Do you have a professional portfolio?
When I started my new job in US, no one knew about the work I had done previously and who I was professionally. I had to introduce myself professionally. I found it very difficult to talk about the work I had done and my accomplishments. I quickly learned the importance of having my professional portfolio and started creating one to cover my work experience in Germany. Today, in addition to my regular Resume/CV, my professional portfolio is a crucial artifact in my toolkit. I encourage everyone to create and maintain your professional portfolio.
In this post, I share some fundamental principles and my Mentees’ journey to creating her and maintaining her professional portfolio. This post is co-authored by Jovian Chen.
What is a professional portfolio?
Why do you need a professional portfolio?
I like the view shared in the themuse article "Why You (Yes, You) Need a Professional Portfolio" on why you need a professional portfolio.
“Think of it like this: As a professional (regardless of your field), you are a business of one. When a company chooses to employ you, it is “purchasing” your business’ service. You can think of your professional portfolio as a marketing brochure for the services you are selling. By showcasing your skills, abilities, and achievements, your portfolio helps your customers (your employers) and prospects (your potential future employers) understand what services you provide and why they are special—and worth the purchase price!”
Your professional portfolio can help you do the following:
Jovian is an Asian American who grew up in Southern California. She is a thriving interactive Project Manager. She specializes in leading User experience and Innovation projects.
How long have you been keeping your professional portfolio?
I have been keeping a work portfolio for almost two years now. Initially, my only existing documentation of my work experience was my resume, but I realized that the descriptions I had were very high-level. Resumes are great for providing an overview of my entire career and educational background for recruiters, but my portfolio enabled me to have growth conversations within my company that extend beyond three bullet points. Similar to how resumes are updated continuously, I do the same for my work portfolio.
Why do you have a professional portfolio?
I started keeping a portfolio at the suggestion of Marie-Christin, who has been an amazing mentor and professional sponsor to me. Keeping a portfolio allows me to share updates during our monthly check-ins easily. It provided a visual overview of the skills I have acquired and challenges that I have faced on various projects. My portfolio also served a key role in starting a conversation on the promotion process with my manager. Most importantly, I was able to set aside time to reflect on my career path and receive feedback.
How did you build your professional portfolio?
What is the most significant benefit of having your portfolio? How has it helped you so far?
In addition to my resume, Linkedin profile, and personal website, my portfolio is a centralized workspace where I can take a deep dive analysis into my career trajectory. Each version helps me track milestones in my professional journey. I encourage you to do the same! I know that several years later, I will be able to look back and piece together my journey and track my growth. It is helpful to see how my goals have evolved. Now I have a reference document whenever I am asked about my background and work experience.
What were some of the challenges you faced initially or still encounter with your portfolio?
Lesson 1: Set actionable goals each time you make an update on your portfolio. Ask yourself:
Lesson 3: Share this with someone that can help you achieve your goals. Learning from other people’s experiences is extremely valuable, and it is essential to start building a community that will support you.