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Starting a portfolio

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Question: I recently applied for a position as executive assistant.  I was not selected for the position and one of the reasons was that I did not provide any examples of my work.  The person I interviewed with suggested that I create a portfolio with various samples of my work using different software programs.

Has anyone ever create such a portfolio? How would I get started?  -- Karyn,  Buffalo, N.Y.


Comments

This is a great suggestion. You should maintain copies of some of your best work to take to your interviews for these positions. They like to see tangible evidence of your skills. Great examples are presentations, travel itineraries (the more detailed the better), event coordination or spreadsheets.

Karen,
It's actually a very good idea. I've kept a portfolio of projects I've worked on that I was particularly proud of and offered it at job interviews without being asked. They weren't the typical typed letters but more involved such as newsletters, presentations, magazine articles, charts and graphics. I even went so far as to bring with me a diskette with a slide show I had developed for one of our global training sessions. I usually only pulled out the pieces that were applicable to the job I was interviewing for but it speaks volumes about your capabilities.
Good luck!

A portfolio can be as simple as you want it to be. One suggestion would be for you to make copies of any certificates that you have received. Keep them in protective sheets just so that they stay neat. Another suggestion made by Lisa was to bring a CD with any presentations that you've created. Any letters of recommendation or thanks can also be included. You should be prepared to leave a copy of your portfolio, so have a spare with you. Good luck with your next interview.

Karyn,

As the two other ladies shared, this is a great way to market yourself. You can prepare a portfolio with samples of your best work. A small three ring binder with sheet protectors works well. Some things I've included in mine are writing samples, Word documents, Excel charts, PowerPoint presentations. One thing to keep in mind, make sure that these documents do not breach any confidentiality issues. Don't be too disappointed for not being selected for the position. Each interview is a learning experience, and next time around you will be quite prepared with your portfolio. Good luck!

Hi,
Yes, I agree with the portfolio; with any investment you want to see alittle history. This portfolio proves to be a valuable resource when interviewing. I've created one and it includes resume, "at a girls," accomplishments/awards, training, and activities related to the job, i.e, associations or clubs (Toastmasters). This tabbed portfolio doesn't just show what you've done, but who you are in how you are committed to marketing yourself.

I couldn't agree more with the other comments. I am a recent college graduate in Office Administration, and one of the courses I took involved creating a portfolio for when we were out job hunting. It became a valuable tool when I went on interviews. Most employers were very impressed to see it. Mine includes my resume, list of references, letters of recommendation, transcripts, examples of formatted letters and memos, examples of a power point presentation (printed out), a brochure designed in a publisher program, speeches I wrote, etc. It is important to show your capabilities, and give an idea of what kind of person you are.

Karyn,

I agree that you should definately start a portfolio. I've been an Administrative professional for over 15+ years and in that time I covered a lot of ground. As you progress in your career you want to make sure that your work reflects your experience. In the last year, I've converted my portfolio into a PDF/ digitial presentation. It includes various aspects of my professional career, along with outlined pdf's of my continuing education. Best of Luck!

As competitive as the market place is right now, you need a WOW during an interview process. I make color copies of my certificates (i.e.: Notary, IAAP certification, etc.). Also, color copies of an Excel chart, items I create in Desk Top Publishing, etc. One example of what you have accomplished is plenty. I put mine in a 1/2 three-ring binder with tabs. Cover letter to the Search Committee, resume, then my tabs for recommendation letters, certificates, and then examples of my work. Keep you originals. Making a $15 portfolio can bring about a great paying job...it's worth it! Good Luck!

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