Start putting together a work portfolio now

By admin
09 October 2013

What is a portfolio and why do you need one? We give some advice.

At the moment you’re hard at work for the upcoming exams and you aren’t really thinking about what you’ll do after school or where you’re going to work. But it’s still a good idea to start putting together a portfolio of your work you can send to prospective employers.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of documents that displays the skills, personal attributes and work-related knowledge you’ve acquired through previous work.

Why should I have a portfolio?

A portfolio is a way for employers to see detailed information that won’t appear in your curriculum vitae (CV) or cover letter. It contains proof of what you’ve achieved and shows the progress you’ve made for future employers to look at. Your organisational skills, attention to detail and problem-solving skills can all be included in your portfolio. It could also remind prospective employers about topics they might want to discuss with you in an interview, and you could use it to support the answers you give in an interview.

What can I put in my portfolio?

  • A contents page
  • A professional picture of yourself
  • Your mission and vision statements
  • A summary of your career and goals
  • A traditional CV
  • Proof of your work experience
  • Examples of your work
  • Awards
  • Copies of degrees and/or diplomas
  • Letters of reference

Electronic portfolios

You can create your own webpage to serve as electronic portfolio – handy, since it’s available any time and any place as long as there’s internet access. Employers can then easily go through it before you show up for an interview.

Remember:

  • Make sure you can easily navigate between the different sections of your portfolio. One idea is to use colour to separate the sections.
  • Arrange the information chronologically.
  • Keep your portfolio up to date by regularly adding information to it.
  • Include information that’s applicable to the job opening you’re applying for.
  • Consider using an electronic portfolio.
  • Your portfolio is a reflection of you, so make sure it’s something you can be proud of.
  • This is your chance to show your creativity, so don’t be shy to brag with your good work!
  • Your portfolio will stay with employers and could give you an advantage over other applicants.

-Nordlind Cazimira Fouché

Nordlind is a counselling psychologist from Bellville, Cape Town. This is a reworked version of a workshop she presented at the Career Indaba in Cape Town on 12 and 13 September. Visit her website at http://www.careerandtherapy.wozaonline.co.za/

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