Job Search Strategy: Creating an Online Career Portfolio

4 May


Career portfolios are helpful in the job search process.

Career portfolios are helpful in the job search process.


Quote of the Day:  “A master can tell you what he or she expects of you.  A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.”….Patricia Neal, Actress  

Many years ago, a career portfolio was used by such professionals as architects, artists, teachers, and writers, to provide prospective employers or clients with a sample of their work.  Today, the career portfolio has gained popularity amongst job seekers of all kinds; simply in part, because it provides prospective hiring managers with complete and accurate, tangible documentation of an applicant’s skills, experience, and abilities.  

When meeting with a hiring manager for a face to face meeting or interview, it can be very valuable to bring a physical portfolio of such collected work.  On the other hand, an online career portfolio can be easily submitted to prospective employers out of the gate, and enable the hiring authority to thoroughly preview a candidate before the meeting.  This can save both the applicant and employer time and money in the consideration process.  

Should an individual choose to create both an online and physical career portfolio, it is important to know which items are critical to include.  A physical portfolio should be compiled in a three-ring binder, preferably with a clear cover in which the person can insert a customized cover, with their name and contact information.  Job seekers can sign up to create their own free online career portfolio.  

Here is a list of items every job seeker should attempt to include in either their tangible or online career portfolio:  

1.  A perfected resume.  

Even though many applicants apply for positions via company websites, it is still essential to include a traditional resume in the portfolio.   

2.  A one page career summary with short and long-term goals.  

This is the document that sums up where an individual has been, and where they hope to go professionally.  This should not be a regurgitation of the resume, but rather, a well-written synopsis.  

3.  Include a personal mission statement.  

Just as all companies have a vision or mission for their company, it is critical that each individual create a personal mission statement.  This is one further means of solidifying a quality business relationship with prospective employers.  

4.  List of Accomplishments.  

This allows the job seeker to provide further evidence of why he or she is the right candidate for a particular position.  Accomplishments should be relevant to the actual position being applied for, and should avoid including achievements that are too far in the past.  For example, it would not be helpful for a Certified Public Accountant candidate to include the fact they served as President of their high school class in 1966.   

5.  Awards.  

Job seekers who have been rewarded for past behavior and performance with former companies should include evidence of their honors in this section of the portfolio.  

6.  Research and Published Works.  

As an individual works within a particular industry over a span of years, they will likely perform specific research and publish their work on some level.  Professional articles published in an industry trade-magazine are an excellent example of this.  If a candidate has published a book, or is a contributor for any publication, they should include this information in their career portfolio.  

7.  Testimonials.  

Testimonials are essentially letters of recommendation for a service performed for an individual or company.  The longer a candidate works in a particular field, the more testimonials an individual should have.  

8.  Work Samples.  

Depending on the job in which the person is applying, he or she may have samples of their work they can include in the career portfolio.  Always attempt to use multi-media formats, such as CD’s, DVD’s, and audio when possible.  It is acceptable to include additional items such as sales brochures, reports, and presentations.  

9.  Don’t forget a cover letter.  

It goes without saying, a cover letter is a job seeker’s opportunity to personally connect with the hiring manager who will be reviewing the career portfolio.  Make sure to customize it, and always attempt to find out the hiring manager’s first and last name, so this information can be utilized in the document.  

10. Research obtained about the target company.  

Many job seekers do not take the time to research prospective employers prior to making application to work for them.  This is not an example of effectively managing a career.  Choosing to work with any organization should be a deliberate decision on the part of both parties.  As such, it is essential to include the research in the physical career portfolio.   

Creating and maintaining a career portfolio, whether online or one that can be physically handed to a hiring manager is quickly becoming a standard of excellence in the tight job market.  


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