Things You Need in a Career Portfolio


According to the website, most people do not use career portfolios when applying to jobs or schools, or when seeking a promotion or raise. If you decide to include a portfolio, you will likely stand out in the crowd. A career portfolio is an in-depth resume that documents your education, work samples, achievements and skills. A quality portfolio will not only impress recruiters, it will also remind you of your history and accomplishments. Your portfolio will aid you when required to explain your educational and work background in an interview. Learn what goes into a career portfolio and take the time to assemble yours before your next interview.


  • Use a three-ring binder with categorized tabs and sheet protectors to hold your career portfolio. Or create a digital portfolio, and hand out disks or CDs to potential employers. You can also create a website to display your portfolio online. No matter what format you choose, always include your resume. This is a quick-reference sheet that summarizes your education, career history and other accomplishments on one page.

Cover Letter

  • This business-style letter is an introduction to your career portfolio. In your cover letter, you may briefly discuss the position you are applying for and touch on relevant facets of your background to explain why you are the ideal candidate for the job.

References & Recommendations

  • Include names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of former employers and educators who can recommend you. You may also include letters of recommendation, good employee evaluations and mention any awards.


  • Your portfolio can contain copies of your degrees, certificates and licenses. If you'd like to show off your stellar academic performance, include copies of your college transcripts. Mention if you were put on the dean's list, are a member of an honor society or have any other academic awards.

Work Samples

  • Summarize a project or design you created and include a flow chart displaying how your work made a difference. You may also include a report or article you have written. Depending on your line of work, your samples can be hard copies, photos, clippings, or they may be on a computer CD or disk. Make sure that your samples are organized and up-to-date. Making a career portfolio means that you can use creative ways to display your skills. If you are a graphic designer, create an eye-catching portfolio using your design skills. If you are a salesperson, include a photo of yourself receiving a sales award. Your portfolio is your chance to show off and make a lasting impression.

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  • Photo Credit la rencontre image by Yves Damin from Three Ring Binder image by Jim Mills from graduate girl image by Maria Bell from process flow image by Christopher Hall from
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