A portfolio is a showcase for your achievements and talents, which can be used to show samples of your work certificates, diplomas, awards, letters of commendation, and so on.  It is most often presented online/electronically, in a good quality binder, or in a visual arts portfolio.

Advantages to Using a Portfolio

A portfolio provides a structure for you to keep all of your essential work-related samples and documents protected in one place and demonstrates tangible proof of your skills and abilities.  It allows you to easily find and access those materials when you need them for a job search, performance appraisal, or application for a promotion.

A portfolio allows you to expand on your résumé in a comprehensive manner and concretely share your area of expertise.  You can be more creative in your portfolio than you are in producing your résumé and cover letter. If you create a "master portfolio," you can easily pick and choose items to customize a portfolio for a particular position.

Elements of a Portfolio

Your Portfolio Might Include:

  • Samples of your work or reference letters testifying to the quality of your work
  • Your career goals or career mission statement
  • A copy of your resume
  • A list of your skill sets or competencies
  • Letters of reference or recommendation from previous employers, volunteer work, work-study programs such as campus jobs, internships, co-op programs, summer jobs, peer tutoring, and so on
  • Transcripts
  • A summary of community service or volunteer work you have done
  • Academic awards
  • Copies of non-confidential positive performance appraisals
  • E-mails, thank you letters, and handwritten notes complimenting you on a job well done
  • Company announcements of promotions, awards or achievements
  • Documents you may have designed: brochures, flyers, pamphlets, report covers, reports
  • Flyers, conference brochures, or other materials describing presentations, workshops or seminars you have presented
  • Photographs representing projects you have been involved in (For example, a photograph of a conference display booth you created for a previous employer.)
  • A video you have made, videos of dance or vocal performances, or images of your art work
  • A sample program or computer science project
  • A teaching philosophy statement and sample lesson plans

Advanced Professionals Might Also Consider Including:

  • A list of articles you have published
  • Samples of articles you have published
  • A report on research you have conducted
  • Articles written about you or projects you have been involved in (newspapers, company newsletters, etc.)
  • A list of professional memberships or associations you belong to that are work-related, including any special committees on which you serve
  • Copies of evaluations from a workshop you presented or a speech you made