Bringing a well-polished portfolio for interviews can impress your hiring manager. The portfolio can give potential employers a detailed look at your capabilities and qualifications, and provide them with samples of your work. In this article, you’ll learn what an interviewer portfolio is, why you should have one, what to include and how to create a portfolio for the next interview that gets the job.
A portfolio for interviews is a collection of your best completed work and shows how you have applied relevant skills, education, training, experience, and accomplishments. You can choose to present your portfolio as a website, PowerPoint presentation, or choose printed documents.
For example, people working in creative jobs such as writers and designers may include samples of their published articles or designs. On the other hand, a bank manager may create a portfolio that includes successfully developed and executed annual reports that highlight how they contribute to achieving these results.
What should be included in a portfolio for an interviews?
The interview portfolio consists of six main parts: an introduction, professional background summary, STAR behavioral examples, awards and recommendations, sample solutions, and a conclusion page. While the content will be similar to what is on your resume, the portfolio takes it a step further to “show and tell” your skills with specific examples. Your goal is to get the hiring manager to imagine that you are solving problems for him.
One must be prepared. Your professional appearance and neatly organized profile may not be sufficient. You will need to plan ways to effectively handle questions and incorporate the portfolio into your interview responses. This enables you to present yourself as an effective communicator who can provide specific and tangible documentation of your educational capabilities.
What do employers look for in a portfolio?
Most interviewees prefer to refer to the portfolio during the interview, rather than just presenting it to them for perusal. This saves them time. Most importantly, it shows them how good your communication is. Some interlocutors may ask you to leave your wallet with them so that they can later examine it on their own. Still others may not be familiar with the wallet and will not be tempted to initiate a discussion about your portfolio. No matter what position you find yourself in, you can use your wallet to your advantage during the interview – if you are properly prepared.
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Building an interview portfolio accomplishes three things for you that can surpass other candidates. First, it shows that you are serious, that you are doing your homework before the interview, and that you do not take the process lightly. You are in it to win. This goes a long way with both HR managers and hiring managers because they not only want to see that you want a job, but you also want that job. Portfolio shows enthusiasm for the position. Since employee turnover is expensive, authorities wanting to correct it the first time – meeting with someone who is clearly passionate about the opportunity can make a huge difference.
How would you use a portfolio in a job interview?
Besides showing your enthusiasm, your portfolio prepares you for the interview better than any other method out there. Here’s the thing: To a recruiter, it’s like a great showcase of your skills and accomplishments, but to you – it’s a cheat sheet! Feeling nervous and forgetting to say something impressive, or worse, saying something that doesn’t look as good as it was in your head is normal.
Spending some time writing some examples of your brilliance early on will help you make a successful interview. On top of all that, this physical bundle is a tangible reminder of your talents. You’re giving yourself an edge because the hiring manager can now quickly return to your skills and accomplishments.
What to put in a professional portfolios for interview
The most important items to put in your professional portfolio are examples of your work. The types of examples you choose will depend on the industry in which you are working. They can include published articles, press releases, designs, artwork or creative ads, reports, surveys, project plans, assessments, spreadsheets, lesson plans for teaching, and more. You must choose the items that best demonstrate your skill and range of expertise.
You can also include information about employers you have worked with in the past, especially if you have worked for any known organizations. And if you’ve earned any accolades or awards for your work, you should write them in your wallet as well.
Depending on the job interview you attend, you may be expected to bring a job sample kit with you. This is usually the case for creative jobs or jobs that involve sales, as candidates are often asked to provide evidence of their work accomplishments, sales numbers, samples of creative work, etc., to prove to the interviewers that they are “talented” as they say. A well-developed professional portfolio can also show whether candidates’ work can properly convey the company’s voice and represent their image.
Knowing how to put together a job portfolio is essential if you are interviewing for a creative job. You need to know how to put together the most relevant, impressive documents and details in order to showcase your skills in the best possible light.
Benefits of using the portfolio for interviews
Few things will do more to boost your job search success than build a career portfolio. Here is a quick look at some of the many benefits you can expect.
- It’s handy
There is no better way to prepare for a job interview than building a portfolio; after all, spending all that time studying your skills, knowledge, and accomplishments will ensure that they are fresh on your mind during the interview. Building your portfolio can also highlight any gaps in your skill set.
- It builds confidence
A portfolio can help clear any doubts about who you are, what you have done and what you can do by providing all the photos, stats, reports, awards, and details you need to support your claims. Testimonials from bosses, supervisors, clients, or even community organizations are especially valuable, because it’s always easy for someone to trust you when there are so many others already praising you.
- It reduce stress
It can be difficult to remember important details or to perfect your answers during the stressful boundaries of an interview; however, with a wallet in hand, you’ll basically have a cheat sheet with you. Having access to all of these facts, stats and examples will greatly boost your confidence and make sure that you can always display your credentials in the best possible light, no matter how nervous or excited you are.
- It stands out from the competition
When you apply for a job, first impressions matter and your portfolio will show that you are motivated, ready and serious for the job. Your portfolio also provides a great way to throw a little extra light on some of your most impressive work, rather than relying solely on the summary versions of your resume and cover letter. Depending on the industry, you might be one of the few candidates who bother to set up a portfolio, which makes it a very easy way to stand out.
With an updated portfolio, you will be ready to take advantage of any and all opportunities regardless of whether your dream job appears suddenly with an imminent application deadline or opens an opportunity for an unexpected promotion in your current workplace. If at any point you decide to request a raise, your wallet can help you with that too, by providing a neat, comprehensive and professional resource to support your cause.
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