Here are the ABCs of building a professional portfolio |

Here are the ABCs of building a professional portfolio

A portfolio is no longer a privilege for design, photography, or graphics professionals. It serves as a tool to demonstrate your strengths and achievements to potential employers. Here is how to make a successful portfolio.

Forget a portfolio with photos, colours, and sophisticated designs. Outside of the art sector, a professional portfolio should be plain. It focuses on the would-be hired candidates skills instead of their jobs chronological order. Like how an artist uses their portfolio as proof of their artistic works, the worker demonstrates their most significant skills. But be careful, despite all that your CV isnt going to disappear, far from replacing it, a portfolio complements it.

Above all, it is a tool

“Managers—who have done million things over the course of their career—don’t want to look lost when they apply to a new job. A portfolio serves to create connections between each position they occupied.” Explains Mathieu Guénette, vocational counsellor and director of professional services at Brisson Legris.

Patricia Dionne, assistant professor in the career counselling department at the Université de Sherbrooke, sees portfolios as an excellent opportunity to put your work experience into perspective. A portfolio emphasizes connections between a workers different experiences. In a portfolio, a person specifies their interests, values, and highlights their distinctiveness by demonstrating their skills: two people behave differently whether or not they have the same skills and experience. A portfolio takes time to build and will take long to read. This is why you should see it as a personal exercise; recruiters rarely take their time reading every line. In fact, according to Dionne, a portfolio is an unrivalled method to prepare for interviews because It lets you keep words in mind.Even if potential employers will not read it systematically, a portfolio can be brought into the interview, and serve as a point of reference at the centre of the relationship.

Betting everything on skill

How do you build your portfolio? First, start with a cover page: your contact information, a table of contents, and include an updated copy of your CV. Second, the portfolios body requires the most effort. This means looking back on your professional experience and focusing on three to five of the most important skills. One skill, one page. For each skill, the candidate describes related tasks. They then detail the resources used to manage the task: values, contact network, mastered instruments, (software, numerical controls) and more.

The Centre de développment professionnel et de placement en droit de lUQAM [The UQAM Centre for Professional Development and Legal Placement] also recommends adding letters of recommendations written by professors and previous employers, the work that you are especially proud of, event photos marking your career (awards, honourable mentions, and more), and articles where you are mentioned; however, make sure not to put too much. Dionne advises, Employers are usually rushed and only retain what is relevant to the job.

Still marginal

Although it is an interesting tool, for Guénette, the professional portfolio method is still marginal in the employment world. He warns, If we want to sell our originality and that we act differently, it’s a good idea. But in some sectors, this marginality doesn’t go over well.

Which is why he advises to instead use a CV based on skill where the worker describes his most adapted skills in difficult circumstances, then the obtained results. While reading a CV based on skills, the recruiter imagines a candidate in action.He states, It creates a mental image that leaves an impression. Otherwise, he suggests creating a website compiling all of your work successes.

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