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Build your career portfolio to elevate your job search

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Are you looking for a summer project that will significantly boost your job search? Building your career portfolio could pay high dividends as you prepare for your future career. 

What is a career portfolio?

A career portfolio is a conceptual framework for building and managing your professional life, characterized by a diverse and evolving collection of skills, experiences, and roles. Unlike a traditional career path, linear, rigid, and which typically involves climbing the ranks in a single field or organization, a career portfolio encompasses a wide range of activities and roles — including traditional jobs, freelance work, volunteering, hobbies, and other personal projects — that reflect an individual’s unique interests, talents, and life experiences.

The idea behind this type of portfolio is to embrace flexibility and adaptability, allowing for continuous learning and the integration of varied experiences over time. It’s about recognizing the value of non-traditional and multifaceted professional identities, which can provide resilience in the face of job market changes and automation and facilitate personal growth and fulfillment.

In essence, a career portfolio is a personalized, lifelong collection of professional endeavors that collectively shape an individual's career, providing a more holistic and adaptable approach to professional development and success.

How to build your career portfolio

The process of building a career portfolio starts with examining the key choices you’ve made so far in life, compiling examples of your best career-relevant work, and recognizing the major themes that emerge. These portfolio components will inform your job search strategies and communications. Eventually, you might decide to share elements of your portfolio with prospective employers during networking conversations, job applications, and interviews. 

Take the next step

While career portfolios are not a new concept, they are often underutilized in career planning, job searches, and career advancement. Whether you need help with portfolio basics or want to update an existing job-winning portfolio, the good news is that there’s no single way to create one, and the Warner School’s Harriette Royer of the Career Services office is available to help guide you through the process and review your portfolio in a personalized, one-on-one meeting. Schedule an appointment with Harriette to access the support you need to make your ultimate portfolio.