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Career Planning Portfolios: Scrapbooks of Achievement

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Career planning portfolios are like resumes in scrapbook form. They are collections people put together to show their abilities, skills and achievements. Career planning portfolios are extremely useful marketing tools because they are solid evidence of accomplishments. Traditionally career planning portfolios have been used by creative artists, actors and photographers. But they can also be used by journalists, business people and technicians. Today many people have their career planning portfolios on computer disc. Career planning portfolios have become so important to modern job applicants that many high schools and colleges require students to assemble portfolios as a requirement for graduation.

What can career planning portfolios do?



• Demonstrate what you have accomplished in previous jobs or assignments, or even as a volunteer.
• Showcase your skills and abilities.
• Give you extra confidence as you prepare for an interview.


• What should be included in career planning portfolios? Of course, this depends on what skills, abilities and accomplishments you want to bring to the potential employer’s attention. Here are some suggestions.



• Educational transcripts
• All diplomas, degrees and certificates
• Letters of recommendation
• Awards and certificates of merit
• Letters of commendation, letters of thanks
• Newspaper or magazine articles about your achievements
• Professional licenses, registrations and certificates
• Photographs
• Work performance records and job evaluations
• Programs from conventions or conferences you helped organize
• Work samples


When people are assembling career planning portfolios, they should keep in mind that portfolios must be flexible, and can be customized to suit the interview situation. There are a variety of options for packaging. Some people use photo albums or binders. Others prefer accordion folders. Some portfolios can be stored on disc. If you do use a computer disc, take your own laptop to the interview and be sure the battery is charged.

Be sure to write clear and concise captions for each item contained in your portfolio. The caption should help specify the skills used for that particular accomplishment. Example: This is the certificate I was awarded by a local charitable organization for raising $5,000 for the town hospital. Next to the certificate is a photograph of me with fellow fundraisers at the dance and dinner I organized.

Highlight your achievements. When you prepare for the interview, be sure you can easily access those materials you especially want to show the interviewer. It’s a good idea to have a table of contents in your portfolio.

For information on how to construct a portfolio, check with the Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC). You can also get assistance from the Portfolio Library and other websites that are sponsored by university career centers and offer help to job seekers.





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