Portfolio eh?

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Over the years I’ve had a lot of people ask me for tips on how to build or construct a portfolio. Maybe its time I sit down and talk about it.

I saw at the bright age of thirteen that having a portfolio really pays off in the work field and industry. My father is a die-hard entreprenuer and fortunately through his hard work and talent, he never needed a portfolio. What? I just used an example that contradicts my topic. Reason being – My father grew up in a not so technologically advanced age. In this day and age – the portfolio is just one of many tools that can set you apart from the competition.

I started developing web sites and related material when I worked in the professional wrestling business with Heritage Pro Wrestling and the AIWF’s SCW. Each job I have taken I have somehow tried to implement my sklls so I can continue to extend my portfolio. It has paid off over the years and I have learned a few tricks of the trade a long the way.

Start Small
I know it sounds like no-brainer-common sense, but in all honesty, some people think that portfolio’s gotta have humongous projects. This isn’t the case – you must “crawl before you walk” my father always said.

Look around, project potential is unlimited. Friends, coworkers, bosses, organizations on campus, and campus departments all have work that needs to be completed – use your major / talents to their and your advantage. Logos, promotional flyers, letterhead, introduction 5-page web sites – the possibilities are endless in terms of creating the groundwork for your portfolio.

Don’t be afraid to ask
Look at it in this light – if you don’t someone else will. Do you know a way that could better promote the project? Use your instincts, talents, and inside knowledge to benefit. Remember, you may be taking a paycut or helping for “free”. In actuality, you are given an opportunity to build your portfolio AND advertise your abilities. In the long-run you are being paid through an improved work record and work rate.

So you have completed projects. What is your proof? One of the things I have made sure to do with each project is (with my boss’s permission) keep copies of the work I have created – both electronically and in hard copy. For example – my portfolio spans both a scrapbook and a cd. You can open up the scrapbook and see covers, fliers, and print outs of web sites I have designed. If you use the cd, you are able to walk through an interface that showcases projects, descriptions, and links to projects that are alive on the Internet.

Bring copies to your interview
Nothing beats bringing in your portfolio to your potential employer. It shows that you have the work experience. It also gives ground during an interview to where you can explain how you got your feet wet in bringing the project to life. With the electronic portfolios, you can leave copies with your potential employer so that they may view it later on down the road. This is very effective during job fairs, workshops and conventions.

All in all, I hope that by creating a portfolio will deepen your creditability and expand your working history. I will most likely build upon this article in the future to provide more detailed information, such as creating a simple electronic portfolio and layouts for the scrapbook portfolios. Now, get to it – start building yours today!

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One Response to Portfolio eh?

  1. Christine OKelly October 2, 2007 at 9:12 pm #

    These are great points! Not having a big portfolio (or any portfolio for that matter) is no reason not to go out there and get business.

    I’ve found that it’s far more effective to spend some time showing people what you will do to get them to reach their specific goals than it is to show off a portfolio of unrelated work anyway. Excellent point!


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