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What is a career portfolio? And do you need one?

Don’t know what a career portfolio is or if you actually need one while job-hunting for your first marketing job? This blog post is for you.

For a long time, creating a portfolio didn’t even cross my mind. This was because I thought that portfolios were only for creatives. It wasn’t until I started working with a recruiting agency that I pulled together a portfolio. And even then, that initial portfolio was simply a PDF of my graphic design work.

But the good news is that I’ve figured it out! And I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

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

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Here’s what you need to know about whether or not you need a career portfolio:

What is a career portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of work that demonstrates your skills.

Do you need a career portfolio?

The short answer? Yes. If you are applying to a marketing role and you are a recent college graduate, you could really benefit from creating a portfolio. Here’s why:

1. It’s hard to show all of your capabilities on a resume

It’s tough to fully communicate all of the value you can bring to a company when you only have room for a few bullet points.

2. It’s a more concrete way of showing what you can do

Hiring someone simply based on a resume is viewed as a high risk by employers (according to Richard Bolles in What Color is Your Parachute, one of the most popular job-hunting books on the market). So tack on that someone is fresh out of college and doesn’t have previous work experience and you’ve got an even higher risk hire. But a portfolio is a more concrete way of showing what you can do.

What should be in a career portfolio?

This truly depends on the role that you are applying for, the company you are applying to, and whether it is an in-house position or agency position. But in general, your portfolio should display the work that you’re most proud of and is relevant to the job you are applying for — even if it’s a spreadsheet. Here’s an example of something I included in my portfolio during my first post-college job-hunt

Truth be told, this isn’t what it looked like originally. It was just a simple spreadsheet. But because this was going in my portfolio, I prettied it up a bit.

If I could talk to fresh-out-of-college me, I would tell myself to add bullet points explaining what this is and why it is relevant to the job I am applying to.

Next Steps

Now that you understand what a portfolio is, that it can help you stand out from the crowd, and what goes into a portfolio, it’s time to get the bigger picture. Here’s what you need to know about the situations you might use a portfolio. This way, when you are creating your portfolio, you can keep these situations in mind.

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

Up next: How and when to use a career 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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