By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Where Do I Even Start?
If you work in an industry where potential employers want to see examples of your previous work, putting together a portfolio is a good idea. As someone who works in the field of learning and development, I know that it's valuable for me to have additional evidence to prove that I actually have all of those skills I brag so much about on my resume. Whether you're job searching or building your overall career resilience and opportunity readiness, having an online portfolio is a good step to take.
Like any new endeavor, figuring out where to start can be challenging. There are countless options, and even more opinions, on what the ideal portfolio looks like. Here is my five-step process for helping you to create a portfolio that works for you.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
This is the step you might be tempted to skip. However, if you don't take a little time to figure out what you're trying to accomplish with your portfolio, you most certainly won't reach your goals.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you clarify what you want:
Depending on your answers to these questions, your goals may include one or more of the following:
The answers to these questions will influence your portfolio creation choices.
Step 2: Decide What To Include
The specific content you include in your portfolio will depend on your overall goals. In my chosen field of learning and development, here are a few of the kinds of work samples I might want to include:
Remember, your portfolio is not just about the documents you include. It's also about the story you tell about how you solved a problem and how the artifact you include supports that narrative.
Step 3: Gather Work Samples
Once you have identified your goals and thought about the skillset you want to showcase, it's time to choose the specific documents you will include. Here are a few possibilities for locating or creating your actual work samples:
Whether you have existing documents you used in previous roles, re-create samples similar to past work projects, or re-purpose project documents created as part of another interview process, determine what you will include.
Step 4: Choose and Implement Technology
Since you are creating an online portfolio, choosing the underlying technology is an important step. While there are countless options available, here are three viable choices to consider:
Step 5: Share Your Portfolio.
Depending on your goals, you may have your portfolio as a website that someone could discover on their own or a link that can only be accessed after you share it with someone. Regardless of your portfolio format, there are a few cases where you will proactively share your portfolio link:
Make Your Portfolio 1.0
At this point, you may be excited about all the possibilities and overwhelmed with uncertainty. Here's my recommendation for creating at least a starter portfolio for yourself.
Congratulations. You now have a portfolio. Take a week off from looking at it, and then make an appointment with yourself to revisit your portfolio goals and next steps.
What Do You Think?
What goals and design choices did you make with your online portfolio? Include your thoughts in the comments.
7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.
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Were you recently laid off from your job and need a roadmap for what's next? Pick up a copy of my book, Seven Lessons From Seven Layoffs: A Guide!