Isn’t it funny how time flies when it comes to your career? This is why it is very important to document your work history and successes in one place by keeping a portfolio. If you are not keeping your own personal notes about your work history, it is not too late to start now. In fact, it may be the best move of your professional life.
Here is a brief description of what should be in your portfolio:
- Job title & Duties: What did you do in your job? For some this may require reviewing your job description again. But in this case, it is important to include any collateral duties that may be outside of your job description. This is where you can highlight the things that are categorized as “other duties as assigned.”
- Accomplishments: For this section you should highlight your achievements. We are often asked to complete more duties with less manpower. If this is a situation that sounds all too familiar, take it one step further and ask how you actually did that. What was the result? To effectively complete this section of your portfolio, you need to reflect on this.
- Supervisors & Other Colleagues: It is important to recall who you worked for and who you worked with by writing down email addresses and phone numbers. This will be handy if you want to use these people as references to obtain future employment.
- Recognition & Awards: Did you get an award for something you accomplished at the office? If so, write it down, no matter how small you may think it is. Remember that if a manager has taken the time to highlight what you have done, it is no longer a small achievement.
- Education: Annotate any higher education that you have received: associate, bachelor, master, and PhD degrees. You should also provide information on internships, projects, volunteer work, and any other coursework that may be relevant to your professional background.
- Training & Professional Development: It is very common for organizations to send their employees for training. In fact, sometimes we complete so much training that we can forget what we actually went for! Make sure this does not happen to you by writing down the name of the training, where, and when you completed it.
- Salary Information: If you want to do well in negotiating for your next salary, it is best to have this information readily available. This will help you to judge how you should be paid according to your expertise.
- Opinion: This will become your favorite part of the portfolio because you get to state your honest opinion about the job. If you did not like the job, be sure that you include why. This may be very helpful to you when searching for a job again. It’s best not to repeat old mistakes and this will prevent you from doing so.
A portfolio is meant to be updated in the same way which you update your resume. It is also a personal document so, however you choose to organize it, is your own choice. What are you waiting for?