How to master your own portfolio

Source: Unsplash

What is a portfolio?

It’s a compilation of work that exemplifies your experience, training, certifications, skills, education, qualifications and also, your beliefs.

Your Portfolio:

  • Establishes your brand
  • Defines your sense of style
  • Highlights your strengths
  • Gives insight about your personality and work ethic
  • It looks cool!

Why do you Need a Portfolio?

My first answer will be: because you’re a brand! A portfolio demonstrates your skills and experiences in a way that a résumé, cover letter or even an interview simply can’t! The second reason is that the process of putting together a portfolio helps you remember important projects and results you had in your career that you might be forgetting. It makes you memorize and remembers the different challenges and results you had, and writing your portfolio can help you become more efficient while talking during networking events and during interviews.

A portfolio demonstrates your skills and experiences in a way that a résumé, cover letter or even an interview simply can’t!

Create Your Own Portfolio

When I was creating my own portfolio, I struggled for a while because all my references were Designer portfolios, not Product & Program Manager references. I had great and inspiring Designer references but not a single Product Manager portfolio to look at.

What did I decide to do? I created my own portfolio based on the PAR Statements describing a problem that I faced, the action I took to overcome that problem, and the result of my actions. I highlighted the entire process describing my role as a Product & Program Manager, and I also showed the results and some cool designs, videos, and Kanban board.

In my case, I decided to show six different projects. When I was writing about the project and process, I talked about a different accomplishment in each project, for example, I wrote about a time where I implemented Scrum and a Kanban board at a startup, I talked about a UX research project I did for an iOS and Android App, and I also wrote about a process optimization I implemented for the creative team at Hewlett-Packard.

PAR Statements describe a problem that you faced, the action you took to overcome that problem, and the result of your action.

Portfolio Goals and Accomplishments

Each of your portfolio’s can have a different goal, and you’re the person who is setting the milestones, YAY! I wrote a list of general goals and accomplishments you should keep in mind when you’re developing your own portfolio:

  • What makes you unique?
  • Highlight most relevant experiences
  • Articulate your skills and experiences
  • Identify the skills you have gained through your various experiences
  • Proof of your professional career related skills
  • Put your experiences in an easily understood format
  • Show your experience in a different format than résumé and cover letter
Image from XKCD: Marketing Interview

What Should go in Your Portfolio?

About Me

A brief description about yourself, your experience, your beliefs and also what you’re looking for. You can talk about your career goals and skill areas as this information helps you to tailor the message to the audience you want to achieve.

Compilation of Your Projects

Select 5–10 projects showing your best work. You’ll need to keep in mind that you should highlight samples showing the most skilled competencies you have. For example, if you’re looking for a Product Management position, you’ll have to think of which skills the organization looking for, then you’ll highlight those skills/experiences you have related to those skills.

Résumé

You can add a PDF of your résumé or your LinkedIn link.

Contact Information

You can add your email, and also a social channel you want to share. For example, if you have a Blog that you write about your area of expertise like I do, it’s kind of cool to share it. If you’re a developer, you should definitely share your Github. If you’re a creative, you should think about sharing your Behance and/or Dribbble account.


Tips

  • Less is more;
  • Showcase successful projects;
  • Show the kind of work you want to do;
  • Only put in what is absolutely necessary to make your point;
  • Proofread and fix broken Links;
  • Identify the kind of work you’re seeking;
  • Showcase your PAR statements (problem, action, and results);
  • Put your best work first;
  • Craft a clear message;
  • Purpose: to be far from what everybody else does!
Edit: Just found this incredible PM portfolio list, check that out:



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