feel more prepared
Bringing a portfolio with you to an interview makes it easy to remember specific details about your skills, experiences, and professional strengths. This way, you can easily refer to your portfolio when the interviewer asks for your qualifications.
4. Presents actual examples of work
A portfolio is a document that presents the actual examples of your work. They don’t just represent the skillsets you have, they show the works accomplished. After the interview session, the hiring manager can also refer to your portfolio for further clarifications and decisions.
5. Shows how organized you are
The process of organizing a portfolio and arranging your professional details, experiences, and accomplishments demonstrates your organizational skills and improves your interviewing skills.
6. It reduce stress
It can be challenging to remember all the important details or to perfect your answers during the interview session; however, with a portfolio in hand, you’ll basically have a cheat sheet with you. This gives you access to all the needed facts, stats, and examples. This way, you get to display your credentials in the best possible manner no matter how timid or excited you are.
7. It makes you stand out from the competition
When you show up for an interview session with your portfolio, it shows that you are organized and serious about the job. Also, it affords you the opportunity to emphasize your areas of strength rather than relying solely on your CV and cover letter. Generally, a portfolio makes you stand out.
What Do Employers Look Out For In Portfolios For Interviews?
Most hiring managers demand a portfolio during an interview session, rather than watching you present it to them. This saves them time and also gives you a better opportunity to sell yourself to the best of your ability.
Building an interview portfolio shows the employee how serious you are, the nature of the previous jobs completed, and work experiences. It goes further to show enthusiasm for the position.
What Makes Up A Portfolio For Interview?
An effective interview portfolio should consist of samples of your work, works in progress, certifications, awards, and other things that demonstrate your professional experiences and qualifications. Whether you are creating a portfolio in the form of a website, presentation, or hardcopy document, here are steps for creating an effective portfolio:
- Commence with an introduction
- State your professional background
- Use the STAR method
- Include your accomplishments
- Mention your goals
- Conclude with the most critical points
- Find the best medium to create your portfolio
- Keep working on your portfolio
- Make it easy to read
- Make sure everything is working
1. Start with an introduction
The introduction of your portfolio should best explain your relevant skills, unique credentials, and other qualifications in just two sentences. This goes further to explain why you are the ideal candidate for the job in the simplest words.
2. Include your professional background
After the introductory sentences, the next lines should briefly explain your professional background. This should be a visible timeline of your education, training, and career. Also, include the prominent accomplishments from each stage of your professional career to show the employer how you have progressed.
An efficient and creative way to create this section is to include an infographic with a timeline of your career.
3. Use the STAR method
Oftentimes, hiring managers use behavioral interview questions to understand how the interviewee has handled situations in the past.
For instance, the interviewer may ask how you solve conflicts within your team. These questions can sometimes be tough to answer, especially when having to remember past events during an interview. To navigate the hiccups, you can prepare for these questions by using the STAR method and including specific examples in your portfolio. STAR stands for:
- Situation: Recall the situation you were in.
- Task: Describe the task you had to do.
- Action: Outline the action you took.
- Result: Describe the results you achieved.
Include at least three incidents and make sure you highlight both the hard and soft skills used to overcome these challenges. You can also use visuals for an easier read.
4. Include your accomplishments
At this point, you are expected to list all your awards, recommendations, and other accomplishments. You can also include references from previous employers or clients who can attest to your qualification and personality.
If you have earned any awards or obtained certifications, make sure to include copies of these documents.
5. State your goals
In this part of your portfolio, carefully describe your professional goals for the next few years. You can use this section to restate how much you want the job by explaining how it will positively affect your overall career goals and how your skills and experiences would be useful to the organization.
An excellent way to do this is by examining and identifying any challenges the organization may be facing or general industry challenges and how you plan to overcome them if offered the position.
6. Conclude with the most critical points
At the concluding part of the portfolio, you can draft a summary that highlights the most important details about you. Including your contact information, top qualifications, and why you believe you’re the strongest candidate for the job will also be helpful.
