How To Make an Interview Portfolio (And Why It's Important)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 19, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're getting ready to go to a job interview, consider bringing a polished portfolio with you to help you impress the hiring manager. In your portfolio, you can showcase samples of your work to demonstrate your technical skills and career achievements. Learning how to communicate your qualifications in a portfolio can help you assure a potential employer that you're an ideal fit for the role you're pursuing.

In this article, we discuss what an interview portfolio is, share the reasons having a portfolio is important, explain how to create one and offer useful tips to help you get started.

What is an interview portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of your best work and illustrates how you've applied your relevant skills, education and experience. You can choose to present your portfolio as a website, presentation or selection of printed documents.

For example, people working in creative jobs, such as writers and designers, may include samples of their published articles or designs. A bank manager may create a portfolio that includes annual reports that highlight how they contributed to achieving these results.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a Resume (With Examples)

Importance of having an interview portfolio

Having an interview portfolio is important because it can help you:

Present your creative skills

A portfolio allows you to exhibit your creativity. For example, you can build a portfolio website that reflects your excellent branding techniques. Think of your portfolio as your branding material. Its aesthetic can reflect your personality and work ethic.

Related: How To Answer Interview Questions About Creativity

Show how much you want the job

Your enthusiasm throughout the hiring process can reflect positively on you as a candidate. With a portfolio of relevant information, the employer can discover that you have skills and work experience that qualify you to fulfill the role. The interviewer may also appreciate that you took the initiative to create a visual album of your career accomplishments.

Increase your preparedness

Bringing a portfolio with you to an interview can also help make it easier for you to remember specific project details and better describe your skills and experiences. When the hiring manager asks questions about your qualifications, you can always refer to your portfolio. Your detailed answers can also enhance your interview performance.

Present actual examples of work

It's one thing to tell an employer about your skills and what you have accomplished, but it's another to provide them with tangible examples to demonstrate your qualifications. A hiring manager may be more likely to remember you if you've provided a copy of your portfolio that they can refer to again later when making a decision. They may also feel more confident in your abilities and better able to visualize the positive impact of your hard work.

Emphasize your attention to detail

The process of compiling a portfolio and arranging your professional details and experiences can also demonstrate your organizational skills. For example, the hiring manager may appreciate how you created a table of contents and separated your samples by their length or relevance to the industry. Your portfolio can represent the attention of detail that you can use in your desired position.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples

How to create a portfolio for an interview

Here are steps for creating an effective portfolio for a job interview:

1. Start with an introduction

Think of the introduction to your portfolio as the opening for your brand. In one or two sentences, describe your top relevant skills, unique credentials and other qualifications that make you the ideal candidate for the specific job. A compelling introduction can capture the hiring manager's attention and encourage them to continue reviewing your work.

Related: How To Write a Professional Bio in 6 Steps (With Examples)

2. Include your professional background

After the introduction, offer a brief look at your professional background. This can be a visual timeline of your education, training and career. Include the most critical accomplishments from each stage of your professional career to show the employer how you've progressed. Enhance this section's visual appeal by including an infographic with a timeline of your career.

Related: How To Write a Professional Background (With Tips)

3. Include your accomplishments

Awards, recommendations and other accomplishments serve as your third-party references. Include any statements that your previous employers or clients have made that can attest to your qualifications, personality and work ethic. If you have earned any awards or obtained certifications, make sure to include copies of these documents.

4. State your goals

In this section of your portfolio, describe your professional goals for the next few years. You can reiterate how much you want the job by explaining how it fits into your overall career goals and how your skills and experiences can benefit the organization. Research and identify any challenges the organization may be facing how you plan to overcome them if offered the position.

Related: How To Set Professional Goals for Career Advancement

5. Conclude with the most critical points

You can conclude your portfolio with a brief statement that recaps the most important details about you. Make sure the reader has updated contact information, and reinforce your excitement for another job opportunity to advance your career. Write an engaging conclusion to make a lasting impression on the prospective employer.

Related: How To Write a Conclusion (With Tips and Examples)

Tips for creating a portfolio for an interview

Consider the following guidelines when you're preparing your portfolio for an interview:

Find the best medium 

There are many different mediums that you can use to create a portfolio. For example, a web designer may create a website to use as a portfolio for showcasing their design skills and capabilities. A writer may use a platform that allows them to include links to their published articles. Use the platform that serves you best to showcase your work.

Related: What Are Communication Mediums? Definition and Types

Keep working on your portfolio

Your portfolio can evolve as you do in your career. When you obtain a new skill, achieve an award or earn a certificate, you can add these to your portfolio to ensure that it accurately reflects your current professional stage. You can also remove content to make for new samples that may impress employers more.

Make it easy to read

While it's a great idea to be creative when designing your portfolio, it can be important that it looks professional and is easy to read. Use simple, easy-to-read fonts and high-quality images. If you need help designing your portfolio, search for a template online.

Related: How To Make Brochure in Word (With Step-by-Step Instructions)

Ensure everything is functional

If you're using a website or online platform to create your portfolio, check it regularly to ensure it's functioning properly. Make sure your links access the correct web pages and your images are clear. Review the information to make sure it's accurate and updated.

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