How to Create a Professional Portfolio?
A professional portfolio is crucial for presenting your experience, skills, and potential for employment and future career development as a single unified package. It is a key element in building a career and finding new gigs, whether you are a beginner or an experienced freelance worker.
A portfolio should first and foremost focus on work samples: written and visual examples of projects and work you have managed or tasks you have completed. It should also include insights into your skills, problem-solving techniques, and your results.
From an employer’s perspective, a professional portfolio indicates that you as a potential worker are constantly developing and have no problems with self-assessment. A work portfolio represents also that you can identify and solve problems independently and can present your professional achievements clearly and concisely.
From our text, you will learn how to create a professional portfolio with our portfolio maker, what to include in it, how it’s different from a resume or cover letter, and what to beware of when creating it.
What Should a Professional Portfolio Include?
This is a professional summary of your work, skills, and experience. It is an essential tool for presenting your credentials to prospective employers. You need to design the entire document carefully and fill it out with all the necessary information to make a good impression on potential employers.
Your career portfolio should contain the following elements:
Professional biography: A brief summary of your experience, skills, and connections that reflect your professional activity. It should also include your long-term career objectives and job expectation in the future.
Work samples: The most important part of the portfolio contains examples of your written and visual work. Make sure to choose work that best reflects your experience and skills. It doesn’t have to be the best-rated or most expensive piece of work; just pick one that suits your purposes the best.
Recommendations: Recommendations from previous employers, ex-users, clients, or members should also be included in your portfolio. Testimonials demonstrate to employers that your skills and work are valued by other specialists in the industry. Consider soliciting old partners and previous employers for comments and review.
Skills and professional qualities: Examine the job description and select the skills that you possess, as well as any others that you believe make you a strong candidate. Add skills that might be secondary to the job and take care that your works highlight these skills. If you have soft skills, like interpersonal skills or language skills also list them here – you never know when they can be useful!
Biographical information: Consider including an “about me” section in your portfolio. We all know that every job interview begins with “tell us about yourself” – and so, this section of your portfolio will assist you in answering this question!
Diplomas and certifications: Include proof of education, copies and scans of licenses or certifications, or professional development seminars you have attended. Adding this information to the professional portfolio boosts your credibility and emphasizes your qualifications for the position.
Awards and accomplishments: Apart from degrees and diplomas, include any additional accomplishment information from your resume. Awards like “Employee of the month”, or academic honors are all great ideas to include in your professional portfolio. If you worked for the government and can for example provide military records, it might be a promising idea to do it. Many companies value veterans and if the skills you learned in the Army are relevant, these can also impress a prospective employer.
What Should Not Be Included in a Professional Portfolio?
Remember that your portfolio is your first impression. Before putting any work into it, make sure it is professional, polished, and in line with your career goals so that it can dazzle any customers. But there are also some traps to avoid! Here are some things you should not include in a professional portfolio:
Work that is not related to your professional goal. Your portfolio should only include work that is relevant to the position you are applying for. Even if, for example, you are a graphic designer applying for a UX design position and you have beautiful 3d work, put a link to the gallery in the “interests” section – but don’t include them in your portfolio.
Works that are incomplete or unfinished. Make sure your work is polished and ready to show before posting in your portfolio. You may be working on something great, but you should show it when it’s finished.
A cover letter. Don’t waste your time explaining why you want to work with the company – you’ll explain it in person when your work samples convince the potential employer.
Works that are unprofessional. Your work portfolio should be professionally formatted and aesthetically pleasing. Avoid using jargon, slang, or humor that can be misunderstood.
Works that contain errors. Be sure to check your work portfolio carefully for spelling, grammatical and stylistic errors before sharing it.
Works that are too personal. Your portfolio should focus on your work, not your personal life. Avoid including information about your personal life, such as hobbies, religious or political beliefs, in your portfolio. It’s often difficult to separate the creator from the content, but in this case, you can show gallery links elsewhere.
What Is the Difference Between a Resume and a Portfolio?
A resume and portfolio are two key documents that can help you find a job. However, they have different purposes and should be formatted differently.
What is a resume?
A resume or in European countries a CV, or curriculum vitae, is a document that describes your education, work experience, skills, and interests. Mostly you include your employment history and describe the positions you have held.
