Career Portfolio Basics
Just What is a Career Portfolio?

A Career Portfolio is a tool to help you plan, organize, and document your work samples and skills. Using a portfolio can help you get a job, get a higher starting salary, show transferable skills, track personal development and position yourself for advancement.

The portfolio is a collection of information you design and create to help you present the best of yourself to other people. It contains a combination of the following areas:

  • Goals and Values
  • ResumeWrite, Plan, Business, Startup, Start-Up, Notebooks
  • Skill Areas including: Work Samples, Letters of Recommendation, Skill Sets, Works in Progress
  • Certifications, Diplomas, Degrees, or Awards
  • Community Service
  • Professional Memberships and Service
  • Academic Plan of Study
  • Faculty and Employer Biographies

Show Them What You Can Do
Take the portfolio to your interview and show a potential employer or manager samples of your work. Show them your certificates, things you’ve done to serve the community, etc. Show them why they need you or why you should be promoted. Use the portfolio to stress your strengths in different areas. By simply highlighting your strengths with tangible documentation, you have the very realistic opportunity to improve your rate of pay, promotions, and bonuses. When a superior can see viable examples of your skills, abilities, and achievements, they are more likely to agree with your requests and note your value. 

Improve your Confidence

By putting together your portfolio, you learn to recognize your strengths and emphasize them in the portfolio. You also learn where your weaknesses are and how to compensate for them. A very common question during most standard interviews involves your strengths and weaknesses. A potential employer may be interested in your own personal view of where you excel and where you may need improvement. By building a career portfolio, you can be confident in your answers and also have the opportunity to explain how you plan to work on your weaknesses. 

It’s an Edge

Competition’s tough in the job market. A personalized portfolio can help you stand out from the crowd. A career portfolio provides you a very good foundation to show your true worth to a company. So much so that potential employers may be willing to choose you over more convienent candidates simply because you were able to provide them with clean organized documentation of your skills, abilities, and achievements. 

A Career Portfolio is a tool to help people plan, organize, and document work samples and skills. 

A career portfolio is a collection of information each person designs and creates to present the best of themselves to other people. In a hard copy binder or electronic form, a career portfolio helps individuals organize skills and abilities to market themselves to others:

    • for job interviews
    • to compete for internships
    • to track and quantify your internship experience
    • to  compete for scholarships
    • in performance reviews
    • in promotions and career shifts

Using a portfolio can help you get a job, get a higher starting salary, show transferable skills, track personal development and position yourself for advancement.

The Career Portfolio is not just a thing… it is a process, a way of thinking and a tool for keeping your professional and personal life integrated for workplace success.

You need to be able to imagine what you want and know how to classify and categorize your knowledge, skills, abilities and rare talents through the elements of the Career Portfolio.

Use a  Career Portfolio for career advancement and your own well-being.

Download a Free Career Portfolio Reference Guide Here!

What knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies do you have? The more critical question is how do you use these for your well-being? You know, essential Well-Being

  • Purpose—Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social—Having strong and supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial— How managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community—Engaging in the area you live, liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical—Being healthy and having enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

Contents of a Career Portfolio

  • Goals and Values                                                                                                                                  
  • Resume
  • 3-5 Key Skill Areas you want to promote, including: samples of your work, letters of
    recommendation, skill sets, photos, multimedia, etc.
  • Certifications, Diplomas, Degrees, or Awards
  • Community Service samples
  • Professional Memberships and Service
  • Academic Plan of Study
  • Faculty and Employer Biographies

Download the FREE Curriculum Guide for Creating Your Career Portfolio At-A-Glance for Students, 4ed.

Contains detailed plans for using career portfolios in:

  • A dedicated full-semester class
  • Existing classes
  • Jump Start workshops
  • Internship programs
  • Self-study programs

Get grading rubrics and O*NET skill inventory mapping for:

  • Creating Your Career Portfolio At-A-Glance Guide for Students activities
  • Career Transitions Workbook exercises
  • College Prep Workbook exercises
  • Hard-copy Career Portfolio
  • electronic ePortfolio

Career Portfolios for Students

It’s never too early to start your Career Portfolio

A career portfolio can be an effective tool for students at all levels. Portfolios are used by:

  • College students looking for their first jobs
  • High school students trying to get into their preferred university
  • Grade school students documenting work towards awards, achievement, or community service
  • Even pre-schools are using portfolios to help track and document children’s development during their early years.

If you’re in College, use your career portfolio to:

  • Enhance your résumé
  • Apply for internships
  • Find your first job

Be sure to:

  • Track diplomas
  • Show GPA
  • List extracurricular activities
  • Show your professional memberships
  • Get letters of recommendation from teachers
  • Document your community service hours and earn scholarships!

If you’re in High School, use your career portfolio to:

  • Aid in choosing appropriate electives
  • Develop your résumé
  • Apply for scholarships
  • Make the cut at your preferred college or university

Be sure to:

  • Track your grades
  • Track community service projects
  • Show skills you have learned from hobbies