Many of my clients, mentors, and friends often come to me frustrated because they are having difficulty landing a job. They apply for job after job and go on interview after interview with no success. I always share this one secret with them that has helped me to land multiple dream jobs across many industries.
Career Portfolio – A Complete Guide
With the current market, looking for a job can be extremely tough. Not only are there a limited amount of jobs available, there seems to be dozens of highly-skilled workers who beat you to the post. When the news comes through that you finally have an interview, this can be exciting but it is only just the start. Why? Because, as we have said, you will still be up against potentially up to five people all vying for the role. Even though you have been noticed and your resume has been read, you still have a lot of work to do.
Normally, you will search for ‘job interview tips’ on the internet and what do you find? Dress professionally, give a firm handshake, know everything there is to know about the company and the role on offer, prepare some useful questions, etc.However, all the other candidates will be doing the same thing so you still aren’t setting yourself apart from the rest.
Did you know that most companies now use behavioral-based interviews? Ultimately, this means that you will be faced with a number of scenarios and you will have a chance to explain how you would behave in these situations. Even though this is a fairly new technique, it is already predictable and again, just like previously, you will find all sorts of tips on how to ace this section of your interview online. So what will truly set you apart from the crowd? When entering a room of five highly-qualified and highly-skilled candidates, how do you ensure that you get chosen?
The answer is simple – a career portfolio. With your resume, you are telling the reader exactly what you have to offer and this is great for the first stage of the application process. However, as you progress through the process, you need to show your potential employers what you have to offer. For many years, a career portfolio has been used by freelance workers like artists and writers but it doesn’t have to be limited to this market.
What Does a Career Portfolio Include?
Ultimately, this completely depends on what industry you’re applying for but we can give you some generic documents to include. Of course, please bear your industry in mind when reading through these but some examples include;
- Resume – As usual, your resume will be an important document for employers.
- Customized Cover Letter – The word ‘customized’ is vital here because a generic outline for every job application will no longer get you a job. If you have reached a job interview, you should already have this in tow.
- Skill Matrix – Here, you should show the skills needed for the job and then correlate this to your particular skill set.
- Previous Work – Don’t just tell the reader what you have done previously, this is already in your resume. Instead, show examples of work that the potential employer can expect if they were to choose you.
• Reviews – Show any reviews or performance evaluations you have had from previous employers or even colleagues and employees. With this, they will start to think ‘well, if they did that for their old company maybe they can do it for us’.
- References – Finally, show a list of references that they can contact if necessary.
Benefits of a Career Portfolio
First, the main benefit of completing a career portfolio is that the employer will have clear examples of the work you can do. Not only does this reduce the risk for them, it reduces the risk for you too. If the role is slightly different to what you expected, the employer can point this out. All in all, both parties will walk away with a clear idea of the other and whether you are right for the job.
Secondly, this portfolio will also make the interview much easier for you because you have reference material. If you’re asked a particular question, you can point them in the right direction of your answer as opposed to tripping over your words and trying to explain something that seems confusing.
Finally, a career portfolio can also help with the early stages of an application process. If you find that you are struggling to get an interview and your portfolio is going to waste, why not bring it out early and impress the potential employer right from the off? Of course, there may be times where this isn’t appropriate or even possible but it can be effective at times.
All things considered, there is only one problem that you can run into with a career portfolio and that is if you don’t have one. If you have never had a job, you may think that a career portfolio is out of your reach but this isn’t the case. No matter how young you are or how little experience you have, you can still find things to add into your portfolio if you dig deep enough. For example, why not look towards your school work or complete some work in your spare time? Furthermore, you could also start a blog online as this is a portfolio that constantly updates. Employers love to see an online blog because it shows many things – your skills, commitment, work ethic, talent, hard work, and improvement.
In addition to this, you can also sign yourself up for an internship or volunteering because although you might not make any money, employers love to see examples of work and the willingness to improve. An internship also allows you to hone your skills and become a more attractive candidate to all employers.
If you find yourself struggling to get a job in your desired field, a career portfolio may just be the push you need so try it out today. Although some industries will be harder than others, it will be worth all the effort in the end if you can produce an industry-specific portfolio. Create your career portfolio today and achieve the job you have been dreaming of landing! Get help creating your career portfolio and get additional career advice by visiting www.performance-renew.com!