By Emilee Smith G’16
Portfolios come in all shapes and sizes. Some are digital and display designs and videos while others are presented on paper, featuring art projects or written music compositions. Looking past the differing displays and varying content, there are several pieces that every portfolio should contain.
Whether you are an art major or aspiring teacher, start thinking about how you can fill these categories and begin collecting materials. Some essential pieces include:
- Your resume. The resume acts as a summary and is a great way to introduce potential employers to your work and accomplishments. It sets up the experience of looking through the rest of your portfolio.
- Examples of your work. No matter what your major is, you already possess examples of your work. These can be projects completed in school, work produced for an internship or job or even work that you have done on your own! Your field of study will most likely dictate the format of these examples. (After all, it makes sense that an aspiring video producer would have a digital portfolio, right?)
- If you have certifications related to your field then you should definitely include them in your portfolio. Not sure what certificates you should pursue? Ask your professors or schedule a meeting with a career counselor!
- Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation act as great vouchers for your skill sets and work ethic. Reach out to employers and professors, both past and present, and ask them (politely) if they wouldn’t mind writing a letter for you.
- Awards and Publications. When it comes to awards and publications related to your field then you should absolutely showcase them in your portfolio. This will help employers recognize just how fantastic you are!
While no two portfolios look the same, all of the strongest will contain these five categories. By gradually collecting and assembling these pieces, you will ensure that you have a spectacular showcase by graduation.
So if you haven’t already, get started right away! Opportunities can arise at any moment and you may need a portfolio sooner than you think.