Hermione Granger -Harry Potter

A Career Magic Wand: 8 Ways to Leverage Your Portfolio

by Niké Basurto

Sometimes I wish that Hogwarts existed and that magic wands were really a thing. After creating brownies that didn’t make you gain weight, I would really like a magic wand to help guide me through my career. Seriously, take a second to think about it. Would you ask for easy breezy interviews? Or maybe you would ask for a magical resume or a “Room of Requirement”, where project ideas would just magically appear on demand?

It’s not made out of unicorn hair and an oak branch, but your work portfolio can be almost as useful as a magic wand for your career. Your work portfolio (sometimes referred to as a career portfolio) is a set of professional products you’ve created that showcase your learning and development and/or organizational development skills. What are some ways to leverage your portfolio? Glad you asked!

A Work Portfolio Can…

Give you an advantage in a job search by:

  • demonstrating your experience
  • showcasing your skills
  • standing out from other applicants

Give you an advantage in interviews by:

  • showcasing your potential value to the organization
  • giving you a reference point to connect your work product as a solution to their pain points
  • bridging the gap between past work experiences and future career aspirations

Boost your current work situation by:

  • demonstrating new ideas and solutions for your department or organization
  • promoting your value which you could leverage for a pay raise or promotion
  • revealing skills you are able to contribute to expand your future opportunities in the organization

Portfolios can be web based or electronic documents. You might want to print out some samples for interviews or to share with decision makers in your organization. Some organizations are even requesting work portfolios as part of the job application process.

A word of caution, some products you create are owned by the company or client you created them for. Make sure to get permission to use work products and change names and details to respect the privacy of your company or client.

There you have it, the magic of your work portfolio! Go forth and use your power wisely.

Building a Work Portfolio Instructional Design
Building a General Work Portfolio ( a little dated, but good overview)
Sample Instructional Design Work Portfolio
Case for TRDV Portfolio Form Completion

Thanks to Harry Potter for the magic wand inspiration.

Also, a very special thanks to current students, graduates of the TRDV program and other professionals who responded to my LinkedIn request for contributions to this post:

Mary Channon, MATD
Tom Ford, CSOP
Kerri Leo, MATD, CAE, CHCP
Amy Lyons, MATD
Howard Prager
Ute Westphal, MBA

Let’s Continue the Conversation
Are there other ways a work portfolio could be useful?
What are some work portfolio pitfalls to avoid?

It would be great to hear what you're thinking. Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion.