Professional Portfolio: How to build one employers will love

Jan 10, 2024 | Career Advice, Professional Development, Student and Alumni Resources

A professional portfolio serves as a dynamic and visual representation of an individual’s skills, projects, and accomplishments, providing a comprehensive overview of their professional journey. In the current competitive (and digital) job market, having a standout professional portfolio can be the key to securing your dream job. A well-curated portfolio not only showcases skills and accomplishments but also demonstrates a commitment to professionalism. Whether you’re actively job hunting, freelancing, or simply looking to advance in your current career, investing time in building and maintaining a professional portfolio is a valuable endeavor.

Why are Professional Portfolios Important?

A professional portfolio is an indispensable tool for those aspiring to break into new industries or advance current careers. It not only showcases technical skills but also tells a compelling story about your capabilities, problem-solving expertise, and commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements. It also enables you to keep samples of past work organized and in one location for easy reference. “Think of your portfolio as a tool to help you show off—in a professional way of course”, says Upwork. Since it is a collection of the work you have done as a professional, a professional portfolio is just as important as an up-to-date resume. In this 10 step guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to build a professional portfolio that will leave employers impressed and eager to learn more about you.
building professional portfolio

10 Steps in Building a Professional Portfolio 

Step 1. Define your purpose and audience. Before you begin constructing your portfolio, make sure you have clearly defined its target purpose and audience. Some questions to ask yourself: What type of jobs do you want to use this portfolio for? What kind of career would you like to see for yourself? What type of skills and experience do your target hiring managers need/value? Once defined, the actual construction of your professional portfolio can begin with a clear direction!

Step 2. Choose where you’ll build your portfolio. It is important that your professional portfolio is digitally accessible. This enables you to share your portfolio with employers quickly, make edits and revisions as your career journey unfolds, and share your work with like minded communities on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Website Builder Expert has an impressive review of some of the top-rated portfolio website builders of 2024: 7 Best Portfolio Website Builders.

Step 3. Collect and organize relevant work/projects. Gather examples of past work and projects that are relevant to your target purpose and audience. Select examples that showcase your skills, highlight your strengths, and illustrate how your experiences might overlap with future responsibilities. Make sure that your work is organized in a way that makes sense, whether that means organized based on type of project, skills demonstrated, or industry relevance. Always keep in mind what your target audience might value seeing the most!

Step 4. Create a clean and professional design. Your portfolio should have a layout that is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and aligns with the expectations of target audiences and relevant industries. Keep in mind principles of design and stay consistent with fonts, colors, and formatting of sections throughout the entirety of your professional portfolio.

Step 5. Develop an “About Me” section. Early on in your portfolio, it will be crucial to have a section dedicated to introducing yourself. Through storytelling, you can talk about your professional career journey, key skills developed along the way, and your passion for relevant industries. Keep it concise but engaging, providing your target audience with a snapshot of who you are and what you can offer.

Step 6. Incorporate testimonials and recommendations. Positive feedback on your past work, projects, and accomplishments can take you far in landing new opportunities. If available, include letters of recommendations and testimonials from colleagues, clients, or past supervisors. Positive feedback always adds credibility to someone’s professional identity.

Step 7. Integrate your resume. Don’t forget about your resume! A professional portfolio doesn’t replace a resume but rather enhances it. Ensure that yours includes the most current information and is linked in your portfolio as a downloadable pdf for hiring managers to have easy access.

Step 8. Provide Contact Information and Social Links. In your “About Me” section, provide the best way to contact you, including any social links, like a LinkedIn profile, that are relevant to your professional identity. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because they couldn’t get ahold of you! 

Step 9. Update regularly. A professional portfolio is a dynamic tool that should evolve with your career and because step 2 encourages you building your portfolio through a website, updating regularly should be relatively easy to accomplish. Once new projects are completed or skills are gained, invest some time every few months in making sure your portfolio is as current as it can be!

Step 10. Seek feedback. Before linking your portfolio to social sites or sending along to hiring managers, seek out feedback from peers and mentors whom you trust for professional advice. Consider their suggestions to ensure your professional portfolio is polished and effective from the gecko.

Transform a Professional Portfolio with Online Certifications

Building a professional portfolio is an investment in career success. By following the above steps and continuously refining your portfolio, you’ll not only impress employers but also position yourself as a standout candidate in the competitive job market. A professional portfolio is a living document that evolves with your career, so be sure to invest time and effort to make it a true reflection of your professional journey.

Earning an online tech certification has the power to significantly transform a professional portfolio. Certifications act as tangible validations of specific skills and expertise in dynamic technology industries, serving as concrete evidence for potential employers or clients. Those who earn certifications and feature them in their professional portfolio only increase their overall credibility, aligning themselves with industry standards and best practices. Certifications also allow individuals to specify their proficiency in particular technologies, offering a clear picture of their skill set to potential employers. Including certifications in a portfolio is not just about showcasing current expertise but also underscores a commitment to continuous learning and professional development, a trait appreciated by employers seeking growth-oriented individuals.

As a premier independent provider of vocational certificate programs, Digital Workshop Center is a vital training option for nontraditional students and the professional workforce. Check out the online certifications we are currently offering: Certificate Programs.

professional portfolio writing

Students at Digital Workshop Center have access to career counseling during their time in one of our online certification programs. Part of career counseling is the ability to work with a student advisor to improve the visibility and appearance of your professional resume. Since a resume is a crucial part of a professional portfolio, our students can gain invaluable expertise advice on how to navigate promoting their skills in the competitive job market. With online tech certifications ranging in data science to digital marketing skills, there is something for everyone to improve their professional career.