7. Find the best medium to create your portfolio
After drafting your portfolio for job interview, the next step to take is to decide on a medium that you will use to create it. For instance, a web designer may create a website to use as a portfolio to show their design skills and capabilities. On the other hand, a copywriter may use a platform that allows them to include links to their published articles. Use the platform that serves you best to showcase your work.
8. Make your portfolios for interviews easy to read
Your portfolio should be easy to read and understand. While it’s an excellent idea to be creative when designing your portfolio, it’s also important you make it void of ambiguity. Use simple, easy-to-read fonts and high-quality images.
9. Ensure everything is functional
Lastly, if you are using a website or online platform to create your portfolio, ensure you check regularly to confirm that it is well structured. Make sure your links aren’t broken, images and other files are working, and that all information is current and up to date.
How Can I Build A Professional Portfolio?
Now we’ve listed the step-by-step process of creating an efficient portfolio for interviews, here’s how you can build a professional portfolio.
#1 Collect examples of your work
Collecting examples of your work is the first step in creating a professional portfolio. These examples could include evaluations, reports, surveys, specific materials you created for a college course or a previous employer, graphs, press releases, artwork, examples of spreadsheets, and so on, that you created to complete specific projects or improve the flow of work.
If you are currently completing an internship, include some of the work you are currently doing. The information you gather to include in your portfolio is primarily determined by the type of job you are seeking. If you are interested in graphic design or art, you should create a portfolio that includes specific examples of your artistic work.
#2 Include photos of yourself working
If you have pictures of yourself working on specific projects, internships, or community service, you can include them. This solely depends on the type of job you are vying for.
Pictures they say speak louder than voice. If you don’t have relevant pictures, you can start now to take relevant pictures that will fit well into your portfolio.
#3 Include details About Prestigious and Successful Companies You’ve Worked With
If you have previously worked for prestigious and successful companies, be sure to include information about them – such as new products, annual reports, brochures, press releases, and newsletters to further impress the employer by them just knowing that you played a part in helping the company achieve success.
#4 Include Any Correspondence You Have Received in the Past
Any correspondence that you have gotten in the past from teachers, professors, previous employers describing your hard work and professionalism should definitely be included as part of your portfolio. Having professionals in the field recommend the outstanding work you contributed to any project can make a real positive impact on any employer.
Also include an example of an excellent piece of work (college paper, artwork, lesson plan) so they can actually see it and evaluate it for themselves.
#5 Demonstrate Your Skills
If your area of expertise includes computer technology, writing, etc., where you can demonstrate your skills through the work you’ve completed online, ensure you include the links to showcase the work you have done. Some students will include a DVD or CD attached to a plastic sleeve on the front or back cover of the portfolio.
#6 Create Clear Concise Documents That Are Organized
Lastly, if you want your portfolio to look professional, create a clear, concise document that is organized. This goes on to show the hiring manager how serious you are about the job. Be sure to always keep copies of your work and make sure that you keep updating your portfolio so that some of the examples of your work are recent which can also illustrate the growth you’ve made over the years.
This is something you should do even after you’ve gotten the job. You may find yourself in the job market again in the future, and the last thing you want is to have an outdated portfolio that must be recreated from scratch.
FAQs On Portfolio For Interview
A portfolio is a collection of your best-completed work that shows how you’ve used your relevant skills, education, training, experience, and accomplishments.
By having your portfolio ready for an interview, you stand the chance to sell yourself just by simply highlighting your previous completed works. It affords you the opportunity to have proof of all your claims. It gives you the chance to own the interview session.
You can use a career portfolio, job portfolio, or professional portfolio. It is a display of a comprehensive collection of your best work to potential employers.
Your portfolio should be flexible as it evolves with the change in your career. When you obtain a new skill, achieve an award or earn a certificate, ensure you add these to your portfolio as it accurately reflects your current professional stage.