By Katrina Brittingham
There is a powerful tool that only a handful of candidates utilize during an interview. That is the career portfolio. Many people think that portfolios are only for people who are in the photography industry. However, these tools are useful for interviewees at all levels of their career and in just about any industry. This booklet showcases education, skills/accomplishments, volunteer work, and professional memberships.
Your career portfolio will also help you organize your thoughts during the interview. It provides a polished presentation to the hiring manager, and shows him/her that you took time and effort preparing for your interview. A standard portfolio will be about 20 pages and have:
- A table of contents
- A copy of your resume (which you should bring to the interview as a standard practice)
- A break-down of experience pertaining to the position
- Education degrees/certifications or transcripts (if any)
- Accomplishments or awards (professional and/or academic)
- Samples of your work (professional or academic)
- A 30/60/90 day work plan.
A career portfolio will set you apart from the crowd as most candidates will not have a presentation such as this in the interview. It is a package that you leave with the hiring manager so they can see your presentation as they review their notes of your interview. It is also a guide for you to refer back to during the interview in order to refresh your memory of details that may be forgotten, if left to memory.
The 30/60/90 day plan shows the hiring that you are serious about becoming a part of the team and will give him/her a picture of how you will use your skills, education and experience to help the organization/department reach its goals. I recommend that you use the 30/60/90 plan during your interview with the management team only. The talent acquisition specialist or the recruiter will not have as much knowledge of the inner workings of the department so the presentation will not be as impressive to him/her. The rest of the career portfolio would be useful though.
Putting together a career portfolio will take a little bit of time and effort, but will make a big difference during the interview. I have used career portfolios while I was working in the corporate world, and I landed the jobs I wanted. When I inquired about what made me the best candidate (after I was safely in the positions), I was informed that the interviewers were impressed by my presentation and where able that he/she was able to picture me in the position.
Katrina Brittingham is the Owner and Founder of VentureReady LLC– Interview Readiness Coaching. Her skills and areas of expertise include resume writing, career coaching, creating dynamic career portfolios, cover and thank you letters