Competition for finding placement in the labor market of today is at an all time high.  As technology continues to evolve and the application of design and marketing elements becomes more creative, so must the new entrepreneur in making a first impression. 

One of the most valuable resources available to job seekers of today may be passed over, or even ignored – a Professional Portfolio Presentation.  Typically, a portfolio is a term that many of us place hand in hand with a professional who has 20 or more years of experience in a particular career field, and we do not consider ourselves worthy of flaunting our accomplishments with such a bold statement. However, consider that even your smallest personal accomplishments are the contents that your professional portfolio is built upon. A professional portfolio is the culmination of every milestone and accomplishment in your adult life, as pertains to your career field.

If hundreds of other job seekers competing for the same position submit their résumé; only a few will make it to the interview. If of those few, only a couple report to the interview armed with a professional portfolio, who do you think will make the greatest impact on the selection board?  Knowledge is power, and what you need to know; is that taking the time to develop a professional portfolio and keep it updated will be the cornerstone to your personal success in the career field of your choice.  

Your portfolio is the first opportunity you have to publish yourself; it will indicate your value, portray your experience, and serve as a creative asset to intrigue prospective employers and leave a lasting impression. If well designed, the portfolio will be the most refreshing part of the interview process to panel members.  When you design your presentation, don’t be afraid to be creative.  We live in a visual world and the use of color copies, with bold and exciting presentation techniques will provoke the interest of readers, and display your creative talents. The opportunities for expressing yourself are endless. If you find yourself at a loss for creative ideas when getting started, research some of the professional scrap book designer references for ideas.  In the field of communicating via media, a well designed portfolio and a web presentation of your credentials will indicate your passion for advancement and growth, and most importantly, demonstrate your creative talent. With a great design, a visually appealing portfolio will continue to sell you and your value when you are not there!         

When you submit your résumé to a prospective employer, mention in the cover letter that your portfolio is available upon request.  The combination of a résumé and professional portfolio will serve to prioritize your placement in the line of potential candidates.    Once you have your portfolio prepared you will carry it with you to interviews, and have it readily available on a daily basis. Be sure to have either an automated version or a professionally prepared paper copy of your traditional portfolio that you can leave with the employer; never leave your original presentation behind.    

Networking opportunities come along when unexpected, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared if you find an opportunity to market your talent and you are asked for more information. Having additional copies of your credentials readily available will be impressive to curious talent scouts. If you are specializing in communications or a media related career field; an automated version of your portfolio or an online portfolio presentation is the most effective way to portray your talent and skills in web design or marketing strategies.  

Why wait to put a portfolio together until you have 5, 10, or even 20 years of experience?  Start to build your portfolio now, and watch it grow along with you as you progress in your career field.