With a Resume, you can present your qualifications to potential employers. A resume should be formatted in an orderly and clear manner, and the information should be presented concisely and to the point.
What is a professional portfolio?
A work portfolio is a collection of your work that represents your skills, capabilities, and achievements. It can include written, graphic, photographic, musical samples, or other works. Online portfolios are often used in creative industries such as graphic design, art, and music.
The portfolio should be professionally formatted and aesthetically pleasing, and the works should be carefully selected and presented. You can add a history of your work to the portfolio, but it doesn’t have to be detailed – the person reading is more interested in your skills and achievements.
What Are the Major Mistakes Done in Making a Portfolio?
There are various problems when you’re creating a career portfolio to send to prospective employers. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by people:
Not tailoring your portfolio to the position you are applying for. As we wrote above, your portfolio should only include work that is relevant to the position you are applying for. If you’re applying for a graphic designer position, don’t include photography or writing work in your portfolio. You can read more about it in our graphic designer portfolio guide.
Lack of order. Your work portfolio should be easy to view and navigate. Use a clear and simple format and divide your work into categories. Publuu allows you to use hyperlinks in the PDF so that the reader can easily navigate through all the content.
Unprofessional look. Your portfolio should be aesthetically pleasing and professional. Use high-quality photos and graphics, and make sure your text is clear and readable.
No contact information. Be sure to include your contact information in your portfolio, such as your email address, phone number, and website address. This will make it easy for potential employers to contact you. If you are creating an online portfolio, make sure your “about me” page is visible when viewing.
How Long Should a Portfolio Be?
The length of your portfolio depends on your experience and the industry you work in. If you are a beginner, your portfolio should include 5-10 works that best showcase your skills.
If it’s your first job, you can include your best work as a student and one example created specifically as an example. Consider doing community service or similar public service, just to have a work history to put in your online portfolio! If you are building a photography portfolio, consider doing a sample shoot just to create some memorable images.
If you have more experience, your portfolio can include up to 30 sample works. As we wrote before, it is important to choose only the works that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
How Do You Create a Professional Portfolio?
When you’re creating a portfolio, you usually have two ways to start.
If you would like to have full control over your design, you can start creating it from scratch in your chosen software. If you are searching for starting point, you can always use portfolio templates from Canva.
Create an “About Me” Section
The “About Me” section is a brief introduction to you and your skills. It can resemble an abbreviated resume: include your name, surname, job title, interests, and achievements. Put your contact information there so that the employer won’t forget to contact you!
Collect Samples of Your Work
A portfolio is a collection of work samples that highlight your skills and experience. Remember that you don’t know who will be judging the work – you can choose the ones that are technically the best or the most impressive.
Include Certifications and Licenses
If you have any relevant certifications or licenses that are relevant to the position you are applying for, include them in your online portfolio. This way you can show off your achievements; and if you also have diplomas from additional courses attach them here.
Add References and Testimonials
If you have any references that can attest to your skills and experience, include them in your portfolio. Remember, however, that if the documents contain personal information about another person, you may not be allowed to share them.
Attach your Resume
Include your resume in your portfolio so employers can get more information about your education and work experience. But don’t overwhelm them with your knowledge, the purpose of the portfolio is to convey your skills, which should speak for themselves.
Format, Design, and Upload Your Portfolio
Now it is time to end your work by designing and formatting your portfolio using your chosen software or Canva.
Then, you can either export your file to PDF and upload it to Publuu, or upload it directly by clicking on the “Share” button and choosing “Publuu flipbooks” which can be found in the “More” section.
With Publuu, you can easily share your portfolio with potential employers with just one click and professionally showcase your best work, like in the example below:
Professional portfolios are an excellent way to represent your skills, abilities, and accomplishments to prospective employers. Apart from your samples, they should contain a short resume and a description of your career, but their main goal is to draw interest to your skills.
Publuu’s portfolio maker, with its integration with Canva and interactive features, will help you create a great portfolio that will capture the attention of even the most demanding reader.
You may also be interested in:
What Is a Student Portfolio? The Complete Guide
Model Portfolio – All You Need To Know