Empower Your Job Search with a Portfolio

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job search portfolioAction speaks louder than words.

This is actually a worn-out statement we hear over and over again. Workplace and offices never run out of this so as schools and academic institutions. Even in our day-to-day activities, we stumble every now and then with individuals who keeps on reminding us that, indeed, our actions pay more than mere utterance of words.

What about in situations wherein we are required to do the “talking” and barely do the “moving?” Take a job interview as an example. How can this “action versus words” thing works in an actual interview process? Do you have to sell stuffs in front of your interviewer just to convince him or her that you have the certain selling prowess? Or do you need to demonstrate your “customer service skills” by volunteering to answer some of his incoming phone calls? While all of these things might seem ridiculous at first; nonetheless, the “action speaks louder than words” stuff is still applicable during job interviews. The “action” may not be the literal one that you expect, but the documentation of THAT action will be enough to justify your claims. So how do you present documented evidences of your action? Simple. Use a portfolio during your job interview.

There are a lot of discussions and resources online as well as in libraries about this portable collection of materials. So what is this job search portfolio anyway?

A portfolio backs up the claims that you have made in your resume. In short, resumes are summaries, while portfolios are work compilations that exhibit your skills and other experiences. In anyway, a portfolio speaks more than what you actually “feed” to your interviewer. Remember, that as humans, we tend to believe and focus more on “tangible” or visible items. By showing a hiring manager the documented results of your action, you are actually making yourself more memorable and credible for your claims; thus, eliminating any suspicion of exaggeration or falsification. Aside from being used during interviews, it can also be kept as an advancement tool that can be highly useful during annual evaluations and promotions.

Reaping benefits from having a job search portfolio

Aside from being a tangible show book or “brag book” during interviews, portfolios possess many advantages than one could ever imagine. For one, more and more individuals are getting acquainted with the uses and purposes of having a portfolio. Artists, writers, and designers were the few individuals who took pride with their portfolios back then. Nowadays, professionals in the human services, sciences, humanities, and business are starting to value and pay more attention with their achievements and started to create education and achievement portfolios for future evaluations and promotions.

Moreover, portfolios also serve as a “marking” that exhibit how well suited an individual is for a certain job or promotion. Since one cannot create a commendable portfolio without a good grasp of the requirements of the position, a hiring manager can immediately note whether an applicant is suitable or not for the position.

In addition, job search portfolios also help you prepare for your interview. How? The mere preparation, compilation, and organization of portfolio materials help you remember your participation on certain projects and review your past achievements and accomplishments. It also refreshes one’s memories about past situations and brings clarity to your career goals.

The preparation of a portfolio doesn’t only exhibit one’s skills and proficiency but it also demonstrates the applicant’s seriousness, enthusiasm, professionalism, and creativity. A presentable and commendable portfolio can certainly create a competitive edge against other applicants in the field.

Using a portfolio during interviews

After creating a well-made portfolio, you can now use it during job and promotion interviews. You can use your portfolio in two ways. One is up-front, where in you introduce your portfolio as you and the employer make introductions.

Another is the “wait and see” where the applicant “waits” for any circumstance or opportunity to refer to the portfolio. For instance, a hiring manager asks you to describe a lecture that you have provided during a certain occasion. While discussing the scope of your lecture, you can mention that you have brought a sample of the handouts that you have provided your audience.

While the “wait and see” method can be a good way of keeping the conversation running, it is also a dangerous way of introducing your portfolio. Since you literally “wait” for the opportunity, there is a probability that your “opportunity” will slip off and that you will leave the interview without demonstrating your work. With that, it is much better to approach the presentation of your portfolio up-front and know whether or not the employer is interested in seeing the portfolio or not.

Also, when going for interviews, always make sure that you have copies of your documents. There is a possibility that during interviews, employers may request you to leave your job search portfolio with them. Be reminded “not to leave original copies” with the interviewer. Thus, having some high-quality copies of your documents is important. You can also leave a copy of your CD portfolio or digital portfolio if you have any.

Taking time to create a job search portfolio really pays off especially if you’re able to secure the confidence and trust of your prospective employer. Always remember to keep your job search portfolio updated and polished. Therefore, it is expected that your portfolio is organized, accurate, and polished – an image that hiring managers look for in a potential employee.


Related Article: Career Portfolios and Extracurricular Activities in Resume

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