Do You Need A Portfolio?

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A portfolio is a compilation of documents which show an individual’s experience, skills, achievements and qualities. It is characterized by examples of what an individual has been able to achieve in their field of expertise. A portfolio features personal information which markets the individual, while focusing on their capabilities. While a portfolio does not replace a resumé, it accentuates an individual’s capabilities and what they are able to deliver in various fields.

Today, every professional should have a portfolio, regardless of whether they are in a creative or artistic field. Professional portfolios should demonstrate how valuable an individual can be in the workplace. The ideal portfolio should clearly show a description of projects and samples of work that an individual has handled. Including customer reviews and reference letters is a perfect way of showcasing professional achievements in an individual’s field of work. Below are reasons why you would need a professional portfolio.

Why is a Portfolio Important?

  • Portfolios enable individuals to be creative and personal in expounding on their projects, skills, experience and knowledge.

  • Whether it is used in an academic, creative or professional setting, a portfolio sets one apart from other individuals.

  • Individuals are able to formulate their aspirations, goals, achievements and reflection through portfolios. Through a portfolio, potential corporate and other organizations are able to read an individual’s personality, and how much value they can bring forth.

  • Drafting a portfolio plays an important role in enhancing confidence and self-discovery.

  • Portfolios come in handy during interviews to act as proof of an individual’s qualifications, capabilities and skills with regard to the job in question.

  • A portfolio highlights previous learning and work-related experience. It plays a crucial role during scholarship applications, bonuses and promotion negotiations.

What is the Role of Professional Portfolios?

A professional is any individual who has comprehensive skills, and is competent in their field of work. These skills can either be learned or inborn. Companies identify professionals depending on the business skills they offer. A professional portfolio, in this case, should be used as a marketing tool for the services being rendered. Using a portfolio to demonstrate accomplishments, capabilities and skills, enables current and potential employers to comprehend the services individuals offer and what makes them stand out.

A professional portfolio plays a major role in boosting an individual’s proof of value, impression, and propels them ahead of their competitors. Below are examples of how portfolios uplift an individual’s status.

During Job Interviews

Regardless of an individual’s field of expertise, it is important to have a portfolio ready for interviews. In addition, referring to a portfolio during an interview helps expound on work experience. For instance, individuals can discuss how much success they have achieved in organizing a fundraising event. Ensure you cover all the procedures involved, from budgeting and programming, to the final feedback of attendees. Remember, individuals may find it difficult to memorize all their accomplishments. A portfolio acts as a reminder and enhances their professional image. It makes one look organized, serious and proud of their work.

During Performance Audits

A performance audit involves the presentation of achievements and accolades to an employer. Many individuals may not be comfortable with self-promoting. A portfolio enables you to verify your accomplishments and goals in a comprehensive manner. This includes customer reviews, referrals and profit-and-loss reports for concrete proof.

Employers appreciate an employee’s efforts to track their own progress. In addition, portfolios help employees focus attention on achievements that the employer has either forgotten, or failed to highlight.

During Promotions and Salary Negotiations

How can individuals get a better deal in salary negotiations? More often than not, employers want to establish whether the employee is worthy of a salary increase, and whether their demands are directly proportional to the value they offer the organization. A portfolio comes in handy to explain the individual’s aspirations and achievements. This provides the employee with the required leverage to ensure they get what they want, whether they are looking for a salary increase or negotiating a starting salary.

A portfolio boosts an employee’s request for promotion. Of course, employers seek to find out an employee’s capability in performing a new role and whether or not they deserve a pay increase. A portfolio provides evidence of previous work accomplished, performance rate and the amount of potential demonstrated in a certain field.

How to Create a Professional Portfolio

Before creating a portfolio, it is important to decide on the type of portfolio that is best suited for the intended purpose. For instance, what to include in a professional portfolio may vary according to the industry, accomplishments, experience and profession.

What to Include in a Professional Portfolio

While no two portfolios can be the same, a professional portfolio generally includes the following:


Individuals give a brief explanation of who they are, and what their professional qualifications and interests are. They also expound on their philosophies and objectives.

Professional Credentials

These include résumés, recommendation letters, transcripts, and awards given. Individuals can also include client feedback and training that has been completed. Make sure to include research and projects completed, as well as leadership highlights accomplished.

Work samples

Individuals can highlight any project they have collaborated on, and outline their individual contribution. Include any achievements derived from the same. Any sensible information should be included and compiled in hard copy. Better still; individuals can upload the portfolio online.

How to Create a Project Portfolio

A project portfolio comes in handy in a professional as well as an academic setting. It basically covers the amount of effort put in completing certain projects or studies. Individuals can highlight any notable contributions they have made in various projects. For instance, people who are experienced in writing school plays can include the research and materials involved in coming up with the script. A portfolio can help individuals secure grants to produce more plays by acting as proof of a job well done.

Advantages of a Professional Portfolio

  • Ultimately, while résumés and cover letters are important, portfolios boost job seekers chances of landing a job. They give job seekers an opportunity to tell a comprehensive story of their achievements, experience and skills.

  • For every job advertisement, the human resource department receives thousands of applications. More often than not, these applications contain cover letters and résumés which do not give conclusive information on the job seeker. A professional portfolio helps set job seekers apart and propels them ahead of their competitors.

  • portfolio enables job seekers to include images and comprehensive information, unlike résumés and cover letters which are just a script. Today, many people find information relayed through videos and images more convincing. In addition, presenting information in a different manner helps individuals stand out from the rest. Individuals who have participated in various marketing or advertising campaigns can include copies of their reports and images. These help to showcase their achievements better than a résumé would.

  • Professional portfolios enable individuals to showcase their current goals, accomplishments and future aspirations. This gives potential employers an overview of how competent an individual is and demonstrates how much value the company is set to gain by hiring them.

  • A portfolio is an individual's work story. It defines who the individual is. It is an important aspect when it comes to job applications. A work portfolio enables candidates to highlight their strengths, skills, and ability to work with colleagues as a team. More often than not, a résumé cannot achieve as much as a portfolio does. A portfolio boosts candidates by providing a comprehensive coverage of their work history. This not only propels individuals’ chances of landing the job, but also sets them apart from their competitors.

The importance of a portfolio today cannot be underestimated. All professional candidates should ensure they have a comprehensive portfolio in order to enhance their chances of impressing their interviewers and landing jobs.

Do you have more reasons as to why professionals should have portfolios? We appreciate your feedback. Feel free to share your comments with us. Don’t forget to share the knowledge by passing this article on to your friends.


Posted 9 August, 2017


Freelance Journalist & Reporter

Alice is a Community Correspondent at She drifts between London & Sydney.

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