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Why you need a professional portfolio

A part from a resume, employees also need to have a portfolio. 

A portfolio is a way to document your professional journey and demonstrate your skills and abilities. It can be a collection of your work and accomplishments in either a physical or digital format.


What makes a portfolio different from a resume is that portfolios are much more detailed than resumes and require a larger amount of time to create.


On the other hand, a resume is one or two pages long at most; a portfolio is usually presented in a professional, 3-ring binder allowing for an in-depth showcasing of one’s experience and skills.


What should be in a portfolio?

In a portfolio, Diana Nawatti, the head teacher at Mother Mary International school says by creating a portfolio, one will be providing the company or organisation they intend to work for or seek job vacancy with  more information and specific examples of their work.

She says that normally, an impressive portfolio can often catch the interest of employers, which should be everyone’s goal when applying for an internship or job, and then hopefully make them want to call you in for an interview.

The first thing to be included in the portfolio she says is the collection of your work.

She notes that creating a professional portfolio begins by collecting examples of one’s work. For instance, she says these could include; evaluations, reports, surveys, specific materials one designed for a school course or work, press releases, artwork among others.

Francis Mwangi, a lecturer at Mount Kenya University teaching human resource management says a person can include spreadsheets that one designed to complete certain projects or to improve the flow of the work.

He also says that it’s important to consider including photos of you working in a portfolio.

Mwangi says that this should not just be any photo rather, choosing professional photos is important as they always speak volumes.

To be specific, he says that photos can be of one working on specific projects in previous internships or community service work.

This, he says can help the employer or a person who is interested in your services to see you in action.

“I believe that these visual pictures can say a thousand words and can even sell someone more than words,” he says.

The lecturer hence says for those doing internships or volunteering for any organisation, it’s ideal to take some photos to keep your portfolio current.

“This will help you show potential employers out there what you are doing,” he adds.

Jesse Ngabonziza, an entrepreneur and owner of a cyber café at Kisimenti-Kigali says it’s also important to always include your previous work on the portfolio.

One can include more detailed information about where they have worked before. This can also imply that you provide more information about the company and what you were doing exactly, according to him.

 The entrepreneur believes that this information will make whoever is going to hire you to find outstanding reasons to take you to be one of their stuff.

Besides, Mwangi notes that a portfolio can look more appealing if it has recommendation, in case of any.

 “For any recommendations that you received in the past, it’s important to include them in your portfolio. It could be from your educators such as professors, previous employers describing your hard work and professionalism and any other type of recommendation,” he says.

According to him, this information is important to be part of your portfolio because professionals in the field commenting on the outstanding work you contributed to can make a real positive impact on any potential employer in the future.

Prince Aime Murara, the deputy secretary-general, Education for Nations and Humanitarian Africa (ENHA)-Girubuntu says demonstrating your skills is also vital.

For instance, he says that if your area of expertise includes computer technology, writing, documenting videos among others where you can demonstrate your skills through the work you’ve completed online, it’s vital to include the links to showcase the work you have done.

Also, he adds that it’s important to always keep your portfolio simple when it comes to showing your skills.

If possible, Murara says one can opt to provide their projects or work samples in a straight forward format on one or two pages, depending on how detailed the project or your work is.

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