The job portfolio is your portable resource database to broadcast all of your invaluable assets to your prospective employer. By walking into the interview carrying a sharp, well-organized portfolio containing your cache of skills, education and accomplishments, you show the interviewer that you are ready for anything he can throw at you during the course of the interview, and you are ready to knock it back at him and out of the park.
Update your resume so that everything is current. The resume is your map and compass for your portfolio and interviews so be sure that all of the coordinates are in place to stay on course. Ensure that you have all of your employment, including your current or most recent job, listed with the beginning and end dates. Make your resume as concise yet as thorough as possible in one to two pages.
Gather your updated resume, college transcripts, licenses, certifications, cover letter, letters of reference, sample materials, evidence of skills, letters of Reference and business cards. Ensure that all of these components match your updated resume and are pertinent to the position for which you are interviewing and the best reflection of your match for the position and the company.
Organize your documents. Determine the best way to organize the contents of your portfolio in a reasonable order based on the position for which you are applying. Remember the order so that you will be sharp as a tack at each turn during the interview.
Place each document into a clear plastic sheet protector with tabs along the sides. Sheet protectors with tabs keep your documents from fraying, crinkling or getting water damaged if you get caught in a rain storm on the way to the interview. The protectors also distinctly divide the documents, and when there is more than one page to a document, you can easily place them together as a unit in one sheet protector.
Insert your collection of documents into a high quality binder in the order you determined best to display your skills and experiences. Review it to see how it works when it is all put together. Have a spot, such as a space cut out of the binder, to hold and display your business card.
Practice your interview and display skills in advance. Meet with a professional friend or colleague to perform a mock interview where you test out your portfolio, its contents and organization. Ask your mock interviewer to keep you on your toes and ask questions that you may not anticipate. The practice interview will help you to tweak any problem areas for you. For example, you may find that you omitted a critical sample material.
Include one extra copy of each document in your portfolio to give to your prospective employer upon request. By doing so, you keep everything intact and in place for your benefit while still providing her with any materials that will help her easily make a decision about you and your fit with the company.
include the web address for your website or blog on your business card if you have them. Set up an electronic portfolio on your website or blog, containing all of the same materials in pdf format that are in your actual portfolio.
Don't include every item for every job interview if it is unnecessary. Keep your portfolio live and active by reviewing it each time you use it to keep it fresh and uncluttered. Sifting through a bulk of unnecessary items takes too much time for you and the prospective employer and makes you appear indecisive.
Melissa Cooper writes on topics including education, fitness and business, using her Bahelor of Arts in English at Ohio State University. An effective researcher in her expert subjects, Cooper has produced a newsletter and an internal office website that focused on fitness and well-being.