Last weekend I had coffee with two lovely ladies who asked for some advice on developing a professional portfolio. I must admit - I got a little excited about it! A portfolio can be such an amazing tool for showing off your mad skills and cementing your personal brand. Personal branding is something that I have touched on before and it is becoming more and more important in this competitive job market. Having the qualifications is no longer enough to score that sweet job. Employers these days are looking for candidates with strong values, a brand that aligns with their business and a willingness to hustle, baby! Your portfolio is the perfect way to demonstrate that you have those three things. Not sure where to start? That's why you have me! Here are some awesome tips for creating your own professional portfolio.
"Why do I need a killer design? Isn't my experience enough?" In short, no. This may sound harsh, but I have had so many candidates rock up to their interview with a dog-eared folder with plastic sleeves full of old certificates and written references. I have to say, I am just not even compelled to look. Before you click the X in the top right corner - hear me out.
I know what certificates you have. I've got your resume and I have probably even read it given the fact that I invited you for an interview. What do I want then? I want you to impress me. Do something different. Stand out from the crowd. Show me that you want it and that you deserve it. I'm like a freaking bower bird - colourful stuff catches my eye. Perhaps you are wondering if I am the exception to the rule? Maybe. But probably not. I am friends with heaps of recruiters and hiring managers and I just know that after a full day of staring at boring black and white resumes, they could do with a bit of joy in their lives. Be the person to bring them that joy!
Well, you can use photoshop or something fandangle like that. Me? I don't have the inclination to learn. That's why I use Canva. My sister introduced me to Canva when she was creating my bridal shower invitations and since then, I fancy myself a bit of a designer! Canva is so ridiculously easy to use and has awesome functionality - you can create just about anything! Including a stunning professional portfolio.
Build your professional portfolio (and your personal brand) with @Canva!
Have you noticed how I always break up my blog posts with headings, lists, bullet points and images? I do that because text is boring. When you are preparing your portfolio, consider that a whole folder full of text is not going to excite anyone. For that reason, I suggest using some of these different content ideas to break up your text and make your portfolio more appealing!
There are so many different things that can be included in a professional portfolio. This is just a start. Think of anything that you are proud of that you might want to show a potential employer. Think of work that you have done that was particularly convincing. What have you done that showcases your abilities? The important thing here is that your portfolio doesn't have to be perfect the first time. You can always add to it as you develop your experience.
Remember that dog-eared presentation folder I talked about? Chuck it. If you want to use a folder, get a nice one. With shops like Officeworks, Typo and Kmart all offering affordable stationery ranges, you should be able to find something that is professional, modern and reasonably priced. If you want to splurge, try Kikki-K.
Now, if you want to go all out and absolutely smash the very thought of those $1.99 presentation folders with their flimsy plastic sleeves, then I have the solution for you. Professional printing and binding. There are lots of different kinds of presentation books that you can have made up at your local printer. If you are a photographer or other type of creative, then there is nothing stopping you from ordering a hard copy, bound photo book to show off your material. This would look great on your coffee table when you aren't using it - #justsaying.
For anyone else, a spiral bound document will be perfect. Have it printed in full colour and bound together with a really powerful cover (that you can also create in Canva!) and voila! A super professional portfolio that is sure to impress your potential employers! Shop around and depending on the number of pages, you should be able to complete your portfolio for less than $20. $20 well spent if you ask me!
Only got $20 in yo' pocket? Consider upgrading your professional portfolio!
So what do you think? Are you going to start compiling your own portfolio? Leave a note in the comments to let me know which ideas you will be implementing. You can also tweet me pics @PopYourCareer! Best of luck!
P.S. Want to save paper and create your portfolio online? Check out my post on Going Digital: Creating a Personal Website.