Friday, February 18, 2011

How To Create An Awesome Work Portfolio

How to Make a Persuasive Business Portfolio How To Create An Awesome Work Portfolio ? A business portfolio is all about what your business encompasses. A presentable business portfolio should be the culmination of all the planning parts that were considered while starting a new business. It is a dynamic opportunity for the employers to depict what is your business, what are your capabilities and what you can achieve in future. It should include your offered products and service, annual reports, financial track, profitability ratio and corporate structure. It should be indicative of your several business terms, your business goals and business experiences for people who want to execute business with you.

Work Portfolio Ideas & Layouts

Do you want to knock their socks off when interviewing for your dream job? If so, stand out from the crowd by creating a portfolio of your work.

Regardless of what you do for a living, you can show your future boss or clients that you are perfect for the job. A portfolio with real examples of your work communicates more than just the quality of your work. It demonstrates better than words your passion and commitment to your profession.

So let us take a closer look at what a work portfolio is and how to create one.

Seeing is Believing.

What is a Work Portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of the best examples of your work. No matter what kind of work you do, it showcases what you excel at. For example ...

  • if you are a chef, you can include things like your menus, written recipes of your specialties, restaurant reviews, training certificates and inspection reports. (Of course, tasting samples of your specialties is a must for anyone hiring a chef.)
  • if you are a bookkeeper you can include a detailed list of the software systems you use, example pages of the types of accounting reports you prepare, stats on the volume of data you routinely process, along with letters of commendation.
  • if you are a high rise construction worker, you can include photos of the buildings you have worked on during construction and close ups of your construction techniques, a list of projects you have worked on, records that illustrate your ability to meet deadlines and maintain high levels of safety, as well as your training certificates.
  • if you are a detective you can include sample case history notes, examples of your investigative process, reports about the application of new techniques and technologies in your field, a list of cases solved, training certificates and letters of recommendation.

Your portfolio is also a great place to store and display those all pieces of paperwork you never know what to do with -- such as training certificates, letters of commendation, and employee of the month awards.

The Benefits of Creating A Portfolio

The benefits of having a portfolio make investing the time to create it definitely worth it.

We know from personal experiencing interviewing hundreds of people as well as going on interviews ourselves -- that actions do speak louder than words. Many times, you hear all the candidates saying the same thing -- they are the best person to hire and they want the job. Often, there is little separating most of the applicants -- so what you look for are the stars, the dream candidates who make it obvious they are a perfect fit for the job.

One way to spot a good applicant is to see who invests the time to learn about the company and its needs. This investment shows real interest because the applicant invested their own time instead of watching TV or doing a thousand other more fun things with their time. But a lot of people have caught on to this, and do some quick Internet research before an interview.

Actions speak louder than words.

One way to spot a dream candidate, and be able to separate the good applicants from the stars, is to look beyond their work history and focus on what they excel at. Because in the end, what a hiring manager really cares about is what can you do for them in the future. And the best indicator of future performance is the past work you have done.

A good hiring manager can quickly see the time and effort you put into pulling all your work together, selecting the best examples and then putting them into a binder you can take into an interview. Showing them what you can do lets them see how good you really are, and eliminates any question of you exaggerating how good you are or what you can do. The confidence it takes to let your work speaks for itself, as well as being honest about your skill level, is impressive and makes you stand out. So if you are walking into a job interview empty handed, you are missing a great opportunity to prove you are the dream candidate for your dream job.

But even if you never show your portfolio in an interview, it is still a good idea. Creating it means you are very prepared to answer any interview question about your experience, skills or past work. Also, when you see your body of work, your confidence goes up and that shows in the interview. And it is a great tool for refreshing your memory while you are in the waiting room and it can raise your spirits while job hunting.

But one of the best benefits we have personally found it that it allows you to gain some time in an interview to gather your thoughts. Sometime in just about every interview, a question is tossed at you to see how well you deal with uncertainty. Often it is about some skill or experience that was not mentioned in the job ad.

The minute it takes you to find the example in your portfolio gives you a chance to think through what is behind the question and organize what you want to say. And having just the right example to answer the question tosses the question back to the interviewer, who usually expects the person interviewing to be stumped or unsure of what to reply.
In interviews, words are cheap. Examples of your work turn your interview into an opportunity to show them where you excel and exactly what they can expect if they hire you. And that often means the hiring manager can reach a level of comfort about hiring you that few candidates can match. And that could just give you the edge in an interview and mean you get the first offer.

