A portfolio is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition during an interview. In fact, one of my clients told me that the reason he was hired was because of his portfolio. It wasn’t just the fact that he brought one with him to the interview (and that he was the only candidate who did so); it was the fact that he had laid out his skills and achievements in such a clear, organized, and impactful manner, it totally wowed the interview panel.
Even if you are not in a job search, it is a good idea gather all of your awards, achievements, etc. into one place, so that if the time ever comes when you need a portfolio, all of the information will be there. Here are some ideas for sections:
- Resume — Begin your portfolio by having your resume in the first section.
- Education/Trainings — Include copies of your diploma, certificates, etc.
- Recommendation Letters — Include copies of recommendation letters. You can also create a page and title it “LinkedIn Recommendations” and then copy and paste your LinkedIn recommendations on a page.
- Awards — This section should only include copies of related awards.
- Accomplishments — What do you feel proud about accomplishing in your career? Were you promoted in a relatively short time? Did you slash expenses? Boost revenue? Streamline procedures? Create a page entitled “Accomplishments.” and list the achievements. (Hint: charts and bar graphs can produce an even stronger impact. For example, if your sales have continually increased in the past year, a chart/graph is a great visual tool to showcase this progression.)
- Thank Yous — Have you received thank yous or congratulatory emails over the years? Create another section of thank yous.
- Projects/Examples — This section will vary depending on your occupation, but here are some ideas: List projects with short descriptions. If you’ve created forms, newsletters, etc., add these to your portfolio. Maybe you are a writer. Include copies of your writings, blog, etc.
- Volunteer Activities / Community Involvement — Did you receive a certificate of appreciation? If so, include it. If not, create your own page by listing the organization, your volunteer activity, date, and your duties.
- Presentations / Public Speaking — What groups have you presented to? What was the topic/title? What dates were these public speaking events.
While these are just some ideas that can be included in a portfolio, the important thing to remember is that each career professional has a unique background. Think about what a hiring manager would be interested in seeing, and then, go ahead and create a portfolio that will “wow” them!
Are you managing your career like you would manage a business? Throughout the years as I’ve worked with clients, I’ve often heard, “Oh, I wish I have would have known …” Or, “I wish I would have done this earlier.”
The following self-test will help you bring awareness as to what areas you need to improve upon (if any) in managing your career:
- Have you updated your resume in the past year?
- Do you keep track of major accomplishments/projects?
- Do you keep copies of your performance reviews (if applicable)?
- Do you use your LinkedIn account on a regular basis?
- Are you a member of a professional organization?
- In the past year, have you engaged in professional development activities (books, seminars, trainings, etc.)?
- Do you keep copies of your training/workshop certificates?
- Do you keep copies of thank yous, congratulatory emails, etc.?
- Do you keep in contact with former coworkers/colleagues (emails, social media, coffee, etc.)?
- Do you participate in activities that will help you increase your network of connections (volunteering, local clubs/groups, social media)?
Congrats to all of the questions you answered “Yes.” If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, then you’ve found an area which you can improve upon in managing your career.
You’ve been waiting a long time for a career advancement, and after some unsuccessful attempts to move up-the-ladder with your current company, you were just offered a great opportunity with a new company; a position with more responsibility, higher salary, and a better retirement package. Now the dilemma. You gave your two-weeks’ notice and a couple days later your boss approaches you with a counter offer, and this counter offer is a lot more attractive than the new position you were offered.
The above scenario has happened to countless of people, and if it happens to you, here are a few things you may want to consider before you make your decision.
- Most people leave a position because they are unhappy about some things. Unfortunately, if you decide to stay, some of these “things” may still be in place.
- Once you give your notice, you may be perceived as a “not-so-loyal” employee. This could affect you in the future if there are ever layoffs in your company. In addition, if there is an opportunity for a promotion, you may not be considered. Further, if there is a project with highly sensitive information, would they be more inclined to let somebody else work on it?
- As far as the other company is concerned (the company where you accepted your new job), rescinding a job offer once you’ve accepted is not viewed favorably with companies. Doing so may hinder any future chances of ever working for the company.
On the flip side, some people have accepted counter offers and have been happy with their decisions, so it’s important to take your time in making the decision. Each person has a unique situation, so before making any decision, it’s important to consider all the pros and cons.