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The Portfolio Life and the New Economy

June 19, 2017 by

The economy is ever evolving. Each technological leap forward has demanded that workers respond with new skills and ways of solving problems. Career paths of the previous decades may no longer provide the same security that they used to, and the essential jobs of tomorrow may not yet exist. So how can you prepare and market your skills in an environment where certainty is a rare thing?

Keeping with the portfolio theme of last week’s Plano Public Library Job Center posting, we consider the idea of the “Portfolio Life” this week. Very simply, we are not our respective job titles; instead each of us possess a collection of skills, interests, abilities, and passions that make us capable of responding to the challenges of a job or career path.

Jeff Goins of Fast Company offers the three tips for developing a “portfolio” mentality and how this mode of thinking can help you respond to the new economy:

  • Plan for changes: Change is inevitable. Don’t bemoan it; embrace change and prepare yourself with well-rounded experiences.
  • Play like you work: Hobbies and leisure activities can provide practice spaces to explore new and skills and mindsets, while growing what you already know.
  • Never stop learning: The time will come when an old skill may not transfer to a new opportunity, so constantly fill your career toolbox with new knowledge, abilities, and ideas.

Ensure that you are always broadening and enriching your portfolio and stay a step ahead of change. Learn a new language or skill, take advantage of training opportunities at work, pursue a personal passion, volunteer in an unfamiliar career field for new perspectives, or explore how play and reflection on your unique experience can prepare you for inevitable change. Build your personal growth strategy around exploration of your strengths and opportunities. The resources available from the Plano Public Library can help drive your growth with:

What does the portfolio of your life say about your experiences, goals, and dreams – what could it say one, five, or ten years from today?

The Art of a Portfolio

June 11, 2017 by

Today’s post is from Brienne Walsh at Schimelpfenig Library:

As you’re preparing for an interview and wondering how you can set yourself apart from other candidates, you might want to consider creating a portfolio to showcase a collection of your skills and experience. Workers in visual fields such as photography and graphic design are no longer the only ones who use portfolios to impress prospective employers. Jobseekers in almost any field can use a portfolio to give themselves an edge in an interview.


What are the benefits of bringing a portfolio to an interview?

  • You can show samples of your work. If you are asked to give an example of a project you completed or an improvement you made with a past job, you can do more than offer a verbal recap. You can use your portfolio to show what you have done and offer more details.
  • You have a tangible conversation starter. As your interviewer(s) ask you the standard interview questions that every applicant will be asked, you might not have the opportunity to highlight all of your skills and experience. Your interviewer may flip through your portfolio and ask you to talk about something you included that you would not have had a chance to discuss otherwise.
  • A portfolio can demonstrate that you are serious about your interest in the job you’re interviewing for. It takes time to assemble a portfolio and your interviewer will likely recognize that and appreciate your effort.

What should your portfolio look like? What kind of examples should you add to your portfolio?

Your portfolio should represent you – there is no one-size fits all portfolio. You don’t need to spend a lot of money creating a portfolio. Portfolios can be a collection of works in a folder, a 3-ring binder, or a digital version. If you create a digital portfolio, you will want to bring a tablet for your interviewer to view it on.

It’s best to offer an appetizer instead of serving a three course meal. A portfolio should provide an overview of what makes you the ideal candidate for the position rather than document every project you have ever worked on. Depending on the fields you have worked in, courses you have taken, certificates you’ve earned, or the job you are applying for, you will likely highlight different elements in your portfolio. Some examples of items to include in your portfolio are:

  • Reports you wrote
  • Marketing campaigns you contributed to
  • A proposal for a program or improvement
  • Before and after data to show an improvement
  • Before and after pictures of a project
  • Pictures of displays you made
  • Copies of certificates you earned
  • A list of any notable achievements
  • A copy of your resume