What You Put In A Portfolio

Your portfolio should be built around five major basic items ...

1 - A copy of your complete master resume. You can refer to your master resume when you get asked questions about the extent of your experience or need to refresh your memory. It is also a great way to show the level of your skills, the breadth of your skill base and the depth of your experience

Often, hiring managers are looking for people who can grow along with the company, or people who have more than the minimum requirements listed in the ad. So having this list on hand shows them you have lots of untapped potential and sets you apart from the rest of the people being interviewed. And you never know when you will mention a skill they can use but never expected to find.

2 - Real examples or representative samples of your work. These clearly show you have done what is on your resume and show your level of skill and quality. Unless you are working on secret or confidential tasks, you can include real examples of your work, including ...

  • writing samples such as white papers, press releases, newsletters, advertising copy, scripts, memos, and reports
  • finished product examples in the form of photographs or real samples
  • service testimonials such as client references, documented success stories
  • design samples such as brochures, code flow diagrams, and conceptual sketches
  • performance reviews (great ones only!) and letters of commendation from previous bosses
  • copies of training and award certificates (if you were employee of the month, you definitely need to include the picture and paperwork here!)

3 - A brief list of your accomplishments. This list highlights all the special things you have done, especially those which fall outside your normal job responsibilities but show what a valuable employee or business owner you would be. For example, you will want to highlight ...

  • what you did and how much money, time, or effort you saved
  • when you took action to avoid a disaster
  • problems you solved or defused
  • when you helped another department out
  • when you went the extra mile for a client or boss. For example, when you spent the weekend working or stayed late into the night to meet a deadline.
  • examples of when you demonstrated company or personal values, such as high quality, promptness, keeping customer commitments, being discrete, or staying under budget

4 - A list of all your features. Often, we can do more things than our past jobs have given us the opportunity to do. But because you have not actually done them, they do not belong on your resume. So if your skill level has outgrown your current job, you want to list here the things you could do successfully. This is a short list of the ...

  • activities and responsibilities you have already successfully mastered that you can do right now
  • tasks that you could easily do and succeed at if you had the opportunity to do it
  • activities you could tackle with some training and guidance and that you are very interested in growing into in the next 3-9 months
  • tasks that would be a stretch that you would really like to do in the future. (Again, this may be just the thing that matches how the manager sees the job growing. And it is a great way to signal not only that you want to grow and advance but how you want to do it.)

5 - A short list of the ways you can benefit your employer. This is a list of how a company will benefit from hiring you. Often, it is hard to express exactly who you are and why you are a dream candidate. So, if you have ever been asked that question and did not know how to reply, this section is just what you need.

Here you list all the things it is hard to express and still appear humble in an interview ...

  • your top gifts and talents
  • your top values based on your ideal life story
  • your long term objectives based on your life calling
  • the problems, issues, and needs that you love to solve

Once you have all this assembled into a three ring binder or portfolio case, you need to know how to decide when and how to use it in an interview.

Using Your Portfolio in an Interview

We recommend taking your portfolio along on every interview. But since each interview is different, you do not have to open and show it if it does not feel right. In instances where the job is clearly not be a fit, or you feel the interviewer will be put off or overwhelmed, you will want to keep it discreetly tucked out of sight.

If you are not sure, you can pull it out only if you need to illustrate a particular point. For example, you get a question about your experience and you have an example which clearly illustrates it. In that case you can open your portfolio and give the interviewer something to look at as you talk.

However, we should warn you that once you bring out your portfolio, you need to be prepared for the interviewer to flip through the entire portfolio. Sometimes this worked well for us and we were able to talk about all our experience and skills. But in some cases it can derail the interview because they are so curious about your portfolio that you miss out on hearing a detailed description of the job.

If you are feeling very confident, have your portfolio clearly in hand when you meet the interviewer. Perceptive ones will ask what it is if you lay it on the edge of the desk at the beginning of the interview. You can even mention you brought it along in case they wanted to see samples of your past work. Then it is up to the interviewer to decide when and if they want to see it.

We think creating a portfolio is a rare win-win interview tool. It gives you a rare edge in interviews and lets the interviewer get a much clearer idea of what you can bring to the company. And it might even mean that you end up interviewing for more than one position or get called back to interview in more than one department.

The Next Step

Once you have a portfolio, you may also want to learn about ...

  1. How To Create A Master Resume
  2. How To Get Called For Interviews
  3. How To Find Your Dream Job
  4. How To Create An Awesome Work Portfolio
  5. How to Make a Persuasive Business Portfolio


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