Let’s pretend we’re not in a recession and imagine you are going to shop for a new car. You’ve got dozens of models and makes of cars in front of you on the car lot, each with a paper in the window citing its specifications. If that’s all the information you have, then aside from personal preferences in color and such, how will you decide which car is worthy of your thousands of dollars? You want to see some consumer reviews or ratings, right? You want know how it drives, how it performs compared to its commercials on television.

Now, snap back to reality for a moment. The cars are you and all the other job seekers, and the paper in the car window is your resume. The car buyer is a potential employer for which you would love to work. You need to substantiate some things for this employer quickly before he moves on to others. Employers want to see as much about their prospects for employees as they can, especially evidence to back up claims on your resume about how effective you are at managing, sales, marketing, budgeting, or whatever your profession is. What can you do to confirm for the employer that you are as valuable as you declare yourself to be?

A portfolio is your proof, your evidence of how you perform on the job. Sure, employers can check your references and hear it from those people, but usually that isn’t done until an employer is already serious about potentially making you an offer. The portfolio comes into play before that stage, during the interview, in order to prod the employer to get serious about you.

Depending on what your profession is, your portfolio could take many forms. If you’re a graphic designer or other artist, examples of your work should definitely be in there, and you might consider having the portfolio of work published into book form or even onto CDs/compact disks which could be mailed with resumes. If you are an executive assistant, your portfolio may be a three-ring binder containing letters of recommendation and copies of performance reviews (in sheet protectors, of course). Teachers might include sample lesson plans. Portfolios may also include awards received, certificates from trainings, customer testimonials, publications. Anything that serves to affirm your value is fair game, and be as creative as you like, depending on your industry.

Do limit the volume of your portfolio so as not to take too much of the employer’s time. More than once, I have had clients bring binders two inches thick to me for review. There is just no way that a hiring manager is going to tackle that whole thing. They will only look through so much, so carefully include only what will be most impressive. One way to weed out material is to include only recent items, like from the last ten years. A man just yesterday showed me his portfolio containing magazines which featured him and articles about him which seems impressive until one looks at the date on the magazines. They were from 1967.

Having a portfolio could make the difference between you and another candidate. You need all the sales tools for yourself that you can develop. Create your portfolio strategically to supplement your resume and your interviewing skills. Show the employer that you not only have the knowledge to do the job, but you have done the job well in the past.

Author's Bio: 

Krista Mitchell is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and career industry article writer. Expertise in crafting resumes designed to showcase your qualities with impact. http://www.composureresumes.com