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5 tips on how to compose your portfolio

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Everyone needs a portfolio. That’s what I would tell you if you ask me. In partnership with your resume, a portfolio can amplify your visibility as a professional and give you a significant advantage compared to another candidate who doesn’t have one.

Well, it might make sense you probably would say. But portfolios are only for designers or architects, correct?

The answer is no. You can definitely incorporate this asset in your job hunt toolbox and creating a significant competitive advantage for you.

Let me give 5 tips on how to compose your portfolio:

Top Achievements

The most popular portfolio, the one used by designers, typically includes the best visuals create for one particular campaign or client. Sometimes they referrer as well the customer problem and the outcomes.

Well, the same thing you can do even if you aren’t a designer. To start, list all your achievements you have accomplished in your career. They may be related to a project you were a member of, a volunteer task you were responsible for a result you generated, such as a sales or a milestone you’ve achieved.

The idea is to list all the things you have done to identify the top ones, the ones that are more significant in terms of impact and results generated.

These achievements are the ones you will include in your portfolio, like examples of the things you have made that represented your contribution to the role you were responsible for.

As a bonus, it will help you as a recap of all the main things you have made, providing clarity and confidence when talking about your portfolio.

Translate in numbers

Numbers create trust. They turn events and actions tangible from the recipient’s perspective, making it easier to understand what was done.

Do your best to identify and include in your portfolio as much quantitative information as possible. Regardless of the kind of job you are searching for, describe what you did and the outcome.

Customer satisfaction, sales, cost reduction, revenue, productivity metrics, etc. Every single project creates an impact on a particular metric that measures how successful you were in your contribution.

When you translate your achievements into numbers, you are making your pitch about yourself easier to explain as well. People tend to memorize numbers easier when they are internalized into a story.

Compare both sentences:

Sentence #1:
“I was responsible for customer satisfaction.”

Sentence #2

“I was responsible for customer service, increasing the customer satisfaction from 30% to 60% in 3 months.”

Which one is more attractive and enticing for you? I think you got my point.

Adapt according to the job description

By default, you should have a particular portfolio for every single job application to highlight your achievements based on the job description requirements.

However, my suggestion is to compose a generic portfolio that represents all the great things you have made that you could use in all kinds of applications.

From there, you can customize your portfolio, adding or removing some achievements, depending upon the job description’s expectations.

Try to be more specific as you can in your job hunt. Otherwise, you may need to create a large list of achievements, which may not be productive for you.

Make it online

Yes, to amplify its visibility, build your portfolio online. There are out there many free tools to compose your portfolio for free. Sharing your portfolio in a single link will make your life way easier when promoting yourself for recruiters and in your networking.

Don’t be picky, expecting to develop the best portfolio in the world in your first round of development. Baby steps are key here. Shape its content progressively, trying to conveying your achievements with as much clarity as you can.

One fast and simple alternative is to compose your first portfolio in a PDF. Then, add it to your LinkedIn profile in the “featured” section, dedicated area to upload any kind of file you consider relevant to include in your profile.

Keep it updated

Regardless of the format, keep your portfolio updated is critical. Schedule periodic reviews based on the achievements are have accomplished and the market expectations.

Chances are that as far you go in your career, the more specialized you will be positioned.

As you become more specialized, you should highlight in your portfolio only the achievements related to your current role or the ones that can create a “bridge” between your current role and the position you are striving for.

Keep it fresh, update, and visually attractive is important to represent the best version of yourself.

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