How and when to use a portfolio

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Wondering whether you need a portfolio during your first post-college job hunt? This blog post goes over how and when to use a portfolio.

When I am job hunting, I have three types of portfolios. Before you get worried and overwhelmed, know that having three versions isn’t much effort. We go over how to create each version in this blog post. But it’s important to understand what each version can be used for before creating it.

Before we get started, I recommend checking out this blog post about what a portfolio is and why it’s important before continuing.

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Three types of portfolios:

  • Printed
    • A collection of your work in a binder. This version is heavy on the visuals and light on the words.
  • Digital:
    • A PDF that has some of your work best, relevant work. This version can simply be printed out. Or you can choose to make it a bit more detailed than your printed portfolio.
  • Online:
    • A website that displays your work. This version is the most detailed.

When during the job hunting process can you use portfolios?

I like to bring my printed portfolio to in person meetings, link to the online version on my resume and cover letter, and attach the digital version to some online job applications. Let’s take a deeper look.

Printed portfolio

  • Informational interviews
    • I rarely use my portfolio during informational interviews because I view informational interviews as getting to know someone and their story; it’s not about me showing my skills. But if there’s a time in the conversation where I need to demonstrate something and get feedback, I’ll ask for permission to bring it out. Then, I’ll open up my portfolio to a specific page and stay there unless they ask to see the rest.
    • Tip: Informational interviews are most helpful before you apply to jobs. Download this FREE Career Roadmap to discover who you should be going on informational interviews with.
  • In-person job interview
    • I also had a printed version of my portfolio so I could point to it during the interview.

Digital Portfolio

  • Online job applications
    • Some job applications have a space to upload extra documents. I use this as an opportunity to add my portfolio
  • Virtual job interviews
    • When I have a phone or skype interview, I like to have my portfolio pulled up on my laptop so I can refer to it when answering questions.

Online Portfolio:

  • Link to it on my resume and cover letter
    • It’s not always possible to submit an extra PDF with a job application. So I always hyperlink to the digital version.
  • Email signature
    • When corresponding with people in my network or hiring managers and recruiters, I like to include a link to my portfolio in my signature.

What now?

Now that you understand the circumstances you’d use each type of portfolio, it’s time to start creating one. Here’s how to create a portfolio.

And if you haven’t already, download this FREE Career Roadmap to discover your path to your dream job.

Up next: How to create a portfolio

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Want to land your dream job, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to land your dream job, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

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