Depending on what you are studying at university, a portfolio may not apply to you.
Despite this, It is recommended for the majority to devise a professional portfolio which you can carry with you to interviews and group interviews to make you stand out from the crowd. Freelancers are notoriously known for having brilliant portfolios to sell themselves to potential employers.
An interesting article by Cheryl Priest entitled “The Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio” taps into the key reasons as to why this is highly recommended.
Priest explains that a portfolio is something that “documents your beliefs, professional development, experience, involvement in the field, and classroom/program use of best practices.”
To break down what is necessary in a portfolio, think about the degree you have taken and what it entails. For example, if you are studying an English based subject, your portfolio would mostly include articles, high scoring essays with academic value and projects that would be recognised at a professional level.
This does not mean that your portfolio should consist of every single essay you have written. A portfolio should be a visual representation of the key and most professional things you have completed over the course of your degree, whether it is work you have done outside of university or part of the syllabus.
This also goes for subjects heavily focusing on Maths and Arts degrees. Projects and work experience is also key to include but only if it is relevant to the job role that you are applying for.
Priest sums up the purpose of a portfolio simply by saying “it is a visual tool to help you verbally answer questions. You can use the contents to demonstrate or illustrate a key point.”
It can also be tweaked and changed to aid you in freelance opportunities. Placing work you are most confident talking about at the beginning will set you off to a good start if you are questioned on them.
Re-arranging your portfolio and keeping it current will also ensure it is strong and true to you. Content that is years old has no value, therefore completely useless to you and to your potential employer. Always think of interesting ways to present it but still ensuring it looks professional and neat.
Websites such as: http://www.portfoliobox.net are great if you for building an online portfolio, particularly if you are a photographer or an artist wishing to showcase your work in a quicker, and cost effective way.