What is a Career Portfolio?

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The original portfolio used by artists looking for work was simply a collection of works demonstrative of the artists style and ability. Because their works varied in size and shape, portfolios came in all sizes and shapes. Fashion designers would lug a box of their clothing and accessory designs from interview to interview hoping for the big break. Potential employers or commission agents could view the art or garments and decide if applicants were likely to be able to paint or design what they had in mind. In more recent days, people such as architects, whose work has a personal dimension, carried rolls of drawings and photographs to interviews.

Now others have realised the potential of portfolios and jumped onto the bandwagon, but with electronic and physical portfolios.

A portfolio is, according to a dictionary, “A portable case for holding material, such as loose papers, photographs, or drawings. The materials collected in such a case, especially when representative of a person’s work: a photographer’s portfolio; an artist’s portfolio of drawings.”

A reworked definition could perhaps refer to a portfolio as, “a collection of evidence, nicely presented, that job applicants show prospective employers to help present their case.” It might also be an online or electronic portfolio. But whatever we call it, it differs from a Curriculum Vitae or Resume.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Stuck in Customs
Foto: Autor: Stuck in Customs

Differences between a Portfolio and a Resume

While a resume presents a summary of a job seekers qualifications, experience and special attainments etc, it doesn’t necessarily contain verifiable evidence. This verifiability of evidence has become a challenge for HR professionals as the number of false claims to teriary qualifications and experience increase. A portfolio contains original documentation and certification from appropriate authorities and is therefore less likely to be fraudulent.

This is a great benefit both to the recruiting people and job applicants.


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