For talents in engineering and design-related fields, "portfolios" are usually requested during job application process. There have already been plenty of relevant online resources like tutorials and templates.
However, more companies now require job applicants to provide "portfolios" for interviewers as references, and the importance of portfolios is no longer limited to the fields mentioned above. Nowadays, for positions like content writing, marketing & planning, and project coordinator, “portfolio” is commonly listed in job description as application requirement or a “plus”.
Why is portfolio so important?
Portfolio can assist interviewers to look at your work in a short period of time, Job applicants can select the most suitable works to present according to the company’s culture, and enhance the chance of getting hired. A good portfolio can help employers easily understand a candidate’s abilities and make positive impression on the interviewers.
Here are 3 basic but crucial tips for building a solid portfolio resume to land your dream job.
1. Make sure the links work
The most important thing in preparing a portfolio is to showcase your work to the potential employers. So, it is essential to ensure that every link in the portfolio is valid and the format is consistent on all devices.
Portfolios can be included in resumes, or presented as an independent document. Like CakeResume’s online resume editor, it enables users to attach files in resumes such as content and proposals via hyperlinks, which keeps the layout of the resume neat and clean. Also, it is suggested to present your portfolios in pdf format, and to make sure permission setting is correct.
In addition, you can also utilize CakeResume to manage and maintain your portfolio. Users can upload their portfolio, and add title, description and URL to it. You can also connect your portfolio with your online resume, which increases its visibility. Companies can review your portfolio while screening resumes. By making the most of portfolios, your past projects (e.g. design or programming related) can allow companies to have a clear understanding of your expertise and experience.
2. Select works/ projects that would interest the companies
No matter you are a fresh graduate or an experienced job seeker, you must go through the phrase of “selecting works” when preparing portfolios. However, building a portfolio is just like building a resume. A perfect resume does not need to include too many details about your personal backgrounds and education history. By the same token, you don’t need to show all of your previous works. It is only necessary to include the most relevant and impressive works in your portfolio.
What kind of portfolio can showcase you unique characteristics? Is there any change in creative thinking among your works? Is there any work suitable to be presented the company?
For non-design industries, representative content can be included based on the company’s requirement. For example, while applying for a content-marketing position, you can show your representative articles; while applying for a marketing-planning position, you can include marketing proposals in your portfolio. For engineers, you can include projects you’ve worked on, and etc..
After considering those points mentioned above, you can select the most representative and important works to put in your portfolio. If there are different themes among your works, it is recommended to limit the number of the works to 3 when it comes to the same theme and style. Also keep in mind to present your work in a reverse chronological order, and only includes the ones that are created within the past 3 to 5 years. If the interviewer can understand your ability in certain aspect by reviewing three of your works, why not leave the space for other content, and keep the portfolio simple and precise.
If you really want to present other works, it is suggested to utilize “Call to Action” (CTA). By including the link to the website of your work on the last page, interviewers who are interested in you can have more information to refer to.
Do you think that your portfolio is ready after putting together all of your works and polishing the layout a bit? Definitely not! It is necessary to include names and description of your works. In addition to introducing the background of the works, you also have to explain the following 3 things to the interviewer: what parts you were responsible for, what problems the project solved, and what the final result is.
3. Prepare a portfolio for interview
When you receive the invitation for interview, remember this is not the end of your journey with the portfolio. A specially-designed portfolio for interview can impress the interviewers. Regarding portfolios for job interview, remember to focus on the works that you are confident with and fit the company’s needs.
If you are an engineer, bringing your laptop to demonstrate your work is the best way. For other industries, your portfolio for interview can be presented in papers. Print one or two copies and hand it to interviewers during interview. Resumes and portfolios for interview should be the most precise version, as interviewers would not spend much time reading them in front of you.
Simply prepare two to three works to show (It can even be an article, proposal or project especially prepared for the company!). If interviewers would like to know more, you can turn on your laptop and show them. The benefit of portfolio in paper version is that you can leave it to interviewers, which would strengthen their impression on you.